The risk of drafting from powerhouse junior teams is the risk of picking a passenger over a driver. This debate has mostly been focused on potential Flames first rounder Matthew Tkachuk, the London Knight who was placed with Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak on the CHL’s highest scoring line. It hasn’t seemed to affected his draft position, as it has Taylor Raddysh.
The Erie Otter has been tasked first line duties alongside OHL superstars Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, and has presumably fallen because he is the least productive of all three. However, that may not be the case. Digging into the data, there’s a good case that Raddysh is an under-appreciated play driver, and a possible contender for one of the Flames’ second round picks.
Raddysh is just a really hard working complimentary offensive player who
has excelled doing the “dirty work” for a guy like Dylan Strome. He has
great size at 6’2/200lbs and uses that to drive the net, win battles in
the corners, and open up space for his linemates. Raddysh just has that
knack for finding open space in the offensive zone, which points to him
having terrific hockey sense. I particularly love his vision coming off
the wall. Creates a lot of scoring chances by making great passes after
gaining/maintaining possession along the boards (similar to a guy like
Matthew Tkachuk). His overall puck skill and skill set is not flashy,
but he does whatever is needed on a scoring line and that’s why he’s a
valuable player and could make a valuable pro. If he can really improve
his skating (particularly power), he could be more of a driving force on
Bullish winger who goes to the battle areas. A playmaking winger with an
accurate release and heavy shot. Smart and positionally sound, he has a
bit of edge and decent puck skills. Displays good vision and patience in
his carries. Holds until the right moment, whether it be a carry off
the wall and a quick pass, or as he sees linemates getting open. Has
decent balance and movement but needs to build his acceleration and
At 6’2” and 200 pounds, Raddysh has good size and is an above average
skater. He has an elusiveness where he can slip away from coverage
unnoticed and putting himself in prime scoring areas. He can play a 200
foot game, come back hard on the back check and rarely misses his
defensive responsibilities in his own zone. He’s also an effective
forechecker, able to dump and chase using smarts to put the puck in
where he can retrieve it and use his skating to get on top of defensemen
and deliver a hard and sometimes punishing hit.
By these descriptions, it’s probably fair to call Raddysh a prototypical power forward. While he doesn’t sound like a guy who can get it done all on his own, he can provide immense value in a complimentary role.
Raddysh’s numbers may seem low for a CHL player whose linemates are Strome and DeBrincat, but his strengths are hidden in the details. Raddysh finished the year with 44 even strength primary points, fifth among all 2016 draft eligible CHLers. Relative to DeBrincat and Strome, he finished 38 and 48 points behind them in all scoring, but only seven and nine points behind in ESPP (respectively). He certainly isn’t a passenger by any means.
He can also keep up with them in terms of shots. Raddysh racked up 226 shots on the year, not far behind Strome’s 229 but a bit far from DeBrincat’s 269. Although the counting numbers don’t look very nice, Raddysh is certainly no offensive slouch. Perhaps if he shot 16.2% and 19.7% like Strome and Debrincat, Raddysh would be talked about like a mid-first rounder.
Looking at shot-plot and goal-plot data from Prospect-Stats confirms what scouts were saying about his ability to drive to the net, get off high-danger shots, and be a threat inside the slot:
Fit with the Flames
With Emile Poirier having a downer of a season, Daniel Pribyl an untested commodity, and Hunter Smith being Hunter Smith, the Flames’ right wing corps could probably use some rejuvenation. And what do you know, Taylor Raddysh is a right winger. Huh.
Raddysh projects to be a middle six type of guy who will probably be a few years down the line from regular appearances in the Flames’ lineup. Not a project player by any means, but someone who will still take a few years. His body of work this year leaves little doubt about his future NHL success.
The question about Raddysh is moreso where he will be drafted. Some think he is a stretch in the early second round. This is agreeable, seeing as slightly more attractive prospects like DeBrincat, Adam Mascherin, Will Bitten, et al. could be available there. However, most agree that he will not escape past the middle of the round. If the Flames find themselves without the big names at #35, then Raddysh it is. Otherwise, they might have to hope (or trade up).
Previous draft targets: Alexander Nylander | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Matthew Tkachuk | Jakob Chychrun | Olli Juolevi | Clayton Keller | Alex DeBrincat | Sam Steel | Vitalii Abramov | Jake Bean | Tyson Jost | Mikhail Sergachev | Tyler Benson | Griffin Luce | Logan Brown | Samuel Girard | Will Bitten | Cliff Pu