Most hockey players are rink rats and love to be around the rink and the sport they love and some go a step beyond that and are gamers, and that’s how I would describe Ty Smilanic, who will definitely get drafted whenever the NHL holds to 2020 NHL Draft.
I think he has first-round tools as you can see by my latest rankings.
“It was a frustrating year. I never had an injury that caused me to miss games before this year. This year I had three. Especially it being my draft year that is a whole other level of frustration, It was a good learning experience but I would have preferred that it wasn’t my draft year,” he said honestly.
But it goes beyond that. He has the drive to be the best he can be on every shift. Being a member of the NTDP is one hint that he’s a cut above but the other happened this past winter. When he was going to play in the All-American Prospects Game, in his pregame interview I noticed that he had a cast on his finger and asked him about it. He divulged that he had a broken index finger and that wasn’t going to cause him to miss this game or the rest of his hockey season. That’s gutsy. Knowing that scouts in attendance probably didn’t know when the game started, he put it all on the line and had a solid game even when he couldn’t be close to 100%.
“Obviously you saw the cast. It was a decent-sized cast. Shooting was more than difficult for sure but it was an injury-prone year for me, I was out so much. They said I was able to be on the ice and play with the cast on, I wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip,” Smilanic stated. “It did limit me for sure. I got to be out there and playing my last few games for the U.S. National Team. I have no regrets.”
Last year matters. Scouts don’t just scout a player for one year especially when that player is on the NTDP.
“Last year I had a pretty good year. I led the team in goals. It was a good year for me. They (the scouts) got to see the true hockey player that I am. This year wasn’t really a good representation of that. With all the scouts watching me last year that definitely works to my advantage,” said Smilanic.
Smilanic is a 6-1 center who has a frame that he can build some muscle on.
“Being a center is an important part of the game. I don’t want to say the most important because every part of the game is important. You are relied on as much in the defensive zone as the offensive zone,” Smilanic explained. “You have to play a full 200-foot game.
“it’s challenging, and I think it comes with more responsibility than some of the other positions. I love having those responsibilities and being relied on.”
The Colorado native then added something that’s important regarding his draft stock, “I look at myself as a centerman. This year I played a good amount of wing because I was injured or recovering from injuries. I could use my speed more and stretch the defense and got a few breakaways here and there. I don’t feel I’m adding as much to the game as a winger.” He cited less responsibility in the defensive zone, and he wants that responsibility.
If he slips to the second round, there will be a team that drafts him in that round. This prospect has a high upside and terrific speed.
Junior hockey player notes: http://www.sportsology.com/five-junior-hockey-players-to-watch/
20 best draft values of all-time: http://www.sportsology.com/the-20-best-nhl-draft-values-of-the-decade/
My 2020 Top 31: http://www.sportsology.com/2020-nhl-draft-my-top-31-version-4-0/
Check out my new hockey book Sticks and Stones here: