Mississauga Steelheads sniper Owen Tippett enters the 2017 NHL Entry Draft with the second-highest goal total (44) of any eligible player. Despite that, he doesn’t have the trust of some scouts who have seen him play.
Birthplace: Peterborough, Ontario
Position: Right Wing
Weight: 203 lbs.
Tippett’s Steelheads led the OHL’s Eastern Conference with 240 goals. It was the 17-year-old Tippett who led the way offensively posting team highs in goals and points (75). Known for his blazing speed, nose for the net and quick release, he is this draft’s purest goal scorer.
His speed and size allow him to be strong on the forecheck and get to the greasy areas in front of the net, but it’s his pro-level release and ability to find open spots in the offensive zone that are his forte.
In the mould of other top goal-scorers, Tippett watches where the puck carrier is and uses his offensive IQ to find open space and a passing lane to receive a puck, and release. His shot is hard and accurate, often times finding top corners or squeezing through the opposing goalie.
As a right-handed winger, Tippett prefers to do his work along the left boards. He shows the ability to put the puck on goal from all angles, in tight, and on the rush. This means the opposing defenders have to respect the young Steelhead wherever he is, ultimately allowing for more space for his teammates to get into open space.
All of these qualities suggest he should find scoring success at the NHL level which is why most services have him ranked in the top 10.
So why does he find himself ranked as low as 22 by Hockey Prospect and 23 on Craig Button’s final draft rankings?
The word selfish doesn’t sound right when describing Tippett. Instead, you can describe him as a player who knows what he is good at and masters that craft. He could be seen as one-dimensional, but that dimension is blanketed over his opponent’s half of the ice.
Another reason for the trepidation could be that his production slipped for the Steelheads in the playoffs. While still posting a respectable 10 goals and 19 points in 20 games, he did drop from first in team goals and points in the regular season to third in goals and fourth in points.
He has shown an ability to score on the international stage, potting three goals for Canada in the gold medal game at the Under-17s.
Tippett is a premier finisher. He uses great speed and vision to get to open lanes to unleash his explosive shot. Shows no fear of going to the net or driving through traffic. He gets a lot of credit for being a sniper but his skillset is multidimensional thanks to his ability to move the puck and utilize his breakneck speed to disrupt. Very driven and aggressive. A handful to contain.
Dynamic offensive player can beat a defender with his speed, skill, or size.
Hockey Prospect: 22
Future Considerations: 6
NHL Central Scouting: 7 (North American skaters)
Corey Pronman: 6
The Montreal Canadiens are in need of a high-skill, right-handed forward. a la David Pastrnak or Daniel Sprong. The Canadiens have a prospect cupboard filled with middle-six left-handed guys like Charles Hudon, Martin Reway, Nikita Scherbak, Artturi Lehkonen, etc., with only William Bitten as a similar right-handed option.
With many centre and defense prospects with similar ceilings likely to be chosen between the seventh and 30th pick in this draft, Tippett could be someone who falls due to his position and his lack of two-way play.
If Tippett does fall somewhere in the 16-21 range, Bergevin & Co. would be smart to trade up and grab the super-skilled sniper.