Down the list, we go as we evaluate the potentials at #3 for the Blackhawks. Today, we're looking at Trevor Zegras.
I'm going to leave this one to the experts, as I don't as much insight into Zegras than other prospects which I've followed a lot closer.
I do know that Craig Button of TSN is a fan; he had rave reviews on the Hawks Talk podcast when Pat Boyle interviewed him:
Pat Boyle: "Between these 3 centremen who would you take if you're the Blackhawks at number three?"
Craig Button: "I would take Trevor Zegras. You didn't even mention him. Zegras reminds me so much of Elias Pettersson."
Button has Zegras ranked 8th in his latest mock ahead of fellow American Alex Turcotte.
Let's take a deep dive into the one they call Trevor Zegras; here's a quick snapshot:
Player Profile (Courtesy: Elite Prospects)
And here are some highlights (so you can see on-ice skills):
(Courtesy: Hockey Prospects Center)
And here is an interview (so you can get to know the player off-ice):
(Courtesy: USA Hockey National Team Development Program)
You get the bonus Case McCarthy (projected 104th overall by DraftSite.com) coverage.
Based on Zegras' opening line, he is a Patrick Kane fan, so that will go over Mark Kelly and Stan Bowman in the interview process.
We know where Craig Button has Zegras in his rankings, but what do Wiz and others think?
* 6th by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
* 21st by EliteProspects.com
* 7th by DraftSite.com
EliteProspects doesn't think much of Zegras apparently but their ranking of 21st overall appears to be a bit of an outlier. Most reports have the American centre between the 5-10 spot.
Here's a nice breakdown by Wiz on Draftsite.com:
"Creative centre who plays an aggressive style at a high skill level with a nice shot release. Was asked to shoulder the top line centre position with the Hughes injury. He already has seen time on left wing on the top line. Possessed top end awareness and vision and has to be also regarded as one of the elite passers in the class, and his anticipation in setting offensive looks is a thing of beauty. In spite of the depth at the centre position, don't be surprised if his name is called earlier than the mocks rank him. He displays many of the same type characteristics that Elias Pettersson, being able to slip in to receive and pass the puck to the open man with true quickness and accuracy. Committed to Boston University." (Bill Placzek, DraftSite.com)
As Wiz notes above, Zegras is committed to a great program at Boston University next year. This will not deter any teams from taking him as most teams view the draft like the Hawks – you take the best player available (BPA) with the highest ceiling.
You're not drafting a player whether you think they can step into the lineup next year. You draft a player – as Mark Kelley states – who is going to be the BPA 3-4 years from now. You have to have that forward-looking approach.
With that being said, Zegras could very well be a steal even at 8th overall. Especially is Wiz and Button are comparing his skill set to rookie phenom Elias Pettersson.
At 6'0 / 168 lbs, Zegras will have room to add some muscle to his frame during his time at Boston College. Along with the Pettersson comparable, his elusiveness and overall game (based on highlights I've been watching) also reminds me of Mathew Barzal.
Where he tops out? Who knows? However, I would take either player on the Hawks tomorrow.
Would I be shocked if the Blackhawks selected Trevor Zegras 3rd overall? No. However, he's not my pick in that spot.
As noted in previous draft preview blogs, I will have my final rankings at the end of this series closer to the draft. I will say though, Zegras ended up higher in my rankings than I thought he would be.
Lastly, let's end with Wiz's take on why the Hawks could select the Patrick Kane lovin' American from Bedford, NY:
The Blackhawks select Trevor Zegras if… they are looking for an Elias Pettersson and are willing to wait until he develops and is able to fulfill his promise to be an NHL playmaker and scorer with high-end smarts and positioning. (Bill Placzek, DraftSite.com)