I present to you a two-way Western League forward who is commended for the way he uses his sturdy frame and for defensive awareness that is rare for a player at this age. Some scouts say his skating needs work. Many love his leadership. That's Colton Sissons (no "c," though he wears Kelowna's "C").
You're forgiven for thinking of Scott Scissons (with "c") though, a big two-way Western League forward who was commended for using his size and for his defensive intelligence but whose ... skating needed work.
Scott Scissons was selected 6th overall in 1990 -- not a big reach, according to the CW of the time -- but only played three NHL games (including one playoff game). That's not quite a fair summation though: Injuries knocked him out of the game by age 22.
Scott's not-quite-namesake Colton Sissons has every bit the opportunity to forge his own name after captaining Kelowna and attracting attention for his character attributes. He's rated as late-first, early second round in most rankings.
How They Rank Him
- CSS (N.A. skaters): 14
- McKeen's: 29
- The Scouting Report: 31
- "Consensus" Weighted Rank (June): 42
- Craig Buttonn (June): (n/r in top 60)
- Hockey Prospectus: 77
What They're Saying
Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:
... hard to see him having legit offensive upside at the highest level and he seems more like a bottom-six player. He can certainly skate and shoot, though, which will generate some offense. Sissons moves at a fine level showing solid speed; he looks technically sound and projects to certainly skate with pros. However, despite being a good skater who can distribute the puck fine, it's hard to see him creating a whole lot of offense by himself. He isn't the most gifted puckhandler or creative player.
McKeen's Draft Preview:
...ability to check players and get within 10-15 feet of the net and score dirty area goals are what makes him effective. He does a fine job of marking his man defensively and makes the necessary adjustments to mitigate opposing players' scoring chances. ... The one area where his game needs vast improvement is his skating. He offers very little, if any, explosiveness and his stride is very bland, as there is no propulsion in it whatsoever.
Sissons uses his large frame to battle for pucks in the hard areas, and has quick hands around the net. While only 18-years-old, Sissons was thrust into a larger role with a younger Kelowna team this season, and though he didn’t produce huge numbers, his all-around game continued to improve. Sissons will have to work on his foot speed...
Brenden Kichton, Islanders prospect and fellow WHLer:
Colton Sissons has a great shot, a tremendous shot actually. He’s a good skater who competes hard. He has just a good all-around skill level.
It's kind of funny the different interpretations of Sisson's skating -- which are just too typical of this time of year, when teenagers are watched and ranked and projected against a backdrop where only a fraction of them will make it to the NHL and stay a while.
Yet even in these snippets from more expansive scouting reports, you can see what strengths and weaknesses will make or break Sissons.