Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at American Centre John Farinacci.
Every year there are prospects who are drafted relatively high, whose games are very hard to watch. Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers made Jay O’Brien a first-round pick. This year, it is John Farinacci who played most of his season with Dexter Prep School. He put up 12 goals and 33 points in 16 games and was a first-team All-American. Prior to that, he came up in Shattuck St. Mary’s.
Fortunately for prospect watchers, there is some video of Farinacci. He played in the USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game. He also played in two games for the US NTDP U-18 club as well as two games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL. Last summer, Farinacci was the captain of the American entry at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, putting up five points in five games. In 2017-18 he played five games for the US NTDP U-17s as well as two games with the Lumberjacks.
Farinacci is committed to playing hockey at Harvard University next season, where his uncle, Ted Donato will be his head coach. Should he change his mind, his CHL rights belong to the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. His cousin is Ryan Donato of the Minnesota Wild.
John Farinacci Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Right
Born February 14th, 2001 — Red Bank, New Jersey
Height 5’11” — Weight 190 lbs [180 cm/86 kg]
Farinacci has very good top-end speed. Once he gets a step on a defender, he can pull away, creating an odd-man opportunity. However, he needs some room to get up to full speed as his acceleration needs some work. Farinacci is elusive with good agility and the ability to change directions on his edges. This allows him to avoid defenders both with and without the puck. He has a powerful stride and is able to fight through checks, hooks, and holds. Farinacci is strong on his skates. He protects the puck well and does a good job of winning battles along the boards.
Farinacci is a pure sniper. His wrist shot is incredible. He fires the puck with a lot of power as well as a lightning quick release. It is a weapon that can trouble goaltenders both off the rush as well as when he gets a pass from a teammate in the offensive zone. Farinacci also has a very good one-timer. He understands how to get open and finds soft spots in the opponent’s defence. Farinacci is also a very good playmaker. He sees the ice well and can make passes through tight areas. With strong stickhandling ability, he can control the puck down low and extend plays to wait for teammates to get open.
Farinacci has a tendency to play on the perimeter. He is strong when he is involved in battles on the boards or when he gets to the front of the net but does not seem to do that often enough. He could stand to play a more physical and gritty game. Farinacci could also be more effective on the forecheck. He also has a tendency to hold onto the puck a bit too long and will need to move things more quickly as he faces pro opponents.
Farinacci has a quick stick. He does a good job of cutting down passing lanes and intercepting passes in the defensive zone. He is also quick to poke check the puck away from an opponent. Once a turnover is created, Farinacci is able to transition quickly into offence. He uses his size to angle attackers into the corners and away from the front of the net. However, this is another aspect of his game that could be improved with more physical play.
Projection and Comparison
Farinacci could become a top-six centre in the NHL. However, given the level of competition he has faced to date, he is a bit of a long-term project. A few years at Harvard will be helpful as they will give him time to work in the weight room and bulk up while playing a much tougher schedule than he has so far in his career. Even after a couple of years at college, he will need some AHL time, to adjust to playing against professional players. Farinacci’s game is reminiscent of Nick Schmaltz, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of John Farinacci that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
ST. PAUL, MN – SEPTEMBER 19: Team Langenbrunner forward John Farinacci (12) makes a pass during the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game between Team Leopold and Team Langenbrunner on September 19, 2018, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Team Leopold defeated Team Langenbrunner 6-4. (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)