After going undrafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Sean Durzi is the 52nd ranked prospect for this draft class.
When looking back, you can understand why he was passed over – after putting up 10 goals in his draft minus season, Durzi suffered some bad luck in terms of shooting percentage and battled an ankle issue that resulted in him going through un-selected. Since he started the season late, he was always playing catch up.
Now, after breaking out offensively this season, Durzi is a candidate to be taken in the 2nd or 3rd round and seems like very good bet at that point. He did battle injuries again this year but his skillset is enough to think that if those injury issues are a thing of the past, that he could be a steal.
We’ll take a deeper look at Sean Durzi.
- Age/Birthdate: 18.90/ October 21, 1998
- Birthplace: Mississauga, ON, CAN
- Frame:6-foot-0/ 196 lbs
- Position: Defence
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Owen Sound Attack(OHL)
- OHL Second All-Star Team
Durzi was selected 228th overall in the 2014 OHL Priority Draft and then made the team during the 2015-16 season. He was ranked 124th by NHL Central Scouting Service for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft before failing to hear his name called during the event in Chicago.
He is ranked 37th among North American Skaters for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft after being ranked 39th in the mid-term rankings.
Despite being passed over in the draft, Durzi did attend the Florida Panthers development camp in June and the New York Islanders Rookie Camp in September.
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All of his categories are high with the exception of GF% but looking at the GFREL% in conjunction with it and it isn’t an issue. Based on the event tracker, he was a bit of a high event player during the early parts of his season but stabilized it as the season went on and did very well in the OHL playoffs.
A lot of good signs for any prospect and even more so for a player in their D+1.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Durzi made the most of his 5v5 play in terms of production and underlying numbers. He was fairly consistent in terms of his rolling contributions and WOWY. No concerns from this data.
Durzi leaps off the page here in terms of expected success rates. His production has him with 48.4% of comparable players going onto NHL regulars.
Despite his ‘struggles’ last season, the XLS% still shows that 19.2% of his cohorts were successful. It is really surprising that a team didn’t just take a flyer on him in the 6th or 7th round. He suffered from some bad luck, which we will get to below, but his game wasn’t drastically different from what is now. Though he did have this to say about being passed over in the draft when he appeared on Sportsnet 650 with Sat Shah and Jawn Jang:
“A lot of people leave that weekend and they’re crushed, and they’re not motivated anymore and they just … want to give up,” “I left that weekend more motivated than ever.”
The argument could be made that if he was selected, maybe he wouldn’t have been so motivated to prove people wrong. Regardless, he was a great value bet when he was still on the board near the end of the draft when everyone was trying to go home.
Durzi is a mobile puck moving defenceman who reads the play and then distributes the puck very well. His hockey sense is matched by his very good skating abilities that allow him to get up and down the ice without an issue.
He enjoys being aggressive in the offensive zone to create odd-man situations that overwhelm his opponent. The Owen Sound defender doesn’t have an extremely heavy shot but is accurate and smart with his placements. When he has his head up, you can see where he is putting it and it’s not by accident when it bounces off the goalie to a teammate. If he is given space, he can load up and hammer it as well, it’s just doesn’t have that blow you away type of weight to it.
His defensive play is good as he is able to use his great skating and active stick to keep opponents on the move and trying to force plays. He is smart with his zone exits and first pass to ensure that the puck gets out and doesn’t come back. Ideally, he would be more physical in the defensive zone with a little more conviction to his engagements.
Durzi suffered from an ankle issue during the summer of 2016, which was eventually determined to be an extra bone in there. He had the surgery to correct the program and then wasn’t really at 100% for the entire draft year. Combine that with an abysmal shooting percentage (1.8%) in his draft season and you can understand to some degree why teams were concerned. His strongest attribute is his skating and appeared to be off. It explains why he saw such a dip in his goal scoring numbers when compared to his D-1 year.
But his underlying numbers were good and he still posted 36 assists in 2016-17.
Durzi did battle another injury this season but still ended up being named to the OHL Second All-Star Team. When he did return to the lineup for Owen Sound, it made everything that much better for them. He was able to control and dictate the play as he did prior to being sidelined.
The Mississauga native’s underlying data for this season is among the best players available for this draft with his XLS% is presenting tremendous value based on where he will end up going. As with any player that has been previously passed over, there is a chance that they are closer to their ceiling than a player who is in the first year.
But Durzi just continued to get better as the season went on and because of his age, could head straight to the AHL next season. He may be ready for that challenge. He plays the game intelligently, quickly and efficiently with great skating and the ability to quarterback a powerplay. Sometimes prospects get derailed by injury and then fall to the wayside but Durzi did the opposite and is well on his way to proving that someone should’ve taken him last year.
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At 5’11”, Durzi doesn’t have that big size on defence, but he makes up for it with his skating. He moves up and down the ice with ease but doesn’t have elite speed. He is strong on his edges with very good lateral movement and an ability to beat opponents one-on-one. He picks his spots to jump into the rush or pinching at the blueline, almost always making the right choice.
Durzi possesses a very good shot and is adept at walking the line and getting himself into position to fire it on goal. But he shoots with a purpose and usually puts it in a spot for a teammate to tip the shot or create a rebound. His ability to move also opens lanes and has good enough vision to setup his teammates.
CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings