So often, all we have to go on when a new player comes to the team are statistics, which do give us a good idea about results, but don't let us know much about process. Does the player hit often? Is he good along the boards? How about in front of the net? These are questions that I think are important, but are difficult to glean from the statistics at our disposal. So I've decided to write a few scouting reports on several of the Oilers' new acquisitions before we see them in training camp.
This scouting report will focus on Colin Fraser and is based on my observations on all of his shifts in one of his games during the 2009-10 season. I'll probably be doing at least a couple of these for each of the new players, but even then, the sample size for this will be tiny. My hope is that these serve as a complement to the statistical work we've done on these players (like the work that Bruce did immediately after the trade that brought Fraser to Edmonton). If nothing else, it should give us some things to look for in pre-season.
After the jump, there will be a short "general impressions" section, as well as a detailed shift-by-shift report in case you're interested in where those conclusions came from.
Fraser was responsible positionally at even strength in this one. He stayed on the correct side of the puck and read the play well to get at loose pucks. He didn't, however, engage in many puck battles at either end of the ice. Instead, he waited on the outside of the battle for loose pucks to come to him. When the puck did come, he sometimes moved it back into a 50/50 area instead of making a good pass. When he did engage in battles, he often wasn't all that successful. He didn't look for hits and wasn't particularly quick on his skates, which made an attacking forecheck difficult. He is prone to the odd long shift and is poor in coverage when tired.
Fraser spent a lot of time on the penalty kill, especially in the third period. He seems to be a decent shot-blocker, and looked to use his shot-blocking often when the Canucks had control. He also came down very low, which opened opportunities for the Canucks' point men, opportunities that they used at times to generate shots. That said, Fraser wasn't the only Blackhawk playing low, so I'd imagine that he's following instructions from the coaches on that. The Canucks' often targeted his side of the ice to gain entry into the zone with great success. Fraser had a tough time forcing the Canucks to dump the puck in. He also made one particularly bad decision to join a rush instead of covering for the defender, which led to a couple of chances when the Canucks came back 2-on-1.
Shift by Shift
18:13 to 18:01 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - Fraser loses an offensive zone faceoff but stays high to cover the break-out. After Andrew Ebbett controls the puck along the far boards, Fraser moves toward him and receives a pass which he tips to Tomas Kopecky just off the far boards closer to the corner. Fraser then moves down into the far corner and Kopecky finds him with a pass, which allows him to drive along the goal-line for a shot on net. Aaron Rome pushes Fraser down after the whistle and is penalized.
13:36 to 13:22 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - Fraser comes on after the Blackhawks have dumped the puck into Vancouver's zone and the Hawks press a 1-2-2 forecheck with Fraser in the neutral zone. The Canucks move through the 1-2-2 and into Hawks' territory, but Ryan Johnson's shot just after crossing the blue-line goes off Antti Niemi's blocker and out of play. The whistle is followed by a TV timeout.
13:22 to 12:56 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - After the timeout Fraser stays out for the defensive zone faceoff and he wins the draw back to Jordan Hendry who skates the puck out of the zone. The Hawks eventually dump the puck in and Fraser stays high while Ebbett and Kopecky battle for the puck behind the net against three Canucks. Fraser moves down toward the front of the net. The puck moves to the far corner, and Fraser moves to the far boards, looking to cut-off a break-out. The puck comes loose to him, but he just chips it back into the corner for Ebbett and and Kopecky who then continue to battle. This time the Canucks win the puck and break out of the zone. Fraser is back, which allows the defender to challenge. Ryan Johnson responds by dumping the puck into the Hawks zone from the wrong side of the red-line and Cam Barker touches the puck for icing.
9:49 to 9:04 of 1st period, 0-0 tie, 5v5 - No video available.
4:50 to 4:26 of 1st period, 1-0 Blackhawks, 5v5 - No video available.
