Flyers Prospect Breakdown: Carson Bjarnason, G, Brandon Wheat Kings, CHL

The Player

Bjarnason has some excellent tools on his tool belt. He is quick, and shifty, does an excellent job of tracking the puck from the point even when dealing with an attacker trying to shield his vision, and has a great glove. Bjarnason stays well aligned to oppositional puck movement when the puck carrier is shifting the puck from east-west in front of him. In high-danger situations, Bjarnason does a good job of using his athleticism when reacting to tough saves. He’s flexible and can go into the splits when needed.

Bjarnason has a good glove and doesn’t have much trouble grabbing a shot coming from medium and high danger. He shifts around from having his glove positioned underhand to having it overhand. Bjarnason’s overhand glove positioning allows him to react quickly to shots coming up chest level.

Using his glove in an overhand position also allows him to take up more space in the net. I’ll touch on this a bit later on in the report, but Bjarnason does give up a decent amount of space on the top shelf when in the crouch and the butterfly. I’d like to see him extend his glove overhand more when in the crouch and the butterfly as that will take away space top shelf towards the right for the opposing puck carrier to use. 

Bjarnason does make underhand saves. Usually, he will extend his glove underhand when squared up to the puck carrier. His underhand positioning allows him to quickly trap shots that hit him in the chest. While he can be efficient with his glove extended underhand, he does give up a lot of rebounds to high danger when facing shots from the slot and his glove is positioned underhand while Bjarnason is in the crouch and the butterfly. He struggles to glove the shot and instead, it ricochets off of the glove and into high danger. 

Bjarnason doesn’t just have a good glove, he also has a good blocker and does a good job of extending his blocker out at the precise moment to make contact with the puck when facing a shot. The extension of the blocker allows Bjarnason to react in time and push the puck into medium and/or low-danger areas.

When protecting the post, he will use RVH. Not VH. If Bjarnason is in an RVH stand and he is observing an attacker skating along the red line from the corner to the slot, he struggles to take away room top shelf and sometimes that leads to goals against. I’d like to see Bjarnason use a VH stance in those situations and then drop into the butterfly when the puck carrier gets to the doorstep. The VH stance takes away more space when defending against puck carriers along the red line and takes up more space on the far side top shelf.

Sometimes when protecting the post, he overlaps the post and that means that he is giving up quite a bit of space on the far side. He needs to be more cautious with overlapping because when the oppositional puck movement is moving from side to side, he has to cover more ground when shifting over. 

Bjarnason drops into the crouch when the puck carrier is skating into the slot at the perimeter line. Sometimes his positioning is too far out in the crease, and it seems that he is overcommitting to the edge of the crease when facing shots coming from the glove side. With his stance, he is giving up a bit too much top shelf. I don’t mind seeing Bjarnason position himself along the edge of the crease, but if he is looking to stand there regularly when facing shots glove side, I’d like his crouch stance improved a bit. When in the crouch, he slouches a bit and that opens up the space top shelf when he is at the edge of the crease. But it’s not just in the crouch, you will notice the same when Bjarnason is in the butterfly.

Projection

The athleticism, the glove, the blocker, and the puck tracking are excellent. He is showing that he can react quickly to puck movement and shut down scoring chances on routine. He extends his blocker and pads out just in time to push pucks to low-danger areas. Bjarnason keeps his head on a swivel and does an excellent job of puck tracking even when traffic builds up at the net front is a tool that will come in handy at the NHL level when the opposition is bigger and faster.

The area that I would like to see improvement in the most is his stance. If Bjarnason can improve his crouch and butterfly stance in the net to take up more space, those tools are going to blend nicely and thus he has NHL starter potential written all over him.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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