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Photo Credit: Prince Albert Daily Herald

CANUCKSARMY’S 2018 NHL DRAFT PROFILES: #31 Cole Fonstad

We’ve entered the first round of the draft rankings with Prince Albert Raiders forward Cole Fonstad landing in the 31st spot of the CanucksArmy 2018 NHL Draft rankings.

With the way that the NHL has been trending, a focus being placed on speed and skill, Fonstad is a player that fits that mould perfectly.

Without a doubt, he will need to add weight and strength before he can hope to make an impact in professional hockey but the kid oozes skill, talent and hockey IQ that allowed him to pick apart the WHL this season.

It’s a swing for the fences type of pick, but Fonstad seems worth it.

Bio

  • Age/Birthdate: 17.39/ April 24, 2000
  • Birthplace: Estevan SK Canada
  • Frame:5-foot-10/ 161 lbs
  • Position:C/LW
  • Handedness:L
  • Draft Year Team: Prince Albert Raiders(WHL)
  • Accomplishments/Awards: N/A

Stats

Career

Fonstad was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.

He represented Canada at the U18 tournament this past April.

2017-18 Season

GP G A P SEAL INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 eP160 Sh/Gp Sh% GF% GF%rel GD60rel XLS% XPR xVAL
72 21 52 73 1.27 30.2% 18.8% 1.39 2.13 14% 52.3% 4.9% 0.58 30% 42.50982184 2.839803026

Some high event hockey going on for Fonstad but consistent production throughout the entire season with a whole lot of 5v5 and powerplay production. He stands out in terms of pGPS, SEAL, and INV% while having some other categories to improve.

Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)

Team Relative

Among one of the youngest players on his team, Fonstad has some encouraging signs here. For the most part, all of the most common linemates saw similar GF% results in terms of WOWY. Showing that Fonstad wasn’t dragging on them or boosting them.

Fonstad saw his 5v5 ice time increase as the year ended and his production per 60 saw a rise as well.

Cohort Based

Despite his smaller size, Fonstad produces a success rate of 30.3% among his cohorts. There is a whole wide range of players but the expected production of 42.5 points per 82 games played shows that they weren’t all grinders and looking at the names, there are some players who made the NHL as offensive players.

Our Take

Fonstad is a really skilled, smart and effective player who makes his plays look so simple. He is calm and patient with the puck.

He is a playmaker that is able to thread passes perfectly to his teammates with soft saucers that land perfectly. The Estevan native waits for the play to develop around him as he has sees fit and then makes his moves. His ability to read and anticipate the play is what really stands out about his game – his vision sets him apart here.

His skating isn’t dynamic but he can move around the ice well enough. He is quick and elusive in his lanes and adjusting his lines as he dances around with the puck waiting for that play to open up. There have been times where he can increase his speed quickly to lose defenders and then make a play but once the opponent can recover, he doesn’t have a high-end top speed to keep that distance. It’s all about being slippery and forcing opponents to stay on their toes and Fonstad does it extremely well.

His shot is something that lacks as isn’t heavy or quick and he generally shoots when the play around him doesn’t allow him to make a pass.

On the defensive side of the game, he is adequate. At times, he can appear to be floating back on the backcheck or covering his man. However, when he is engaged, as he was in the second half, he uses his anticipation and quick feet to disrupt passing lanes. Consistency and compete will be important for him in the defensive zone as coaches will need to be able to trust his 200-foot game to allow him to work his magic in the offensive zone.

As always with someone of his size, Fonstad can run into issues when battling a larger defender. Although, he does use those previously mentioned attributes to avoid that being an issue on a regular basis. Like many players his size, if he can add strength to his lower body, it will go a long way to improving that area. It may also help him have a better top end speed.

Fonstad finished second in scoring on the Raiders with 20-year-old Jordy Stallard being the only player above him. He was tied for the most points by a first time WHL draft eligible player but led that same group in primary points per game with 0.75 P1/GP

We have Fonstad higher than all other public rankings simply because of how skilled he is. Look no further than Aleksi Heponiemi (who we had ranked 17th) and you can see that these highly skilled forwards have a place and should be kept an eye on. Obviously, he is smaller in size but he isn’t tiny and thus we think he is getting unfairly dismissed because he is just a little bit smaller than his peers.

If Fonstad can continue to be afforded the ice time that he was to close out this past season, which will likely happen, we could see him take another step offensively. Combine that will some natural physical development and a desire to get better and Fonstad could be one of the dynamic guys who makes it.

Further Reading

Consolidated Average Future Considerations Hockey Prospect.com ISS Hockey McKeen’s The Athletic TSN Bob McKenzie TSN Craig Button The Hockey News Sportsnet ESPN Dobber Prospects
67 57.2 62 $$ $$ 88 91 62

 

From Future Considerations:

A smallish winger, he is a sound skater who owns an extra gear that can burn blue-liners. Fonstad is known for his cerebral approach – smart reads and creative puck distribution. Not only is he a great passer – from both sides of his stick – Fonstad possesses a patience with the puck that draws defenders out of position and creates offensive opportunity for his teammates. On the power play, with that poise under pressure and his awareness of open ice, he becomes an even more dangerous element. Not surprisingly, he is a pass-first player. His shot, always a last resort for him, could use an upgrade in power and that would certainly put more weapons in his arsenal. And at times, he is actually too calm with the puck, holding onto it instead of attacking. There are concerns, too, that his defensive game is lagging behind. One scout referred to it as wishy-washy – passive in the neutral zone, not nearly diligent enough along the boards, and not fully committed on the back-check. He can be caught floating and only watching the puck. Some observers, however, deem his own-zone play to be competent and responsible. Ideally, Fonstad could use more weight. But the scouts agree that he is progressing and there is lots to like about his game, especially offensively. He seems tailor-made for the new NHL.