16:50 to 16:21 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie, 5v5 - The Canucks have iced the puck and Fraser comes out for an offensive zone faceoff, which he loses. After losing the draw he comes immediately to the near boards to block a break-out pass, but none is forthcoming. The Canucks move the puck around to the far corner and Fraser tracks high to the other side of the ice. Ebbett wins the puck in the far corner and passes the puck to Fraser who is open and in good position, but he misses the net from just above the face-off dot. He circles high after the miss, but comes lower into the zone once he sees that Kopecky has the puck and that there are three Canucks below the goal-line. Kopecky loses the puck and Fraser tries to cut off a passing lane but the Canucks break out of the zone. The Canuck forechecker is moving in one-on-two against Niklas Hjalmarsson and Fraser, so Hjalmarsson rides him into the corner and ties him up. Fraser collects the loose puck and passes to Kopecky in the neutral zone who dumps the puck in. Fraser goes to the bench.
10:56 to 9:31 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie, 5v5 - The puck has been dumped in to Chicago's zone when Fraser comes onto the ice. Brent Seabrook has control of the puck and he dumps it off the boards toward Fraser, but the Canucks knock it down. Fraser and Kopecky are engaged in a two-on-two puck battle, which results in the puck getting dumped back toward Niemi. The Canucks go with a two-man forecheck to put pressure on the Hawks' defenders but the Hawks control the puck. Fraser comes low toward the front of the net. When Seabrook blasts it off the glass and into the neutral zone, Fraser hasn't quite made it to the Hawks' blue-line before the Canucks have dumped it back in, but this time they're off to change, so Seabrook has plenty of time. Seabrook skates the puck out of the zone in the middle of the ice, with Fraser just behind him along the near boards. Seabrook tries to hit him with a pass but it's knocked down by the Canucks. Fraser immediately rotates back since Seabrook is in a battle and holds that position to cover for Keith who skates up to take the loose puck. The puck is dumped deep by the Hawks at 10:25. Ebbett and Kopecky move in for a two-man forecheck, one to each corner. Luongo plays the puck past his defender and Ebbett to the open far boards. Fraser is first to the puck and he passes to Kopecky behind the net, following his pass below the goal-line. Kopecky passes to the point and Fraser tries to get to the front of the net but he's boxed out by the Canuck defender. The shot from the point is blocked and goes to the near boards. Kopecky and Ebbett engage along the boards while Fraser waits behind them for a loose puck where a Canuck forward joins him. Eventually, the play comes to them and the Canuck forward gets the puck softly down the ice and goes to change at 10:02, but Fraser's group decides to stay out while Barker goes back for the puck. Barker's pass is knocked down, and all three Hawk forwards are caught at the Canucks' blue-line. The Canucks would have a three-on-two if they get away clean, but they don't. Instead they get the puck deep into Chicago's zone and Fraser is the last man back. Hendry is first to the puck but he's pushed off the puck by Michal Grabner. Fraser and Ryan Kesler are there. Fraser swats at the puck but misses and Kesler takes it and drives to the net for a scoring chance, but Niemi makes the save. Fraser stays in front as the puck rims around to the far boards. The Canucks keep it in and the puck goes all the way around to the near boards. Christian Ehrhoff has pinched in to battle for the puck, and Fraser moves from the front of the net to get below the puck battle, anticipating a pass behind the net from Ehrhoff if he wins the puck. Instead, Ehrhoff turns to move the puck to Kesler who's covering at the point but before he can move it, Troy Brouwer delivers a hard check and knocks the puck loose. Both Fraser and Hendry move up to look for the loose puck and Hendry finds it, but his backhand clear is weak, and Kesler is able to keep it in with control. All five Hawks are above the faceoff dots, so Kesler fires the puck toward Grabner who is all alone in front of the net and gets a scoring chance, but Niemi makes the save and covers the puck.
