NHL Draft Prospect Profile #21: Slater Koekkoek
Drafted Number 10 Overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Our #21 rated prospect, Slater Koekkoek is a perfect example of the two big themes of this year’s draft class. Koekkoek is yet another impressive offensive defenceman prospect, and he’s yet another high end prospect who has suffered with the 2012 Draft Class Injury Curse. Before his injury Koekkoek was the clear leader on the Peterborough Petes defence, and it is obvious to all that the OHL club has greatly missed his services in the 2nd half of this season. While his shoulder injury certainly effects his ranking, we still have Koekkoek as a prospect rated in the first round due to his impressive skill set and physical package that every NHL team covets. Peterborough has long been known as a prospect factory producing more NHL drafted players than any other CHL team, and Koekkoek will continue the Petes tradition.
Born Feb 18 1994 — Mountain, ONT
Height 6.02 — Weight 183 — Shoots Left
Koekkoek is an effective offensive defenceman. His slapshot is hard and accurate, and Koekkoek understands the importance of keeping it low and on net. Koekkoek is also a very good passer, and his excellent vision helps him to quarterback the Petes powerplay. He is a good puck handler, and has shown the ability to join the rush, and smart decision making to do it at the right times. Skating wise, Koekkoek could use some work on his top end speed as it is merely average. However his agility, balance, and lateral mobility are very good and will serve him well going forward.
Defensively Koekkoek is a physical presence. He is a player who just loves to throw big body checks, and can strike fear into opponents coming down his side of the ice. Koekkoek is also a willing and able shot blocker. However, Koekkoek’s defensive game is far from a finished product. He requires more work on his defensive assignments, and on his positioning in the defensive zone. Koekkoek also needs to add muscle to his frame if he wants to be able to handle bigger forwards at the next level. He’s got good height and a good frame, however he does need to work in the weight room in order to properly fill out, as he is currently very slender.
Koekkoek suffered a season ending shoulder injury in November. It turns out that Koekkoek had a torn labrum which required surgery, and he did not play again. At this time Koekkoek is still rehabbing and it is unclear if he will be ready to do the physical testing at the NHL combine on June 1st and 2nd. A good showing could vault Koekkoek up the draft boards and he could certainly challenge guys like Codi Ceci, Olli Maatta, Matt Finn, and Derrick Pouliot, for a spot in the top 15. However, if his rehab is behind schedule and his shoulder is not ready. We could see him fall out of the first round.
While a lot will depend on Koekkoek’s recovery, and his progression once he does get back on the ice, we still feel Koekkoek has a very high ceiling. He might be a bit of a work in progress, but if he can reach his potential, and polish his game, we’d compare Koekkoek to Zach Bogosian of the Winnipeg Jets.
… and thats the Last Word.