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Friday, January 14, 2011

WJC Scouting Reports: Germany

Team Germany had some talent on paper, but were disappointing overall. They surrendered three power play goals in the first period alone en route to a 4-0 hole after 20 before clawing back to make it a game in a 4-3 loss. They pushed Slovakia to overtime, but couldn't solve Dominik Riecicky between the pipes, got dominated by the USA in a 4-0 loss and also lost to FInland in decisive fashion.

Tobias Rieder was the highest-profile draft eligible on the team and showed off some of the skill that has seen him attract notice in the OHL with Kitchener, but overall, didn't have a great tourney.

Marcel Noebels, who was passed over last year, is with Seattle of the WHL this season and looked pretty good at times. He was the best player for Germany in the loss to Switzerland, and has the kind of size to hang in the NHL. Skating is his major issue, but he wasn't bad.

Tobias Rieder, C 5-10, 180 Kitchener Rangers (OHL)-- Lack of size is the big knock on Rieder, because his skating and skills are first-rate. Has a quick initial burst and can weave in and out of traffic. Plays with some energy and can handle the puck well at top speed. Special hands. Capable of bringing fans out of the seats-- scored a highlight reel goal against Finland, using the combination of his speed and a complex deke to rock the HSBC Arena. Sees the ice pretty well and has the offensive hockey IQ to make plays. Not very strong and has trouble when the hitting picks up. Isn't afraid to get hit, but tends to stay on the outside rather than fight his way to the net. Better than expected defensively, but his lack of size will be a challenge for him at the next level. Character guy; very well-spoken and poised-- bigger things could be in store, especially if he pays attention to Steve Spott's program in Kitchener and does what the coaches instruct.

Overview: Germany on the whole was a disappointment, and Rieder wasn't too far behind. Although not a bad performance at the WJC, he only showed flashes of what he can do. Rieder was not able to bring the consistency you want to see, but at the same time, he was still 17- he just turned 18 a few days ago. His ability and character should see him get drafted pretty high, but he's very much a work in progress who will need time to develop.

Marcel Noebels, F 6-3, 210 Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)-- Nice size, with a wide-skating base. Offensively gifted-- has both a heavy shot and soft hands for making on-target saucer passes in his arsenal. Skating is rough-- slow first few steps and looks pretty awkward out there-- like a big man with the lumbering skating stride. Crashes the net and uses his size to gain position and leverage. Likes to fire the puck on net from the wing-- then drives in and grabs the rebounds. Surveys the ice well and has the ability to find his linemates. Will give and take the hit, but not a punishing physical player.

Overview: Not a bad performance from Noebels, and to be honest, I thought he showed enough that he would have been drafted last season. The skating is an issue, and perhaps he improved significantly from last year-- didn't see him to make the comparison, because Noebels was one of Germany's more effective and consistent forwards all tourney long. If I were on an NHL staff, I would have no problem using a late flyer on a player like Noebels because there is some upside there along with the size you can't teach. That said, you can teach the skating aspect, so get him signed on for power skating lessons, and he could get on track.

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