23John Beecher
Photo Credit: Hickling Images/courtesy USHL

Flames 2019 First Round Targets: John Beecher

In recent years, one of the most reliable producers of high-end talent for the NHL Draft has been the U.S. National Development Program. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the National Development Program is a deep group this year. One of their more intriguing prospects is centre John Beecher.

Scouting report

Originally from Elmira, New York – the same town that produced Flames draft pick and current New York Rangers prospect Adam Fox – Beecher is a big, skilled left shot forward. He’s listed as 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, and he would provide some depth and big-game experience at a crucial position.

Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino had Beecher in his projected first round back in October and provided an assessment:

One of the more cerebral players in this draft class in that he’s not flashy and doesn’t dazzle you with any particular part of his game. However, with his size and ability to play a complete game, he almost always finds a way to contribute.

Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects praised Beecher’s two-way game:

A complete centre who prides himself on his 200-foot game. Strong skating and puck protection highlight his game. Doesn’t display a high-end offensive ceiling, but his projectable frame and responsible game will be useful at the next level.

Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports provided another rundown:

Beecher has the size, skating and defensive game to be an effective forward in the NHL. His offensive game shows flashes but questions remain. Will he produce more with more ice time and some opportunities on the power play? Is there untapped offensive potential there? The team that drafts him could have a real steal if they are willing to be patient.

The scouting consensus is that Beecher is a very reliable, responsible two-way player who simply hasn’t yet put up showy offensive numbers on a pretty stacked National Development Team.

The numbers

Breaking down Beecher’s production, he had 63 points in 100 games with the National Development Team split between their United States Hockey League play and games in other competitions. His numbers skew more towards puck distribution than shooting, as he has far more assists than goals. He also took a ton of penalties during the season.

From a production standpoint, Beecher was in a weird spot. He was the eighth or ninth-best skater offensively for his team this past season. He was behind Jack Hughes, Cole Caufield, Matthew Boldy, Trevor Zegras, Alex Turcotte, Cam York and Michael Gildon, and was about as productive as Patrick Moynihan and Domenick Fensore. The challenge there is that he was playing behind six stronger offensive forwards most of the time and therefore got less opportunity to make hay in offensive situations, but he also didn’t really do enough with the time he had to kick the proverbial door down and grab hold of more ice time.

He was a productive player for the National Development Team, but he was a sizable notch offensively behind the top draft prospects on his team.

Availability and fit

Opinions on where Beecher fits within the first round group vary considerably. ISS has him outside the first round, Dobber Prospects has him 52nd, the Draft Analyst/Sporting News has him 28th, my rankings at The Hockey Writers have him 43rd, Sportsnet has him outside the first round, The Athletic has him 32nd and 98th, and The Hockey News has him 35th. If this sample is representative of NHL scouting departments, he would definitely be available in at 26th overall – and would probably be available later on, should the Flames think about trading down.

Beecher has a lot of attributes that the Flames would likely value. He’s big. He plays a smart two-way game. While he doesn’t have showy offensive numbers, scouts praise his fundamentals to the point where you can be reasonably convinced that his scoring stat line might explode if he was given the chance. He’s likely a project pick and he’s headed to the University of Michigan, so he’ll be given a chance to develop in the NCAA ranks. He’s arguably one of the less exciting players the Flames could select at 26th overall, but there’s definitely some value there.

2019 first round targets

Egor Afanasyev

  • freethe flames

    6’3″ 209 LHS ranked anywhere from 24th to 57; might be a great pick up if we had a 2nd rounder. I have always asked why the writers of these articles don’t start with some of the basic information.

  • Baalzamon

    Breaking down Beecher’s production, he had 63 points in 100 games with the National Development Team split between their United States Hockey League play and games in other competitions.

    This is incorrect. If you’re looking at Eliteprospects (and I would guess that you are) the USDP totals include the USHL totals. He had 43 points in 63 games.

    I discovered this quirk a couple years ago when I was calculating Clayton Keller’s % of team offense.

  • The GREAT WW

    3 quick trades to give us the grit to go deep in the playoffs next year;

    Brodie for Kadri
    Jankowski for Virtanen
    Frolik for Zucker

    Now we only need a starting goalie….


    • buts

      Monahan and Brodie for Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick. Jankowski and Stone for Shaw, Hanifin and Bennett for Kadri and Kapanen, move up Raz and Valimaki. MacElhenney which as a F/A who won’t cost a lot to mentor Rittich till Parson gets going.

