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Rookie Profile - Hiroshi Okada [1/2]


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This is Jackson J. McJackson for decenthockeyprospects.com. Today, we are covering a player I have mixed feelings about. I think he has the potential to be a good addition to many VMHL teams but the league could also prove too big a challenge for him. I've watched him play a few times on streams of questionable quality. These are my thoughts on Hiroshi Okada as a hockey player.




Hiroshi Okada | Center | Nara, Japan  | 6"0' | 189 lbs



Okada's biggest strength is definitely his shot. I would lie if I said I wasn't impressed by the velocity at which the pixel (that I assume was the puck) traveled when it left his stick. Mere power isn't all that I liked about his shot. It was also very accurate. Granted, against a better goaltender, maybe the results would have been much different, but in the couple of games I watched, he scored quite a few goals each time or had great opportunities to score. It's also interesting that his arsenal is diverse, since his wrist shot and his slap shot were equally impressive.


I think the combination of his scoring and skating abilities will quickly make him a fan favourite, if those talents translate as well as I hope they do to the VHML. Okada is a very elegant and fast skater, which helps his gifts as a scorer shine even more. I've seen him move the puck from his zone to the other team's all by himself and make fools of his opponents a lot while I was doing my research for this profile.


I also want to mention that although Hiroshi Okada has all the characteristics of a player who will make mistakes defensively, I thought that this aspect of his game was pretty solid. He knew what to do to counter the other team and didn't seem to hate distributing hits either. I'm not sure if he's going to be used much defensively at this point of his career but it's also good to know that he's not necessarily the one who will put his team in trouble because he chases the puck like a chicken with no head all around his zone. He does create problems for his team sometimes but it's not because of gigantic defensive mistakes.



One thing I can say is that I was extremely underwhelmed by his abilities at the faceoff circle. To me, it almost seems like he has played on the wing his entire life and decided to enter the draft as a center to boost his value. After all, what team doesn't need good young centers? I don't expect him to stay above 50 % during his junior career and even for the earlier part of his pro career. This could be a minor problem but what bothers me is that he doesn't work to recover the puck after he looses a faceoff either.


Then, as is sometimes the case with scorers, his talent for setting up plays for his teammates is almost nonexistent. His offensive tactics are pretty limited: move the puck by himself from one end of the ice to the other and then take a shot, or make an attempt at a pass and more often than not, have it result in a turnover. Even when his team is in position in the offensive zone, it seems difficult for him to make decisions that don't involve shooting on the net right away. It probably doesn't help him to develop that side of his game that every play is built around him taking a shot either. There's no room for him to grow in this system so it will be interesting to see how his game changes when he's not the sole focus of his team's offense.


Finally, I've heard troubling things about the kid's lack of discipline, both on an off the ice, which is why I think he's a wildcard as far as his VHML and later his VHL career will play out. He's so superior to the guys he plays against (and with) that he seems to have a pretty big problem with following simple instructions and will place his team in trouble by taking a lot of penalties. A big ego is difficult to deal with and hopefully a couple of months in a better league will help deflate his head. I was told that, while he has no problem training for things he's already good at, he will not put in the necessary effort to improve other aspects of his game that he struggles more with.




There you have it, folks. That was my opinion on Hiroshi Okada's game. I find this kind of player difficult to evaluate because he only played in his home country so far and he had very little opposition until now. I'm excited to see how he'll perform in the VHML and how high/low he'll go in the upcoming VHML Entry Draft. I think he has potential but he'll need a good coach to become as dangerous in the league we all know and love as he was back in Japan. At 17, he's still young and has a lot to learn. I just hope a strong minded coach will show him the way early in his international career.

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  • 1 month later...

Review: You really went above and beyond with this rookie profile. The formatting and theme add so much to this. I don't think there's really anything you could improve. The touch of including the writer bio is great. Amazing job!

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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to Rookie Profile - Hiroshi Okada [1/2]

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