From NHL Central Scouting:

Very good offensive hockey sense; has a good creative aspect to his game – very good vision and anticipation – more of a play maker coming in off the wall – displays quick hands with a soft touch around the net – sees play developing before line mates can react at times; makes players around him effective – very slippery and elusive with the puck; can mesmerize defenders at times – quick feet in tight quarters – always a threat on the power play.

CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings

#32 Jett Woo #33 Allan McShane #34 K’Andre Miller
#35 Jacob Olofsson #36 Nathan Dunkley #37 Nils Lundkvist
#38 Jonathan Gruden #39 Filip Hallander #40 Jared McIsaac
#41 Nicolas Beaudin #42 Jack McBain #43 Ty Dellandrea
#44 Jesse Ylonen #45 Mattias Samuelsson #46 Jonny Tychonick
#47 Niklas Nordgren #48 Aidan Dudas #49 GRIGORI DENISENKO
#50 KYLE TOPPING #51 BLADE JENKINS #52 SEAN DURZI
#53 JACK DRURY #54 JAKUB LAUKO #55 JACOB RAGNARSSON
#56 ANDERSON MACDONALD #57 ADAM GINNING #58 FILIP KRAL
#59 Albin Eriksson # 60 Adam Samuelsson #61 Cameron Hillis
#62 Philipp Kurashev #63 BLAKE MCLAUGHLIN #64 MARCUS WESTFELT
#65 MILOS ROMAN #66 OSKAR BACK #67 GABRIEL FORTIER
#68 RILEY SUTTER #69 YEGOR SOKOLOV #70 ALEXANDER KHOVANOV
#71 CURTIS DOUGLAS #72 BENOIT-OLIVIER GROULX #73 SAMPO RANTA
#74 MARCUS KARLBERG #75 AXEL ANDERSSON #76 DAVID LILJA
#77 KODY CLARK #78 DMITRY ZAVGORODNY #79 LINUS NYMAN
#80 LIAM FOUDY #81 LINUS KARLSSON #82 Jachym Kondelik
#83 SCOTT PERNOVICH #84 G JAKUB SKAREK #85 TY EMBERSON
#86 JAY O’BRIEN #87 CARL WASSENIUS #88 VLADISLAV KOTKOV
#89 EMIL WESTERLUND #90 JERRY TURKULAINEN #91 STANISLAV DEMIN
#92 TYLER MADDEN #93 JAN JENIK #94 G OLIVIER RODRIGUE
#95 XAVIER BERNARD #96 KRISTIAN TANUS #97 LUKAS WERNBLOM
#98 NANDO EGGENBERGER #99 MATTHEW STRUTHERS #100 SHAWN BOURDIAS

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  • The information in this series has been phenomenal however the ranking of players shows a strong bias by CanucksArmy in how players are rated.

    Players are rated on potential ceiling, speed and skill, without significant discounting for strength and size. Defensive acumen isn’t given much weight.

    I realize CA isn’t trying to predict draft order but rather provide something like their own draft list if they were picking. The problem is when you swing for the fences all the time you strike out a lot and there just aren’t any hanging curve balls when evaluating these kids. I think some small adjustments to the weighting of evaluation criteria would make it closer to what an NHL team would actually use. You can’t defend and kill penalties with just offensive players who failed to reach their ceiling.

    An undersized, point a game winger in the WHL who shoots poorly seems a huge reach to put in the 1st round.

    • His ranking is surrounded by defenders – there are two above him (spoiler) and then two in the three after him.

      You can disagree with the rankings but suggesting that we don’t value defencemen or defensive play is incorrect.

      I feel like the desire to replicate who will be selected where is a fools errand that is chasing the subjective opinions of ‘hockey men’.

      It’s also worth adding that our rankings varied among writers and are a consensus of the rankings submitted. My list has varied on quite a few players (and changed since I started the series) but I work within in the framework of what is concluded by the staff… like a scouting staff on an NHL team.

      • I understand your points and your process and I never suggested you should try to replicate who will be selected where. There have been a number of smaller high offensive ceiling players (including Dmen) ranked higher than I would have thought. CA has an affinity for this type of player I often disagree with.

        Thank you for all your work on this series it has been an enjoyable read.

        • First off – I didn’t mean for my reply to come off as rude or crass, sorry if it did.

          I absolutely understand your point and agree with your point – as an example, I think Adam Ginning will be a good defensive player and we had him higher than many despite knowing his offensive game likely lacks.

          It’s all about balance – the number ranking doesn’t help us in the evaluation process

  • I wonder in the xls undervalues to some degree smaller players (and overvalues larger ones), as it considers size as one of it’s variables of predicting success due to that being in the past a more important variable than today. In that sense when you see a little guy with a 30% xls , you could kind of interpret that as “strong” 30% due to the fact that little guys are more likely to make it in today’s NHL and XLS considers past successes.

  • Size, toughness, and grit are all facets of the game that we love (who doesn’t like to watch big buff sit people down!?) hockey would not be hockey without it, and I would lose interest pretty fast. I think that because it is a part of hockey that we love so much it is easy to overvalue that facet of the game in it’s influence in winning (and don’t get me wrong, it is important), but I think (for reasonable stats-minded people anyway), not that they would completely disregard the importance of that element, they want to share the hidden qualities of the game that go unnoticed to a degree, and end up speaking more to that. Somewhere the discussion becomes antagonistic, and devolves into a this OR that dialogue, without consideration to details and the complexities of the situation.