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06-23-2012, 04:19 PM
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Some more stuff on Faksa and Gemel Smith for you.

I had Faksa rated 5th among OHL players. Smith was 16th. Here's what I wrote about them.

It's damn close for me between Faksa and Brendan Gaunce as the 3rd best forward available from the OHL. I gave the nod to Faksa because I think he has a bit higher upside due to his edge in skating ability and skill with the puck off the rush. The thing about Faksa is that he's big, but he's also got an explosive first few steps and is surprisingly agile for a big man. He plays off the rush very effectively and is a terrific puck handler. He's just a solid all around offensive player. He's got a great shot which is very accurate, but can also find teammates at top speed. At times I've found him to be a little drive happy and predictable, but his ability to use his teammates is something I expect to develop with time. Faksa is an aggressive player away from the puck and is tenacious along the boards at both ends of the ice. He's particularly very intelligent defensively in his own end and reads the play exceptionally well. His defensive anticipation is terrific and the best of any OHL forward available for this draft. He had some injury issues down the stretch and into the playoffs and didn't look great, which could be a bit concerning. It's possible that he just got worn down in his first OHL season though. The key for Faksa will probably be the development of his physical game. It can be inconsistent. That isn't to say his effort is inconsistent; just his physical aggressiveness with and without the puck. I'd like to see him develop more of a mean streak to match his size, skating and skill combination. It would make him just that much more of an effective player at both ends of the ice at the next level. People always ask me how Faksa and Landeskog compare as players. And that's the big thing that separates them; physicality.

Wind him up and let him go. Gemel Smith is like the energizer bunny. He plays with tons of energy and is an aggressive player in all three zones. His best asset is his high end speed and acceleration. He won the fastest skater event at the Top Prospect's Game, and this would have surprised no one who sees him play regularly. He uses his speed to create turnovers on the forecheck, to take the puck hard to the net, and to crash the crease for loose pucks. While Smith is undersized, he's also a very effective player along the boards because of how he keeps his feet moving. He simply outhustles the opposition instead of outmuscling them. He also uses that explosive acceleration to separate himself from the opposition and can be especially effective coming away from the boards. Smith's vision and playmaking ability is also underrated. While he creates a lot of offense from his hustle, he is also intelligent and patient with the puck and is a very good passer. I love how versatile he is as a player. He stepped right into a shutdown defensive type role at the Under 18's and looked solid. The key to his progression will be added strength. As he gets stronger, he'll be even more effective offensively, especially in taking the puck to the net. Added strength will also improve his shot and make him more of a goal scoring threat coming down the wing. Like any guy hovering around that 5'10/5'11 mark, he's going to face questions about his durability moving forward to the NHL level. This is especially true considering the style of play he utilizes.

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