Curtis Douglas is a gargantuan physical specimen of a player, clocking in a 6-foot-8 and over 200 pounds. While the NHL has moved past the days where they’d target players strictly for their size, Douglas has shown enough skill and finesse to indicate that he can have success without relying solely on his size, making it more of a bonus trait and less like the main attraction. He was traded mid-season from the powerful Barrie Colts to the rebuilding Windsor Spitfires in exchange for overager Aaron Luchuk (the OHL’s leading scorer this past season), playing a support role with both squads. A lack of prominent teammates or ice time make his numbers all that more admirable.
Douglas is a bit of a late bloomer, jumping from just nine points last season to 46 this year. His numbers are far from elite, but in a centre-weak draft, Douglas has done enough to earn some attention on the second day of the draft. He sits at no. 71 on our Top 100 rankings.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.53 / March 6, 2000
- Birthplace: Oakville, ON, CAN
- Frame: 6-foot-8 / 201 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Douglas was drafted in the fourth round, 76th overall, in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection by the Barrie Colts. He played the season with the Colts the following year, before dealt to the Spitfires mid-way through this past season. He made some major strides over the course of the season, and hasn’t previously been seen as a notable prospect, and thus hasn’t had any opportunity with Hockey Canada, nor was he brought to the CHL Top Prospects Game.
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Douglas looks good if not great in most of our statistical categories, standing out particularly in SEAL and XLS% (I’ll break down why further on, and explain why his XPR was so much lower).
After splitting time between centre and the wing in Barrie, Douglas spent a lot more time in the middle when he arrived in Windsor in December, jumping from 2.6 faceoffs per game with his original team to 7.9 faceoffs per game with his new one. He did begin to spend more time on the wing as the season wound down and into the playoffs – his poor faceoff percentage of 46% probably factored into that decision.
After a hot start (with four points in his first two games) and a quick cold period (with no points in four games), Douglas remained pretty consistent over the course of the season. He also consistently managed to be on the ice for more goals for than against throughout the campaign, no matter which team or line he was on.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
The damage that Douglas did this season came almost exclusively at even strength, with just seven power play points to speak of (and one more in Windsor’s short post-season). He ends up with a small situational bump that raises his scoring rate a little bit. A birthday right in the middle of the eligibility range, plus playing in the Ontario Hockey League, mean that age and league adjustments are virtually nonexistent.
The main takeaway from this teammate plot (and the Scoring Network above) is that Douglas didn’t spend much time with consistent linemates. A mid-season trade certainly affects that, but Douglas still had rotating wingers whether he was with the Colts or the Spitfires, and in both cases he was looking at second or third line ice time. All of that conspires to make the production he did achieve that much more impressive.
The WOWY charts below both indicate the Douglas’ linemates were better with him than without him, both in terms of point production and goal share. With a rebuilding team like Windsor, who have to wonder about who the linemates were playing with when they weren’t with Douglas, but it does indicate that he was having a positive effect.
Douglas’ cohort data is pretty limited due to his massive size. While height has taken more of a backseat in the similarity formula that I use, I do still use a +/- 5 cm (~2 inch) window to create arbitrary boundaries for matches, meaning there aren’t many options to choose from. The result is a high expected likelihood of success (44%), but a relatively low expected production rate (15.6 points per 82 games). Taller players have traditionally been given more opportunities, meaning that lesser talents get NHL games at a rate disproportionate to their shorter counterparts.
Douglas’ size is hard to ignore, there’s just no way around that. You can attempt to assess his abilities notwithstanding of that, but the reality is that it affects almost everything he does. His skating stride needs some work and his acceleration leaves something to be desired, but the pure length of his stride allows him to get up to a pretty good speed and cover a fair bit of ground in relatively short order. He tends to look quicker joining the rush than he does closing the gap on opponents. Furthermore, he’s agile on his skates and despite those long limbs, he pivots and turns rather gracefully. The reach is of course a tremendous benefit, and he uses it to his advantage in both the offensive and defensive zones.
Douglas displays good vision on the ice (I mean, the view from 6’8″ must be pretty good), and deft passing skills. He generates offensive opportunities far more off the cycle than off the rush. This plays directly into his strengths, as he has good puck control and easily uses his reach to play keepaway, waiting for teammates to get open. He doesn’t quite have the hands or the speed to beat opponents one-on-one, so it’s good that he’s found an alternate method of generating chances that works for him.
Douglas has killed penalties and gotten limited power play opportunities in junior so far. Unsurprisingly, he’s been parked in front of the net on the power play on occasion, and shown strong battle level there and provided an excellent screen.
When gazing upon his imposing figure, teams may be inclined to yearn for more physicality out of Douglas; he uses his size and strength to lean on players effectively, but doesn’t throw many big hits. We’ve seen many examples of coaches and managers trying to draw more physicality out of players, rather than letting them use their size in other ways.
Without game-breaking offensive talent, Douglas isn’t going to be an offensive dynamo in the big leagues. He is intelligent however, and is clearing continuing to learn to use his size to his advantage both offensively and defensively. I can see him being a bottom six centre who can chip in on special teams at the NHL level one day, and that’s certainly a valuable asset.
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From Draft Site:
Has massive frame and uses it for body lean and not as a destructive hitter. Long reach gets him to loose pucks and he protects the puck very well. Has good hands in close. A work in progress who is just learning the nuances of playing in his own end and coverage. Long term developmental prospect.
I actually think his vision is underrated and a big part of what makes Douglas a successful player. As you may have guessed, the skating is a work in progress. Douglas is going to be a huge (pun intended) part of Windsor’s solid young core moving forward and I think it’s exciting to think about where his game could be in a couple years. And I think he can stay down the middle too. A guy you’ll have to be patient with, but one who could pay off in the long run.
From Future Considerations 2018 NHL Draft Guide:
He does have decent offensive instincts. He’s often in good position to attack the net. He sees the offensive zone well and is a much better passer than a shooter. His feeds are generally tape to tape, and with purpose. He seems committed to advancing the offensive sequence whenever he can. There’s raw skill here, but he must get faster and stronger to have any impact at the next level.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings