Player: Alex Tuch
Drafted By: Minnesota Wild's (18th overall)
Position: Right Wing/Center
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 12 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'3", 218 lbs
DOB: May 10, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: USHL, U.S. National Under-18 Team
Alex Tuch is a rare prospect who combines excellent skills with overpowering size. He had a sensational season with the U.S. National Under-18 team, scoring 29 goals and 35 assists in 61 games, while accumulating 70 penalty minutes. Tuch improved dramatically during the season, and he was able to improve his ranking from 21st (at midseason) to 12th (current).
Full Scouting Report
There is a certain power and excitement to Tuch's game that few other players will be able to match. With his size, strength and reach, Tuch is able to protect and control the puck, and that gives him the ability to make plays consistently in the offensive zone.
Tuch plays the game with excellent instincts. He seems to know exactly what the defense is thinking, and he is able to make plays that put himself and his teammates in a position to mount scoring threats on a regular basis.
Tuch is a good skater, but that is not the strongest part of his game. That's what he is going to have to work on in the next year or two if he is going to make the jump to the NHL.
NHL Central Scouting's Greg Rajanen has been impressed with Tuch's size and presence. "He's a big body and that's something you can't teach," Rajanen said. "He's got some grit to his game, is good around the net and physical.”
NHL Player Comparison
The big power forward has the ability to make plays and support his linemates if they ever get in trouble. His game is somewhat reminiscent of Carolina's Jordan Staal.
Tuch is preparing to play college hockey next season with NCAA powerhouse Boston College. That kind of competitive environment will be good for Tuch's consistency and development. If his skating improves, look for Tuch to play NHL hockey by the start of the 2016-17 season.
Tuch has all the skills needed to become a top-end player. He just needs time to refine his skills and improve his skating. If he works hard and remains patient, there's no reason he can't be at least a second-line right wing or center, and perhaps even more than that. However, it's not going to come easy for Tuch, and he has much work to do to fulfill his impressive talent.