Portal Forum Hockey Talk Gopher Recruiting Committed Recruits Update Thread Reply To: Committed Recruits Update Thread

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Zwak wrote:

BlueBandit24 wrote:

He was not kind regarding their skating, though seems to have a favorable view overall. Important to note he bases it on NHL-level traits. Compete levels for all encouraging.

I would love to watch a video or get better insights about a players skating ability. I’m not a great enough hockey mind to identify the good skaters from the not so good. @evegoe maybe a suggestion for The Athletic?

Scott Wheeler put together a good little article last year on the topic.



Skating: This includes how light or heavy he is on his blades (some players really dig their skates into the ice before releasing into their push, while others have that quick twitch we see in sprinters and can look like they’re hovering), his top speed (less important these days), his first few steps, his acceleration through to his top, his balance/centre of gravity, the fluidity of his movements, his lateral edge work, his ability to maintain rather than lose speed with possession of the puck, how far he can extend/lean on his edges while skating backwards in order to close gaps quickly, his ability to pivot without catching an edge, whether his feet drag (a lot of young players drag the toe of their blade because they’re rushing their stride), if he doesn’t drag his toes whether he lifts more than a few inches off the ice (many young players who don’t drag their blades overcompensate with a choppy up and down motion), and his ability to go heel-to-heel (leaning on inside edges to dodge checks and shuffle around defenders or the net on wraparounds). The two most efficient strides: Long, fluid motions that give straightaway speed or tight, explosive edge work to create a rounded, agile skater. Both have their place and can be beneficial, but I prefer a player who can move laterally on his edges than one who can explode down the boards with a longer stride. In today’s game, I believe changing tempo is now more important than top speed.

Video can be complicated to get a good grasp of skating as the quality really needs to be premium to get a good feel for it.

I think it can be somewhat easy to see guys who reach a high level of speed and can pull away from the pack to create breakaways — Sammy Walker. He’s got great acceleration, you don’t see him caught very often and he’s probably really balanced on his edges gliding. Someone like Ben Brinkman on the other hand has heavier feet and is fine once he gets going, but is probably on his edges a lot more with his glide. Also a player like Zach Parise seems like he gets around fine, but it takes him a lot of motion and effort from my perspective.

Looking at edgework for guys like Ryan Johnson is a great example of someone who has the four way mobility that scouts like in a defenseman. He is incredibly fluid adjusting to where he needs to move and gets there without making it look difficult. Jonas Brodin is probably the elite example of this. They’re able to cut off attackers easily and keep a good gap.

I think you also look at the power skaters posses when they’re moving on the ice and ability to skate through contact. Evaluating someone like Sampo Ranta shows you how dominant a player can be at controlling the puck and moving at high speed through contact. He has a powerful base to his skating with good knee bend. A flip side might be Casey Mittlestadt who was good in space and being creative, but he struggled with contact and powering through situations like those.

Looking at some of a forward’s abiity to move laterally and create opportunities through change of pace are really important. Connor McDavid can go end to end, but what makes him so dangerous is his ability to cut across the ice, change speeds and manipulate gaps. Phil Kessel was one of the best Gophers I’ve seen in this area–almost untouchable coming up the ice on the big sheet with the puck on entries.

Maybe I can convice Wheeler to do something like this ahead of the draft as I agree skating is often talked about with prospects, but it’s not always detailed well with video. I think the quality has something to do with it though as you’d like to find an iso camera in slow-mo to really show it.