With a 6’5 frame and a decent skater, one can see why many scouts salivate at the idea of moulding Riley Tufte into a force in the NHL. However, there are some signs, like struggles in the USHL, that suggest despite a NHL frame Tufte may still be quite a ways away from being a sure thing.
- Age: 18, 1998-04-10
- Birthplace: Ham Lake, MN, USA
- Frame: 6’5″ 190lbs.
- Position: LW
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Fargo Force, USHL; Blaine High, USHS
- Accomplishments/Awards: 2015/16 Mr. Hockey Minnesota
|pGPS n||pGPS s||pGPS %||pGPS P/GP||pGPS R|
|NHL CSS||ISS||Future Considerations||Hockey Prospect||McKeen’s||Button|
“I don’t see him being a guy that’s going to be a huge pounder and the prototypical power forward, but I see him understanding how to use his size more and make that a part of his game because he’s going to have to to be a successful player in the NHL,” NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory said. “There’s going to be that sweet spot somewhere in between that skilled and power forward for him in my mind. Maybe it’s a Rick Nash-type of player where he has unreal hands for a big guy but can eventually understand he’s using his size because it can give him such an advantage.”
Tufte has a number of things to work on before he is NHL ready, but if he can add some weight, and overcome the issues with his defensive game and improve his playmaking ability he can become a valuable weapon in a team’s top six. His size, skating, and skill with the puck are an intriguing combination for any team. Playing at Minnesota-Duluth will certainly give him some time to add that muscle to his frame.
Riley Tufte is an interesting prospect to consider. He has insane numbers (47 goals, 31 assists) playing 25 games with Blaine High, but they come at the high school level. In his small sample in the USHL, Tufte struggled to put up points. Additionally, he is 6’5″, so he is huge and playing as a man against boys.
pGPS does not smile kindly to Riley Tufte’s probability of making the jump to the NHL. There are only 2 comparable NHLers who have played 200 or more NHL games. The pGPS % is at 15.38 percent, both of which extend from his USHL history where Tufte struggled to perform against smaller and younger competition. Once again, the numbers do not bode well for Tufte.
Scouts, though, seem to be in agreement that Tufte has raw skill, as is showcased by the points accrued at the high school. However, how much of this can be attributed to his size and playing against much smaller opponents is still unknown. The consensus seems to be that he needs to work on all aspects of his game.
Tufte has been compared to Rick Nash and that would be a good comparison or any player his size to have, albeit pretty lofty. If he can learn to use his size in offensive situations, then drafting Tufte 31st overall will be a great pick. Additionally, Tufte says he models his game after Nick Bjugstad, a budding centre on the Florida Panthers.
As a long term project, Riley Tufte has set himself up well to hone his game by committing to the NCAA system, where teams will have up to four seasons for him to build upon his game. He has committed to Minnesota-Duluth for the 2016-17 year where he can learn to use his size and skill against bigger and better players while filling out his frame.
If Tufte can overcome the deficiencies in his game and add some strength, he will be a force on the ice for whatever team he plays for.