2023 NHL Draft top prospects 60-51: Mathieu Cataford, Etienne Morin, Jacob Fowler, Jese Kiiskinen, Hunter Brzustewicz. Trey Augustine, Cameron Allen, Roman Kantserov, Carson Bjarnson, and Gavin McCarthy
By Zach Laing7 months ago
Welcome to our series taking a look at the top 100 prospects for the 2023 NHL entry draft as ranked by Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis.
Today, we’re looking at the prospects ranked from number 60 to 51: Mathieu Cataford, Etienne Morin, Jacob Fowler, Jese Kiiskinen, Hunter Brzustewicz. Trey Augustine, Cameron Allen, Roman Kantserov, Carson Bjarnson, and Gavin McCarthy.
Cataford scored 31 goals and 75 points in 68 regular season games with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads last year adding another five goals and 13 points in 21 post-season games. The right-shot, right-winger stands at 5’11, 187 lbs.
Scouting Report: “Cataford’s game centres around excellent hockey sense and off-puck positioning. He has an unmatched ability to be in the right place at the right time, and when playing with high-level playmakers like Jordan Dumais in Halifax, this presents him with a lot of opportunities. He sees the game better than most players at his level, and this allows him to get lost in coverage, then pop back into the frame with a high-danger scoring chance set up by one of his linemates.” – Matt Drake, Habs Eyes on The Prize
Morin, a 6’0, 183 lb. left-shot defenceman, played for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats last year. He scored 21 goals and 72 points in 67 regular season games adding another two goals and 17 points in 12 playoff games.
Scouting Report: “He’s a kid who deserves what he gets because he’s a hard worker, and he’s a great teammate. He works hard in practice, he’s very mature in his approach, and he shows up looking to improve. He doesn’t deflect anything towards others. He takes it on his own shoulders. He’s like that in school. He’s a good student. He’s a guy who doubles down in everything he does,” Moncton head coach Daniel Lacroix.
Fowler, one of three goalies in this range, played for the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms and had a tremendous last season. In 40 regular season games, he posted a .921 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA with his 27-9-3 record. He hit another level in the playoffs going 8-1 with a .952 save percentage and 1.36 GAA.
Scouting Report: “It has been a very impressive season from Fowler, finishing second in USHL save percentage (behind only Augustine) and helping the USA to victory in the WJAC. Fowler is somewhat unique in his goaltending style and is not the strongest skater. He does, however, possess a couple of very intriguing skills – excellent lateral speed and athleticism, and great anticipatory abilities (both in reading the play and individual shooters).” – Colin Hunter, Dobber Prospects
Kisskinen played for the U20 Pelicans in the Finnish Junior League last year. The right-shot, right-winger scored 20 goals and 43 points in 31 games and stands at 6’0, 187 lbs.
Scouting Report: “In my opinion, there are a lot of similarities in the way Stenberg and Kiiskinen play the game. Kiiskinen is also a relentless player who looks to make a difference every time he hits the ice. He doesn’t back down from anything and can bump his way out of traffic if required. The puck seems to follow him around. I really appreciate his “lead by example” way of playing the game.
Kiiskinen was one of the top scorers at the tournament. He was used in all situations and produced two goals and six assists.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
Brzustewicz spent last year with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers scoring six goals and 57 points in 68 games. The 6’0, 187 lb. right-shot defenceman added four assists in nine playoff games.
Scouting Report: “Brzustewicz is the exact type of player a contending team will rush to the podium to draft in the back end of the first round in the 2023 draft. He is a smooth-skating, intelligent right-shot defenseman who is calm under pressure and should be able to play an NHL role sooner than most other defensemen in the class. While he lacks high-end puck skills, a threatening shot, and aggressive transition defensive habits – such as a tight gap – he does a lot of things very well and simplifies the game, which makes him a valuable diffuser of play under forechecking pressure.” – Sebastian High, Dobber Prospects
Augustine, the second goalie on this list, dominated with the US National Development Team last year. Standing at 6’1, 179 lbs., he posted a 29-1-2 record and a .926 save percentage in UTDP league games and a 10-1 record and .928 save percentage in 14 USHL games.
Scouting Report: “The Michigan State commit is a B-rated goalie on the NHL’s Central Scouting’s initial watch list, making him one of the top projected goalies for the draft. Some scouts believe Augustine can go in the second round, others in the third. USA’s goaltending situation can always be tough to predict because they’re typically backstopping a dominant group in front, but Augustine has done a lot of the heavy lifting himself.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Allen, a 5’11, 190 lb. right-shot defenceman, scored 25 points in 62 games with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. In the playoffs, he had one assists in six games.
Scouting Report: “The Guelph Storm have played better as a team for an extended period of time and defenceman Cameron Allen is part of the reason they are improving. He made some excellent puck plays in the Top Prospects Game. His outlets were on target and led to offensive chances for Team Red. Allen provides plenty of pushback physically, too. He’s hard to play against.” –Jason Bukala, Sportsnet
Standing at 5’9, 176 lbs., Kantserov scored 27 goals and 54 points in 45 games last year in the MHL. He played for Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, with whom he is committed to play for next year, and added another goal and two assists in three playoff games.
Scouting Report: “If you want quality playmaking, this is where you go to hang your hat. Kantserov is a quality passer of the puck and can squeeze his passes onto a teammate’s stick with surgical precision. A smart craftsman, the Magnitogorsk native has thus far been able to rely on his cerebral advantage to stay ahead of the curve against opponents who are physically superior to him.” – Anton Rasegard, Habe Eyes on The Prize
The final goalie in this range, Bjanason spent last year with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Standing at 6’3, 190 lbs., he posted a 21-19-5 record, a .900 save percentage and a 3.08 GAA.
Scouting Report: “Bjarnason had his best game against Team Switzerland. He used his size to his advantage, especially in the first period when he made saves by moving laterally and stretching out his legs. Team Canada gave up several Grade A chances early in the game. It pleased me to see Bjarnason “start on time”. He made several stops from the deep middle slot. There are times he loses his posts and it affects his angle coverage. He had a great game in the quarters, but I’m monitoring for a consistent result in the semis on Saturday.” – Jason Bukala, Sportsnet
Scoring eight goals and 27 points in 42 games with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, the 6’1, 182 lb. right-shot defenceman is committed to play for Boston University next year.
Scouting Report: “McCarthy’s toolkit is one that should do well in the pro game. He’s got good size, he’s a right-shot, he skates well, and he’s showing a lot of offence this season in the USHL. I don’t think he’s a natural puck-mover, but McCarthy has good skill and can make the occasional tough offensive play. His skating allows him to transport pucks up ice. Defensively he’s solid. He can run around a little bit, but he’s quite physical, and his skating lets him close on plays well. I think he will play a regular role on an NHL team.” – Corey Pronmam, The Athletic
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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