Mathew Barzal is an exceptional young hockey player. Size concerns and a significant injury have him lagging behind the top of the draft in terms of buzz, but don’t be fooled about him. Young Barzal is among the very best players available in this year’s draft.
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) March 10, 2015
— Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) March 18, 2015
Mathew Barzal’s scouting report on himself lists IQ and skating as extreme positives and that sounds about right.
Mike Morreale, NHL.com: A fantastic east-to-west skater with the ability to create time and
space for linemates. The top center for the Thunderbirds has great
vision and puck skills. He’s an outstanding playmaker, as evidenced by
his 45 assists and 57 points in 44 games. Source.
Chris Battaglia, The Score:Mathew Barzal’s draft stock was jeopardized by a serious knee injury
that sidelined him for more than two months, but he’s making up for lost
time following a stellar month of February. Barzal cracked his
kneecap in an off-ice incident in November and didn’t return until late
January. He went scoreless in his first four games back for the Seattle
Thunderbirds but was held off the scoresheet in just two of the next 16
contests. Barzal recorded 21 points in 12 February games and is
once again considered a top prospect at center alongside projected
top-10 picks like Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome. Source
Corey Pronman, ESPN: Barzal might not be familiar in the mainstream, due to a knee injury
that has kept him out of several major events. But in the scouting
world, everyone knows this player very well and nothing has changed
despite the injury. He’s been a top-end prospect for many years, and
continues to be one, playing very well since coming back from his
Cody Nickolet, WHL From Above: While he missed a significant chunk of time due to a broken
kneecap, he has since returned and has looked quite good in doing so. He is an
intriguing combination of hands, skating ability and vision. He reads the play
at a very high level, can execute tough plays on the forehand and backhand and
also has the ability to burn a defence with speed if gaps aren’t kept up to
snuff. While his numbers weren’t amazing
pre-injury and haven’t been mind-blowing post-injury (5 points in 6 games) I
haven’t seen enough from any one particular WHL skater to dethrone him
(Provorov is coming on strong, though). I continue to expect him to be drafted
somewhere in the 8-12 range come draft day. Source
WHERE WILL HE GO?
Barzal’s draft number will be impacted by his injury, the question is how much? He could help himself a great deal with a strong playoff (Barzal scored twice in the first game) showing and that could propel him near the top five overall. It’s likely Barzal hears his name called inside the top 10.