    • Flameon13

      How about we look to trade Brodie, Stone, and Janko to Toronto for Kadri, Zaitsev and Brown. Zaitsev wants out of Toronto had a down year last year so trade a righty for a righty while Toronto saves 1 mill on stone. Brodie for Kadri gives Toronto less money spent in their third line and a top 4 defensemen that they would’ve had to sign anyway that can play the right side. Janko comes in and plays center on their third line and Brown comes back because he is a good pk guy to replace Janko in our line up but he can play right wing so play him on our second line next to Kadri and Chucky or play him on our third line next to Backs

  • Beer League Coach

    It sounds like he is more likely to be a late 2nd round pick than late 1st round. Maybe he will drop on draft day and Flames might have a chance to get him in 3rd round.

  • MDG1600

    Not sure what the point is in using a first round (or even a 2nd…) pick on players with limited offensive upside. They need to shoot for someone who has a chance at being a top 6 forward.

  • CowboyBob

    Two things I like in this write up, one, no issues with his skating, two, 200 foot player. One thing I noticed about Boston and St Louis, especially St Louis, the whole team are 200 foot players. How many do the Flames have. I counted 5 and couldn’t think of anymore.

  • Nick24

    Doesn’t make much sense to draft a guy who’s ceiling is a responsible bottom rotation forward. If he misses his potential, he washes out. Drafting higher potential forwards gives you more runway in case things don’t work out.

    It would make a lot more sense for the Flames to go with high potential players, and try to get value from entry level contracts. Nick Robertson is intriguing. Bobby Brink? How likely is it that Arthur Kaliyev falls? The Flames need to be prioritizing skill.

  • freethe flames

    Reading the last two prospects profiles I sure hope BT does not try and be the smartest guy in the room. However I hope he does manage to acquire a couple of 2nd round picks. The only way this happens is if he moves TJ and Frolik and possibly others. No one knows what each of these guys are worth but hopefully we get an idea soon.

    • Getpucksdeep

      These profiles are just that. Treliving, Conroy and others say they rate them using a system of tiers. Top 3, next 8, then it’ll be what evers left and 15 others. On so on and so on to the 7th round. They rate them within those tiers and take the best guy THEY have scouted. Those endless lists and rankings are pure speculation and after 2-3 players no two are the same. You know the Flames and every other NHL teams lists are different as well. Enjoy the profiles at least we’ll know something about some of these kids. I sure don’t have time to watch or follow a lot of Major Junior, NCAA and European leagues!

      • freethe flames

        The question about these tiers is interesting. The question if guys are on the same tiers then I wonder why they don’t pick for needs in later rounds.

  • freethe flames

    This next month will be interesting as we wait and see how BT and his staff reshape this team. Will he be able to add the required pieces to the puzzle w/o paying to high of a price. For sure he has to add a top 6 forward I personally think we could use two but I am willing to see if either Dube or Mangiapane can take a big step forward. They need to solidify the 1b position in net, This of course is after getting his own guys signed. The next week or so as we see the long shot draft pick prospects listed will be interesting and I am grateful for the information I am more interested in the group of guys who are likely ranked between (the shelf) 21-31 to see who the Flames might take. I would love to see BT add some more picks but all we can do is wait and see. Many of us will play amatuer GM and throw ideas out as that is part of the fun of being a fan.

  • Garry T

    You want picks.
    1 trade. Johnny to Jersey for the 1 st. Overall and their 1st. Pick in the second round. Trade positions with the Rangers for their 2nd. Overall. Plus
    Their 20th overall, or their first two picks in the 2nd. Round. Trade the 2nd overall to Denver for their 4th. and their first two picks in the 2nd round.
    Everyone seems to think Johnny is gone in two years. Do the move now
    And benefit.

    Brodie, Czarnik and Bennett to Toronto for Kadri, Kappanan and either Zatsev or Brown with Brown being the preference. You also ask Toronto for their 1st pick in the 2nd round for taking Zaitsev and Kadri off their hands in either 2019 or 20. Sell Stone to replace our 5th this year.
    Zaitsev is traceable as a singular player. I would move him to Edmonton for Puljujarvi to replace Bennett. Sign Dzingel for $3.5 for 5 years and your first line could be Puljujarvi Lindholm and Brown.
    3rd. Line Dube Backlund and Frolik
    4th. Line Mangiapane Ryan and Hathaway

    Draft Raphael Lavoisier, big fast scoring winger at 4. Sign Paulson, exactly the same type of player that can skate and score as well, plus both guys have 50 shades of mean in them. Time to stop drafting little guys.