6:33 to 6:07 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie 4v5 - Fraser comes out for a shift on the penalty kill with Kris Versteeg. The Canucks start with the puck in their own zone and Versteeg is the forechecker. Versteeg is beaten by Mikael Samuelsson and when Fraser goes to the far side, the Canucks give the puck to Henrik Sedin on the near boards to gain the zone. Sedin tries to make a pass but it's blocked by Brian Campbell, and the puck comes back to Sedin. Fraser arrives to put pressure on Sedin, but Henrik is able to make a pass behind the net. Fraser comes down toward the front of the net. When Sedin gets a return pass on the half-wall, Fraser looks to the point and that's where the puck goes. Willie Mitchell winds up but Fraser gets in the shooting lane so he passes back to Sedin who receives and attacks the now-wide box by skating toward the center of the ice. Fraser gets to Sedin and gives him a hook on the hands (not called), but Sedin gets the puck to Alex Burrows who is wide open at the side of the net (it's Campbell's guy, but he decided to focus on blocking a Sedin shot). Burrows gets a decent scoring chance but Niemi makes the save and covers for a whistle.
5:25 to 4:39 of 2nd period, 1-1 tie, 5v5 - Fraser gets on the ice with the puck in Chicago's zone but with there's no pressure from the Canucks. Fraser comes back into the defensive zone and receives a pass from Hendry which he tips past a forechecker into the neutral zone, but Kopecky can't control the puck and it sits at the near boards on the red-line. Fraser arrives and pushes the puck into the crowd at the Canucks' blue-line and all three Hawk forwards battle for the puck. Ebbett ends up with the puck and he passes it cross-ice to Barker who dumps it in to the Canucks' zone. Fraser moves into the offensive zone but stays high, allowing Kopecky and Ebbett to forecheck on either side of the ice. The puck starts on Kopecky's side but quickly moves across to Ebbett's. As the puck comes across, Ebbett is tied up by the Canuck defender who lets the puck come around to his forward along the boards. Fraser skates over to put some pressure on the forward and tries to get his stick in the passing lane. The Canucks' forward flubs the pass, but does manage to get it just over the blue-line. Kopecky engages Christian Ehrhoff and prevents him from picking up the loose puck in the middle of the ice, which allows Fraser to skate over and take it, but he's quickly knocked down by Grabner as he tries to make a pass entering the Canucks' zone. The Canucks recover the puck and dump it out. The Canucks use a a one-man forecheck in the neutral zone, and Fraser stays high by the Canucks' blue-line. Campbell moves the puck across to Hjalmarsson who dumps it back in. Fraser moves in on the forecheck. Kesler is first to the puck behind the net, and passes it off successfully, but Fraser delivers a hit. As the Canucks break out, Fraser sees that Ebbett is high and Fraser goes to the bench for a change.
13:30 to 13:09 of 3rd period, 2-1 Blackhawks, 4v5 - Fraser and Dave Bolland come out with the puck in the neutral zone. Fraser moves aggressively at Henrik Sedin who is on Bolland's side so Sedin goes cross-ice and the Canucks gain the zone. Fraser follows the puck toward the far corner but slips and falls down, which leaves his point open, but the Canucks don't get the puck there. Fraser recovers and moves to the front of the net with the puck in the near corner. Duncan Keith wins the puck to Bolland who clears it down the ice, and Fraser heads to the bench.
12:35 to 12:02 of 3rd period, 2-1 Blackhawks, 4v5 - The Canucks have control of the puck and are moving through the neutral zone when Fraser and Andrew Ladd hit the ice. Fraser marks his man moving through the center of the ice, and the Hawks break up the play and ice the puck. Fraser is now the forechecker as the Canucks regroup in their own zone. They break out and dump the puck deep. Hjalmarsson retrieves it and tries to clear, but Ehrhoff holds the line. Ladd went deep in the zone, and is now racing back to his point while Fraser holds his ground between the defenders in the middle of the ice, trying to force the Canucks to take a point shot from the outside. Ehrhoff goes across to Alexander Edler who tries a wristshot, but Fraser is quick to get across and he blocks it with his leg. Fraser then controls the puck, dumps it out, and heads to the bench.
