The 2011 draft is a little more than a month away, and we all know that Gordie Clark, Glen Sather, and the collection of Rangers scouts are holding many meetings to discuss potential players on their draft boards. The Rangers have the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft, and while most of the prospects on people’s lists will be gone (Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, Courturier, etc), there are a good amount of prospects that would help the Rangers in the long run. Today we look at #16 in the ISS Top-30, Tyler Biggs of US U-18 National Team.
The first thing you notice about Biggs is his physique. Standing at 6’2″ and 200 lbs, Biggs has an NHL size body, and wasn’t afraid to show it off at the NHL Combine. Throughout the day, Biggs showed that he would definitely be able to handle the physical toll the NHL takes on a player. He was one of the prospects that really stood out physically at the Combine.
When looking at Biggs’ numbers this season with the U-18 team, they are a bit disappointing. Finishing with just 11 points (seven goals) in 20 games, Biggs did not meet expectations from many scouts, even if those expectations were a bit unfair. When he is playing well, Biggs uses his size to his advantage, and showcases his powerful skating ability by just clearing a path wherever he goes. Luckily for his teammates, he tends to go right for the net, making him a prototypical power forward. He is a great “grinder”, and uses his body to shield the puck while cycling before crashing the net. The kid is a great on-ice leader, and leads his teammates by example.
What worries scouts, aside from his production, is his hockey IQ and his creativity. To be a successful top-six forward in the NHL, a player needs to be strong in both areas, even if his job may be to just get in front of the net. He also is not the swiftest of skaters (even if he is a beast), and doesn’t have the best of hands. Despite all this, Biggs was still ranked the #5 prospect by Central Scouting in their mid-term report. That may have helped kill his reputation, as the production didn’t match the ranking.
Biggs is a good hockey player at his current level, but is definitely a project pick. The prototypical power forward, Biggs is definitely a guy that will need to rely on his size and strength in the NHL, as compensation for weaker hands and skating ability. Opinions differ on Biggs, some have him him, some have him off their boards completely. Biggs will still likely be a first round pick, but it’s a matter of if he materializes into a top-six forward.