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.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.39/ April 24, 2000
- Birthplace: Estevan SK Canada
- Frame:5-foot-10/ 161 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Prince Albert Raiders(WHL)
- Accomplishments/Awards: N/A
Fonstad was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.
He represented Canada at the U18 tournament this past April.
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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)
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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