Along with Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte is a product of the United States Development Program. That almost immediately makes heads turn, especially when you consider the buzz around this well-rounded two-way forward in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft class.
Ranked fourth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Turcotte is committed to the University of Wisconsin for 2019.
There’s a fairly wide projection window for Turcotte among many predictors, with him going anywhere from third overall to seventh.
The Colorado Avalanche have the fourth pick overall at Friday’s draft, having acquired the selection in a trade with the Ottawa Senators.
The general feel on Turcotte is that he’s a playmaking centre. He doesn’t have the sheer size of Kirby Dach, but he’s noted for a knowledgeable approach to the game that keeps him sharp and leads to clever choices on the ice.
Turcotte is 5’11 and he doesn’t hold that much weight, but it again all comes back to smarts. He knows how to use positioning and a forthright approach to preserve puck control. He’s a rapid accelerator with or without the puck and that speed keeps him well-organized and on-point. He’s not the sort to make a dumb play or take a bad call.
Injuries have been a factor, but Turcotte has a verified ability to bounce back and make the most of what he has. He produced 62 points in 37 games for the U.S. National U18 squad in 2018-2019.
Turcotte is generally seen as a pass-first player, but his 27 goals this season do suggest a nose for the net. He’s not the type to elicit embellishments of offensive exhilaration, mind you, but he’s a smart worker who gets the job done. For most teams in today’s NHL, having this sort of 200-foot player would be a pleasure.
If Turcotte is selected where expected in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he’ll become just the sixth Illinois-born player to go in the first round. That puts him in the company of luminaries like Eddie Olczyk and Lee Fogolin, Jr., who went 11th overall in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft.
Trivia aside, there’s a lot to like about Turcotte. He averaged 1.68 points per game with the USDP and will give an immediate boost to the University of Wisconsin. You have to imagine he’ll give that same boost to whichever team selects him on Friday.
(Photo credit: NHL)