R. Aaron Houde | June 18th, 2019
I have mentioned in my last few Prospect Highlight articles the increase in offensive play in the NHL. While goals and assists are definitely aspects of the game to pay attention to, that is not the only offensive aspect to be cognizant of; play away from the puck and drawing the defensive eye away is also key. With that in mind, I will be looking at Trevor Zegras.
Trevor Zegras, born March 20, 2001, in Bedford, NY, USA, played the last two years in the US National Team Development Program, putting up 26 goals, 61 assists (87 points), and accumulating 94 penalty minutes*. Known to finish plays, and mix his speed with natural hockey IQ, it is hard for the defense to knowingly keep their eyes off him on the rush, creating opportunities for his linemates. Although he has been outshined by the likes of Jack Hughes, his potential to be a Top Six forward is undeniable.
His speed, creativity, and ability to release the puck quickly and accurately can make him an asset with and without the puck on his blade. While he is not overly physical, he is not known to shy away from contact and is known to be competitive on both ends of the ice. His size is on the lower side of the draft average, but there is plenty to work with and teams and can be a positive force for any team looking to get younger and quicker in this ever-hastening game.
It is unlikely that many teams will bypass him. The Detroit Red Wings are likely to scoop him up, depending on how the first five teams decide to pick. Their average age is 27, and a third of their active roster is 30 or older. Pending the Red Wings decide to pass on Zegras, it is unlikely that he would last in the draft past the other aging team in the draft, the Anaheim Ducks (draft position nine). While they’re median age is lower than the Red Wings at 26, they have 11 players on their active roster who are over the age of 30, and a majority of their main offensive force is aging into absolution (Andrew Cogliano is 31, Corey Perry is 33, Ryan Getzlaf is 33, and Ryan Kesler is 34). While this may not seem bad, this season was the first time since the 2011-2012 season the Ducks failed to qualify for the playoffs, and they averaged 33.2 shots against per game. Relying too heavily on their goaltenders (John Gibson and the aging Ryan Miller), they could use to have an offensive fire lit under them.
*These stats are a combination of Exhibition and USHL Regular Season.
Read my other Prospect Highlights: Peyton Krebs
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