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2020 NHL Draft prospect profile: Justin Sourdif has first-round talent

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Creative and deceptive, Sourdif could be a steal on the second day of the draft, but his issues with consistency may give teams pause.

Vancouver Giants at Kelowna Rockets Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

Justin Sourdif is an extremely intriguing prospect outside of the first round in October’s NHL Draft. Initially noted as a hard worker with incredible talents to match, his 16-year-old season in the WHL had him tabbed as a can’t-miss first-rounder of the future. He took just a lateral step in this critical year, but at the same time retains so many of those talents that it’s hard to ignore his potential on draft day.

Birthplace: Surrey, British Columbia
Date of Birth: March 24, 2002
Shoots: Right
Position: Centre
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 173 lbs.
Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)

It’s difficult to project where Sourdif might end up at the professional level. He’s played both centre and right wing, and with his shooting talent he might be suited as a future winger. But if he has the aptitude to play centre, a team would be wise to guide him along that path given the added value of the position.

Sourdif has all the necessary tools in his kit to be a force on the ice every single night. He’s shown that in Vancouver before. Now after a stagnant season so to speak, he has to tap into the ability to be the player from the end of this past season, not the one who fumbled through much the season for the Giants.

Elite Prospects

Strengths

When looking at the player as a whole, the one thing that helped to establish him above his peers a few seasons ago was his near-relentless work ethic and motor on the ice. He isn’t the fastest or most fundamentally sound skater, but he never stopped moving when he was on for a shift, and that allowed him to create scoring chances regularly.

When it combines with his athletic talents, that engine allows him to make plays in confined spaces, freeing himself from opponents and working his way to open space. When he’s skating, his lower centre of gravity gives him the ability to fight through body contact and continue unabated. This attacking mindset and drive helps fuel his game.

Sourdif’s shooting ability is outstanding. Not only is his shot heavy, it’s quick and highly deceptive, allowing him to become a danger from all over the offensive zone. He’s capable of creating chances on his forehand or backhand; a full toolkit to befuddle goalies.

Weaknesses

Despite all his talents, he struggled to put them all together this past year like he did in his initial WHL season. The tools were still there, but he didn’t seem to engage them like he did in his rookie year. Through the first half of the season he looked nothing like the player he was before.

He flipped the proverbial switch in February, piling up 17 points in 11 games. Tapping into that level consistently is what Sourdif needs to reach his ceiling Without the motor driving him on the ice. his skill goes to waste more often than not.

As with many prospects, there are some mental lapses in his game, he sometimes forces passes by trying to make a quick play rather than fully assessing the situation and making the smart feed. There is also a habit of throwing blind passes to try to make things happen, often resulting in a turnover. While it’s great to see a player trying high-end moves, it’s a negative if it leads to the other team gathering up the puck.

Rankings

Elite Prospects: #52
Future Considerations: #61
Hockey Prospect: #44
McKeen’s Hockey: #60
McKenzie/TSN: #48
NHL Central Scouting: #23 (North American Skaters)

Discussion

There is a lot to unpack with Justin Sourdif on draft day in October. He clearly possesses an incredible skillset that makes him a threat every single time he steps onto the ice. On the other hand, his drive was also missing for a huge chunk of his draft year, leading to minimal growth.

With a general consensus of being a second- to third-round pick, he could come across the Montreal Canadiens’ draft board on multiple occasions. Looking at his ability to play a non-stop game when he’s fully engaged might remind many Habs fans and the front office of another former Vancouver Giant on the roster, Brendan Gallagher. Sourdif has a long way to go to hit the same offensive numbers and tenacity, but at least in flashes he’s shown similar ability.

If the Canadiens do opt to draft him, and he matures to level to show his top form night in, night out, they’re likely walking away with a potential steal of the draft. No matter what, there’s a huge amount of potential in Sourdif that should have Montreal’s staff looking at him closely.