Teams in the market for an effective two-way forward inside the top 10 of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft should take a long look at Trevor Zegras, another representative of the United States Development program.
The Bedford-born centre is not the heaviest dude in the class, running 6’0 and about 170 pounds or so, but he’s got playing ability and a high level of hockey IQ.
Zegras is a very mobile player, with or without the biscuit, and that makes him a threat in all zones. Whether he’s making crisp tape-to-tape passes or boxing out opponents using his anticipation and know-how, he’s command of the game is unquestionable.
Zegras fits well inside the top 10 on almost all scouting assessments, with the NHL’s Central Scouting holding him at a firm sixth place among North American skaters. That potentially puts him in line with the Detroit Red Wings, who’ll pick sixth overall on Friday and could be shopping for a new game-changing pivot.
The Red Wings could be one of many teams to find use in Zegras’ passing ability, especially when it comes to icing a new look on the power play. His hockey sense should position him somewhere on the half boards, where he can open up ice and make opportunities for his teammates.
There are issues with shooting the puck, as some scouting reports have him a touch on the reluctant side when it comes to making offensive moves. He is typically a past-first player, but that’s not to say he can’t turn up some goals. He had 26 last season with the U.S. National U18 squad.
Zegras is also quick, causing at least one analyst to liken him to Patrick Kane. And he did take over the top line in the development program after Alex Turcotte and Jack Hughes were promoted up a level, so that’s something to consider.
And he’s physical. Zegras is capable of laying the big hit and he doesn’t avoid scrums after the whistle, although there are no real reports of disciplinary issues. He can create separation and chances without becoming a liability, which again speaks to his hockey IQ.
The Boston University commit seems to tick off most of the boxes and his quickness and precision will push him up the draft order. He could challenge for a higher spot than sixth, but there’s no doubt he’ll go inside the top 10.
(Lead photo credit: Rena Laverty/USNTDP)