10:31 to 10:03 of 3rd period, 2-1 Blackhawks, 4v5 - Fraser comes out with Brouwer as the Canucks gather the puck in their own zone. Vancouver comes through the neutral zone and break in on Fraser's side. The puck works all the way behind the net with Kesler getting control and Fraser moves to the slot area. Kesler moves the puck around to Kevin Bieksa at the blue-line, who moves it back to Kesler on the half-wall. Kesler cuts toward the middle, which sucks Fraser's down, and Kesler hits Samuelsson - Fraser's point - with a pass. Samuelsson muffs the one-timer and the puck bounces to the far boards. Samuelsson and Fraser race for the puck with Samuelsson winning, but his pass misses the Vancouver forward, allowing the Hawks to recover the puck and clear the zone. With the puck safely down the ice, Fraser goes to the bench.
9:16 to 8:19 of 3rd period, 2-1 Blackhawks, 4v5 - Fraser comes out with the Cancuks' in control of the puck in their own zone and he heads in to forecheck. Fraser circles and lets the Canucks into the neutral zone. When the puck comes to Henrik Sedin on the side boards, Fraser attacks trying to block a pass, but it gets through to Bernier who gains the zone, and puts the puck into the far corner. Fraser drifts down into the slot, getting as low as the crease, but isn't covering anyone in particular. After the Canucks win the puck along the boards, it's swung around to Fraser's point. Fraser gets there quickly and Bieksa just puts the puck down into the near corner. Burrows has some trouble receiving the puck and he's engaged by Duncan Keith. Their battle comes up the boards slightly and Fraser decides to come down to make the battle a two-on-one. Fraser falls down battling for the puck, and Burrows wins the puck softly back to Bieksa. Bolland comes across to cover for Fraser and Bieksa throws the puck down the boards and behind the net. Fraser moves down into the slot, but again, isn't covering anybody in particular. Sedin moves the puck in front with a shot, and the rebound eventually bounces out to Bieksa in the high slot who takes a slap shot, which is stopped by Niemi. Duncan Keith grabs the rebound, and rushes up the ice with Bolland on a 2-on-2 (it's almost a 2-on-1). Fraser follows to make it a 3-on-2, and gets the drop pass from Keith as he's crossing the blue-line. He moves into the slot for a shot, but it's blocked and now the Hawks have three guys caught down ice, and the Canucks have a 2-on-1 going the other way. They get a couple of chances as the three Hawks rush back. Bolland picks up the (second) rebound, and clears it down the ice. Fraser shifts off with the rest of the Hawks.
6:55 to 6:20 of 3rd period, 2-2 tie, 4v5 - Fraser comes out with the Canucks in control of the puck in their own zone. He's again the only forechecker. This time he forces Samuelsson (who plays the point on the Canucks PP) to the far boards as he enters the neutral zone where Brouwer meets him and tries to force a mistake. Samuelsson does not, making a good pass through the neutral zone and the Canucks dump the puck in. The pressure did, however, force Vancouver to move more quickly than they'd have liked, and they aren't ready to forecheck. Fraser glides into the slot while Keith picks up the puck behind the net and tries to dump it down the ice. It's blocked at the line, but Brouwer forces it out and down into the Canucks' zone. The Canucks retrieve it quickly and immediately come up the ice. Kesler ends up with the puck and skates the puck into the zone uncontested on Fraser's side of the ice. Fraser moves down to the slot (just in front of the crease), as Kesler carries the puck around the net. Brian Campbell knocks the puck off of Kesler's stick as he comes around the net, and Brouwer comes down to get the loose puck. He dumps it down the ice, and Fraser goes to the bench as part of a wholesale change.
5:51 to 5:34 of 3rd period, 2-2 tie, 4v5 - Fraser comes out, and the Canucks are again in control of the puck in their own zone. This time Brouwer is the first forechecker, but the Canucks beat him with a pass into the neutral zone to Fraser's side, and then another quick cross-ice pass back to Brouwer's side in order to gain the zone with control of the puck. Fraser moves into the high slot. The puck comes around to Edler at Fraser's point, but Fraser doesn't read it, and thus, doesn't have time to get out. Edler takes a one-timer while Fraser tries a standing block, but the shot gets through. Niemi makes the save, and there's no rebound. He holds on for the whistle, and the Hawks change lines.