Conor Timmins may be a bit late on the list here, and a lot of that may be my own fault. I will admit that in retrospect I ranked him way too late, skewing the average. Ironically, I will now be the one to guide you through our profile of the 6’1, right-shot defender.
Timmins carries a lot of value; he has that deadly combination of physicality, mobility, first-pass, and offensive instinct. He started the season as an after thought in the draft, ranked late by most third-party scouting departments, but has rocked up to late first round – early second round for most services.
A team likely picks up Timmins in the mid-second but he would be no reach as a late first round selection. We ranked Timmins 39th overall in the Nation Network’s Prospect Profile series.
- Age: 18-years-old, 1998-09-18
- Birthplace: Thorold, ON, CAN
- Position: RD
- Handedness: Right
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 181 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Soo Greyhounds – OHL
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The cerebral, poised Timmins plays an impressive two-way game featuring sharp intuition and vision that contribute to his skilled passing and playmaking. A great puck-mover and mobile skater that excels at quarterbacking the power play. He took great offensive strides last year with OHL Sault Ste. Marie, finishing with seven goals and 54 assists in 67 contests, far exceeding his previous 13-point campaign. He could add more muscle to beef up his already aggressive defensive game.
The one commonality in every profile on Timmins is hockey IQ, smarts, or cerebral player. Timmins won’t wow you with raw tools that makes you scream elite but he is easily one of the smartest defenders eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He is a decently mobile defender and not lacking in either physicality or size, but his brain is easily his best asset.
His high intelligence leads to minimal mistakes and he is one of best zone exit defenders (again: from my eye-test, not my company’s numbers) in the CHL. Timmins gets the puck out of the defensive zone fast, often, efficiently, and rarely with any mistake or unnecessary hesitation.
Timmins’ production grew leaps and bounds in his 2016-2017 campaign. The right-shot defender put up a 0.91 point per game pace and 0.66 5-on-5 point per game pace, easily making him one of the best point producing defenders in this year’s draft. Timmins scored more at 5-on-5 than draft class compatriot Nicolas Hague despite lower level QoT and higher level QoC.
The defender put up an impressive relative 5-on-5 goal share, despite moving up to the Greyhounds top pair.
Obviously with impressive numbers comes a solid pGPS:
Timmins is a fairly safe player with a lot of NHL cohorts, and some of his lower GP cohorts are guaranteed to move into the 200+ games played range in time (such as Calvin de Haan).
There is quite of range of talent, from Todd Gill or Tim Gleason, to P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty. Using statistical cohorts to compare prospects at 17 and project future is still very much an inexact science but it lends some evidence to realistic ideas of ceiling, floor, and safety.
One way we can add some more certainty is look into how comparable Timmins’ draft eligible season is to his comparisons:
The more similar the NHL skater was to Timmins’ 2016-2017 campaign, the further along they reside on the x-axis. This means the graph suggests those on the bottom right are the most likely NHL projections for Timmins, provided he actually makes the NHL.
Looking further we see that the bulk of Timmins cohorts are second pairing defenders. This would be solid value to garner out of a late first or early second round draft selection.
So, why isn’t a high-scoring, smart, puck-moving defender not projected as either safer or higher than we or pGPS place him?
The biggest issue is age. Timmins missed the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by 3 days. Age is a huge variable to account for in a prospects development. Scoring at a particular rate as a 17-year-old in junior is worlds apart from putting up the same pace at 20-years-old. Look no further than how many high-scoring overage junior players struggle to play the AHL, let alone the NHL.
Returning to qualitative scouting, the other obvious issue in Timmins’ game is his strength. While 6’1 and 181 pounds puts him near average for a defender in the NHL (an average that is dropping slightly too!), he still could use to add some lean body mass and improve his ability to leverage himself against opponents and box out in front of the net.
Timmins is far from a defensive liability, especially with his high intelligence, but that added strength would allow him to succeed in plays that his mind sets him out to do with higher efficiency.