Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Was I Right? Newfoundland Growlers Training Camp Has Three Noteworthy Names

So, here we are. A day after I predicted a huge trickle down effect from the Leafs, we have three notables that Growler Nation NEED to get excited about.

If you haven't read it yet, check out my article from yesterday at dekesnipecelly.ca

There, you will get a full appreciation for the "why". The "who", is what you are getting today. I have personally been following the progress of these three for quite some time now. In the case of our first focal point, Mac Hollowell, I have been following him closely for over a year and a half.

For a D-man, Mac is not going to wow you with his size, but that's not why the Maple Leafs drafted him in the 4th round of the 2018 NHL entry draft. Hollowell is a very highly skilled right shot defenceman.  Last season, with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Hollowell put up 77 points in 64 games. To put that in perspective, that stat line landed Mac the title of Most Goals for and OHL defenceman (24) and most points for an OHL defenceman (77).

To further shine some light on what kind of season that was, let's compare it to a Barrie Colts Defencemen who scored 23 goals and totalled 53 points in 58 games back in 2014. You may also know him as 2014, 1st overall draft pick of the Florida Panthers, Aaron Ekblad. Now before some of you get all hot under the collar, no I am not suggesting Hollowell is the next Ekblad. However, the numbers do tell us something about the players abilities and potential.

My scouting report (What you need to know):

Mac Hollowell is an excellent puck moving defenceman. He has great vision on the ice, can skate with the best of them and has superb decision making abilities on the fly. With his ability to jump up in the rush as well as land on the score card, this rookie is one every Growlers fan should keep an eye on.

Second on the list for me is another Defenceman, Joseph Duszak. Joe's route to pro hockey is a little more unconventional than that of Hollowell. Duszak was never drafted by an NHL team. Instead, he went the route of NCAA collage hockey. I first heard of Duszak about 6 months ago when scouts started rumbling about what unsigned collage free agents would be hot commodities come summer 2019.

Duszak's stat line last year was equally impressive to that of Hollowell's. Joseph put up 16 goals and 31 assist for 47 points in 37 games. What does that mean exactly? Well, Duszak was named NCAA (AHA) Best Defenceman in 2019, NCAA (AHA) Player Of The Year and was a finalist for the Hobby Baker Award, awarded to the top player in all collage hockey.

My scouting report (What you need to know):

This is not a recording, Joseph is small, fast and skilled as well. He is another right shot guy with a great break out pass. On the back end, I've noticed his ability to close gaps quickly, a quality I feel is underrated on the blue line when fans discuss player up side. Explosive offence on the back end wins games, it's that simple.

The third, and in my opinion, most interesting of the lot is RW Justin Brazeau. Last season as an overager, Justin put up (brace yourselves) 61 goals & 52 assists for a total of 113 points in just 68 games. Those numbers need no justification. There may be a little explanation required though. You see, physically speaking, Brazeau is a lumberjack. You know, the kind of guy who yells "Timber" when he takes a dump. He is listed at 6'6, 225lbs. Playing against average sized kids in the OHL, Brazeau had a distinct advantage.

My scouting report (What you need to know):

So yeah, he's massive. Let's not get caught up on that too much though. Brazeau is an excellent 2 way power forward. His hockey IQ is very high. Fans will love him for his physical play but the coaches will love him for his ability to break out of the zone and spread out the ice. He can crash, he can bang and he can finish. What else do you want? Jam on it?

There you have it Growlers Nation. Three highly skilled, exciting rookies which have landed in your lap from already stacked Maple Leafs and Marlies rosters.

Which player excites you the most?

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