The Athletic’s Max Bultman attended the World Junior Summer Showcase this past week, and Bultman offers a list of ten observations from the WJSS this morning.
Both Bultman and I were impressed with the raw attributes of defenseman Shai Buium, a 6’3,” 214-pound defender with room to grow literally and figuratively after being drafted 36th overall by the Wings some nine days ago:
Buium will play next season at the University of Denver, so before the showcase started, I reached out to Pioneers coach David Carle to ask what stood out about the big blueliner’s game.
“I think it’s his brain, his vision, his deception with the puck,” Carle said. “He breaks pucks out well, he transitions pucks (through) neutral ice well, and he’s really dynamic on the offensive blue line. He asserts himself in his transition and offensive game very well, and I think for that it makes him really hard to play against.”
All of that showed up in Plymouth. His hands were better than I realized, too, and he certainly showed a real inclination to activate offensively. There’s a nice prospect here.
For me, his skating played up when he had the puck — perhaps because of his size, perhaps because of his hands and smarts, but either way, he just looked dangerous with possession. There’s still room for improvement in his skating overall, though, particularly in order to defend speed in transition. I saw at least two instances where a player got by him by chipping the puck off the wall and beating him to it for a chance off the rush. Certainly, that’s understandable for a player who stands 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, and adding more strength will help Buium there — as he gains more muscle in his legs, his stride should get more powerful.
Team USA coach Nate Leman suggested that Buium’s greatest attribute is his skating, which covers a tremendous amount of rink room with a single stride.
Buium’s hands and feet look to be doing different things at the same time, which doesn’t yield an impression that he’s the smoothest defenseman out there, but his slightly awkward stride belies an impressive amount of poise and maturity.
After watching Finland center Aatu Raty dominate the tournament with the 52nd overall pick that the Wings sacrificed to trade up and draft Buium, I’m not sure that I would have traded up from all of 38th overall to select Buium 5 picks earlier, but Kris Draper and the Wings’ amateur scouts saw a lot more of the Red Wings’ newest prospects participating in hockey games this past season than I did.
That was really my take on the week’s worth of 2021 draft picks (all three of them):
Continue reading Bultman on Buium and the WJSS participants, plus odds and ends