This was the second time in a week that Jim Benning had caught an Erie Otters game, this time lacing up against the Mississauga Steelheads who boast three potential first round draft prospects in Alex Nylander (PCS pace 26%), Michael McLeod (PCS pace 18%), and Sean Day (11%). The Otters, of course, boast the dynamic offensive weapons Alex Debrincat (PCS pace 40%) and Taylor Raddysh (PCS pace 41%), who was my Benning Eye for the Stats Guy Prospect of the game from last week.
The Otters young guns came to play today, powering their team to a 5-2 victory over the Steelheads.
For the first goal of the game, we see the Otter’s Taylor Raddysh gain the zone, before dropping a pass to Dylan Strome, who finds Debrincat streaking between Mississauga’s Michael McLeod and Stefan Leblanc, before sliding the puck between Steelhead’s goalie, Jack Flinn. This goal shows the chemistry between Strome, Debrincat, and Raddysh, but also Debrincat’s speed as he leaves the highly touted McLeod flailing:
The second goal was a bit of a heartbreaker for the Steelheads coming seconds after their power play had expired. With the Steelhead’s Everett Clark trying to break out of his own zone, Dylan Strome picks his pocket. Strome then finds Debrincat who plays a little give and go with 2017 eligible Vanya Lodnia, before finding the back of the net for his second of the night:
Debrincat’s 3rd goal of the first period (yes, you read that right) came on the power play, the result of another tic-tac-toe passing play from Strome to Raddysh to Debrincat to the back of the net:
Things weren’t all perfect for the Raddysh, Strome, and Debrincat trio, as they were on the ice for both Steelheads goals (they’re actually on the ice a whole lot). Here is the Steelheads’ first goal, where Taylor Raddysh is slow to pick up his man, Mississauga’s Jason Smith, who tees up a shot from just inside the blue line that finds its way into the back of the Otter’s net:
It’s hard to fault Raddysh too much there, as this was a goal that Otter’s goalie Devin Williams would probably like back. The second Steelheads goal came when Sean Day lofted the puck to the net before and Nathan Bastian deflected it in. Again, not much you could fault Raddysh, Debrincat on here, as it was Otters defensemen Taylor Egan had left Bastian unmolested in front of the net:
The final goal of the game came from Canucks prospect, Kyle Pettit. According to chlstats.com, Pettit is currently 8th in terms of ice time for the Otters and has only managed 6 points in his first 17 games. The 2014 6th rounder, is currently on pace for 3.6% PCS, so this may not be one of Benning’s better draft selection, but he did score a goal in this game. Pettit is number 15 who ends up buried in the net as well:
Takeaways From Benning’s Eyes
I really expected this to be a solid matchup of Nylander/McLeod versus Debrincat/Raddysh, but in truth this was no contest as the Steelheads top prospects didn’t show up.
The Debrincat, Strome, and Raddysh line was dominant once again. The passing from Strome and Raddysh was sublime, but it was really Debrincat’s speed and finishing ability that stole the show tonight.
Debrincat has now scored 5 goals in the two games that Benning has attended. Is that enough to help Benning overcome the fact that he is only 5’7 and 161 lbs? Debrincat now has 35 points in his first 16 games, and as a result of his high scoring and small stature there is only 5 players in his PCS cohort, 2 of which went on to play 200 NHL games. Despite the small stature of the players in Debrincat’s cohort, all 5 were drafted by NHL teams, so its not as if they were all written off based on size alone. In fact, one of those players turned out to be Patrick Kane.
Benning Eye for the Stats Guy Prospect of the Game: Alex Debrincat
Others in this series: