*Leading up to the draft. Broad Street Buzz will breakdown the potential prospects who could be available when the Flyers come to the podium to announce the 17th pick in the draft.
The NHL Draft is only days away and speculation has begun to heat up on who the Philadelphia Flyers will take with the 17th pick, if they decide to keep it.
Taking the best player available is the mantra of many teams and if Alex Tuch is available, the Flyers should consider selecting him.
Alex Tuch is an 18-year-old right-handed shot who has spent the majority of his development with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. He is a mammoth of a right wing, standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 216 lbs. He is the typical power forward who could become a key asset for the Flyers in the future. EliteProspects.com has the scouting report:
Tuch is a big power winger who skates well with strong balance. He typically is called upon to be the meat and potatoes guy on a skilled line and does so very effectively. Impressive forchecker. Uses his frame to protect the puck and physically supporting his linemates.
This may appear to be a prototypical Flyers pick. A big and physical player who can muscle his way to wherever he pleases but there is much more to Tuch’s game.
Similar to Samuel Morin – the Flyers 2013 first overall pick – Tuch made great strides in his development during the past season. Another scouting report paints him as a Jaromir Jagr type of player who shields the puck with his body and runs over any player who tries to take it from him. What makes him more appealing, and also makes him a Ron Hextall kind of player, are his intangibles. Hextall likes players who have great hockey sense and he likes players who have great character. Tuch has both.
Tuch’s has an excellent hockey IQ and plays a smart game. He reads the play before it happens, which puts him a step above most players. He does not possess elite speed, but he is a great skater for his size and has a nose for the net. He could be a perfect fit in head coach Craig Berube’s system with how relentless he is on the forecheck and how well he performs in his own end.
This highlight is a great example of Tuch’s abilities. Fast forward to 35 seconds. Tuch is no. 37 in white.
Watch how he and one of his teammates converge on the Russian forward. Tuch scoops up the loose puck, dekes around one of the defenders and feeds a pass to another teammate. Tuch’s smooth hands helped put the USA up 2-0.
Here are some additional highlights of Tuch:
Watch no. 17 in blue. The initial shot is denied, but Tuch stays under the hashmarks. The puck rattles out to the point where Tuch deflects the shot for a goal.
During this next video, we see Tuch crashing the net once again. He starts the play by making a pass to his teammate at the blue line. Tuch anticipates where the puck is going and follows it to the net. With a defender on his back, Tuch bangs home the rebound.
Tuch’s character is what leads me to believe the Flyers would take him. During an open house at the Wells Fargo Center, Hextall said he wants character players on his team. Players who will not shy away from the pressure. Players who are crushed by losses and revel in every win. Tuch is a player who leaves everything he has on the ice and plays for his teammates.
In their scouting report, MyNHLDraft.com compared Tuch’s style of play to five current NHLers. These comparison are not based on Tuch’s skills but of what players his style most resembles.
1. Uniquely gifted forward who physically supports his line-mates: Jordan Staal.
2. Big, grueling leader who rips it up offensively: Joe Thornton.
3. Large, intelligent, two-way offensive juggernaut: Anze Kopitar.
4. Hard-hitting power-forward who can do it all: David Backes.
5. Leads by example, on and off the ice: Ryan Getzlaf.
What may be the four most appealing words on the list are “two-way” and “Anze Kopitar.” The secret is out about Kopitar’s skill and if Tuch can become another version of Kopitar, the Flyers will have a solid prospect with tons of room to grow.