Serron Noel is a big-bodied winger who can impose his will on the game when he so chooses. He is a player with high upside and raw talent that makes him one of the most intriguing prospects of this draft class.
There are some draft analytical tools that show that Noel is a great bet to be an NHL player and if he can put it all together, could be a great pick. From the qualitative side of scouting, Noel leaves you wanting more at times but then can wow you just a few shifts later.
Add that he has a late birthday for this draft class and it’s easy to think the sky is the limit for the Generals forward.
That potential and high success rate among his cohorts is why Noel is a first-round talentand lands in the 25th spot in our 2018 NHL Entry Draft rankings.
- Age/Birthdate:17.10/ August 8, 2000
- Birthplace: Ottawa ON Canada
- Frame:6-foot-5/ 201 lbs
- Position: RW
- Handedness: R
- Draft Year Team: Oshawa Generals(OHL)
- HEOMAAA All-Star Game
- HEOMAAA Top Prospect Award
- OGC-16 Bronze Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
Noel was selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection draft by the Oshawa Generals. He immediately made the leap to the OHL and had a good rookie season that saw him post 21 points in 63 games.
He followed that up with an appearance at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament that saw him post one goal in five games, as he helped Canada win gold.
He represented Canada once again at the U18’s and had a much better offensive performance with two goals and four assists in five games.
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There are some good and some bad here.
As mentioned off the top, Noel stands out in terms of expected likelihood of success (XLS%) and SEAL but struggles in some of the boxcar and underlying numbers. His high shooting percentage, GF% and GFREL% are of concern. He does have quite a bit of 5v5 production, which is great to see.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Noel saw consistent production throughout the entire year and produced well given the ice time afforded to him. Although his GF and GFREL% were of concern above, as we can see from the WOWY, aside from Studnicka, he wasn’t a huge drag.
Here is where Noel stands out – with 48.0% of comparable players going onto becoming NHL regulars. That percentage is aided by his size, 6’5″ and 200 lbs, as it creates a smaller pool of players, and that has to be taken into consideration.
Noel is a prime example of trying to figure out how much value to place in potential and raw tools. You can get yourself in trouble if you are constantly chasing potential but when it does work out, you look like a genius. It’s also dependent on the asset used to acquire said player.
The Oshawa Generals forward was a player that I briefly profiled to start the year as someone to keep an eye on as the draft season went along. At that time, he presented an XLS% of 19.8% and we’ve seen that rose to 48.0% by the end of the year. It’s fair to say that he increased his stock as the season went along and is now firmly a first-round pick, whereas he was a second rounder at the beginning of the year.
The Ottawa born winger is surprisingly soft with the puck and can make quick, efficient, and high percentage passes to set-up his teammates. He also has the ability to deke, drag, and dangle with the puck. Generally, with players of the same size, they can struggle to hold onto the puck while in movement simply because of the length of their stick and how straight they have to stand but Noel doesn’t suffer from that. He uses his long reach to hold a puck out and then pulls it in quickly to go around a defender or shifts back to gain a lane. It’s really something that stands out when he does it.
When not afforded the chance to make moves, Noel has a heavy wrist shot that he can pull for a heavy and accurate release. It can be deceptive on its release as he has such a long wingspan that he has a wide space to whip it from. His 1.69 shots per game are the most frustrating part of his game. It produced an unsustainable 27% shooting percentage, so it goes without much opposition that Noel needs to shoot the puck more often and use that good shot that he has. Often he just doesn’t shoot the puck to make another pass to a teammate in a low percentage area or is just waiting until he gets in the home plate area.
Waiting until you get that high percentage shooting location isn’t a bad skill to have but it’s also another indicator that Noel could do more with the tools he has. He isn’t a power forward in the sense that he will just bull his way to the net to make things happen and more rely on his soft hands to create offence. But it would great to see him put his shoulder and drive through with more regularity because when he has done it, he is impossible to contain and knock off the puck.
I’ve found that Noel is very adept at tipping a point shot and then rolling off coverage for a 2nd and 3rd opportunity. It didn’t always result in a goal but if he keeps doing that, it will pay off.
He does impose his size upon his opponents along the boards and in the corners – just pushing through and distributing as he sees fit.
As for his skating, he doesn’t have great acceleration, instead of relying on long and powerful strides to get going. That produces a great top speed but requires a bit of time to get going. When he does have a lane, he is hard to knock off that track as he is just so strong on his feet. There really isn’t a concern about his skating as he is surprisingly agile on his feet when he has the puck.
There was a visible improvement over the course of the season and that is because he was focusing on improving it through skating sessions, twice a week. Before the year, it was something that people pointed to as being an issue, but it should not be viewed as such anymore.
Noel is decent in the defensive zone, using his long reach and wingspan to disrupt lanes and keep the pressure on puck carriers before his body can get there. Smart with his reads on his man and does engage quite well. He is not flawless in his own zone as he can get beat to a lane if an attacker has a step on him but generally recovers well if that happens.
As we can see from the rankings below, Noel will certainly be a first round pick and we agree with that mentality. Some rankings have him higher because of that potential, while others are a little more concerned about his overall game. Both sides of the coin are understandable and justifiable.
Noel needs to shoot more, drive the net more, and just be more of a dictator in the offensive zone. He has fantastic tools and hockey IQ but needs to put them all together on a regular basis. There is so much to like about his game and if he can put it together…. watch out. He was really good and the U18’s and if he can pick up next season where he left off, then he could be a slam dunk pick.
If he doesn’t put it all together, at the very least his XLS% suggests, he is a safe bet to become an NHL player in some capacity.
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Big, strong power forward who demonstrates good hockey intelligence and a soft touch around the net; has “puck on a string” abilities; – possesses a multi-dimensional skill set where he can make plays on the rush while using his size, strength and pull away speed to beat defenders wide or out of corners – could have the best puck protection game in this Draft class – a rare and valuable blend of size, skill and speed.
I’m a big fan and I’ll tell you why. Watch the Generals play and count the number of prime time scoring chances this guy creates, or is on the receiving end of. If he was able to finish off even half of those scoring chances, he’d be top 20 in scoring (easily). But the coordination, focus, and finishing ability just aren’t quite polished yet as he learns to utilize his size advantage. (…) Maybe there is a slight risk that he’s another Colton Gillies type. But there’s also a chance that he develops into a top notch power forward who can take over games. The risk/reward is worth it IMO, especially with him being ranked in the mid/late first round right now