On Friday night I was absolutely awestruck by the performance of Casey Nelson. His struggles have been well documented this year, and before puck drop I thought there was a chance of handing out my first F. Instead, Nelson put together the best 60 minuets of hockey I have scouted this year, earning my first A+. I had him rated as the best player on the ice Friday, and that included a spectacular 50 save performance from Linus Ullmark.
Offensively, Nelson played a phenomenal game in all areas of the ice. When under pressure in the defensive zone, he played conservatively and did not turn the puck over; instead keeping the puck on the boards and getting it to an Amerk stick. On more than a few occasions, that meant taking thunderous checks behind the net, but Nelson was willing to take the blow. However, Casey was even more impressive when given time to lead the breakout, where he was consistently able to regroup behind the net and skate the puck out of the zone with pace.
Once in neutral ice Nelson put on a passing clinic. Whether it was a quick direct pass up the wing, or a long [...]Read More