Coming in at the 33rd spot on the Nation Network’s list is self proclaimed power forward Taylor Raddysh. Raddysh’s size and scoring give him the look of a surefire first rounder yet his rankings tend to fall anywhere from the end of the first round to well into the second.
After the jump we take a look at where Raddysh ranks among this years draft eligible’s and why his numbers may be a little inflated.
- Age: 18, 1998-02-18
- Birthplace: Toronto, ON, CAN
- Frame: 6’2″ 198 lbs.
- Position: RW
- Handedness: R
- Draft Year Team: Erie Otters
- Accomplishments/Awards: 2016 CHL Top Prospects Game
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Although he was helped by being on a super line with Arizona Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome and likely first-rounder Alex DeBrincat, Raddysh was very impressive in his own right. He is a power winger. He works hard every shift to win battles while also showing above-average puck skills. He reads the play very well and shows quality vision and offensive instincts. Raddysh’s defensive play is about average; he’s the kind of player who sacrifices his body for his team but could improve his positioning. His first step can use some work, as he’s got a bit of a sluggish stride but decent leg strength.
Raddysh is strong on the puck, protects it well and reads plays well. He is strong on his skates and difficult to knock off the puck but lacks acceleration, top speed or elite mobility. Raddysh plays a heavy game and is aggressive on the forecheck, delivers hard hits, is a force both in front of the goal and along the wall in board battles. Raddysh has made significant strides in his offensive game with a breakout season seeing his point totals jump from 27 in his rookie season to 73 in his draft year with the Erie Otters. Skating is average but adequate and will need to improve to succeed at the NHL level.
Raddysh’s size and strength allow him to gain an advantage in winning loose pucks. Once he gets the puck, his decision-making ability allows him to read plays, sometimes one to two steps ahead of his competition. His passing then allows him to hit teammates in stride, whether it’s DeBrincat from the slot, or Strome streaking toward the goal. But when he wants to do it himself, he’s a powerful finisher.
Raddysh fits the mold of a traditional power forward almost perfectly. The bulk of his goals come from the ‘home plate’ right in front of the net, where he has a demonstrated ability to find soft areas and get himself open for shots. Raddysh is also adept at digging the pucks out of the corners and has shown to have the vision to find teammates for scoring chances or to work the cycle. While a willing defender, Raddysh’s defensive positioning could be better as he has the tendency to get a little lost in his own zone. His skating could also use some work as his mobility and top speed are no really at the level you’d like to see for an NHL player.
The numbers for Raddysh look quite impressive, he was a top-20 scorer in the OHL as a 17 year old and 6th in draft eligible scoring. While he was a regular member of one of the leagues most lethal powerplay units, he also scored the majority of his points at even strength and did not see his numbers padded by secondary assists in any significant way. pGPS looks quite favorably on him as well as it shows him to have a better than 50% shot at being an NHLer, and his pGPS P/PG of .55 makes it look like a pretty decent bet he would be capable of scoring at a top-6 rate at the next level.
The issue that can be taken with Raddysh’s strong numbers is that he was a regular member of one of the top scoring lines in the OHL. The lion’s share of Raddysh’s points this season came by the end of November during a time he was playing almost exclusively with Strome and DeBrincat. When those two left for the WJC’s, and for some time after, Raddysh was bounced around a few different line combinations with varying degrees of success, but nothing close to what he was seeing earlier. Near the end of the regular season the big line was reunited and Raddysh saw his numbers begin to pick back up..
Overall Raddysh’s combination of size, strength, vision, and shot is a package that should have NHL teams looking at him as a highly coveted prospect. A team drafting him will be hoping that with some improvement to his skating, Raddysh will become the kind of winger that can be slotted up and down the top three lines to provide some grit and scoring presence as needed. On draft day I’d expect Raddysh to go anywhere from late in the first round to the end of the second.