NHL Draft Prospect Profile #37: Tanner Pearson

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Drafted 30th Overall by the Los Angeles Kings.

They say that the third time is the charm and for late blooming prospect Tanner Pearson, he certainly hopes the old adage holds true.  Pearson was passed over in all 7 rounds of both the 2010 and 2011 NHL drafts.  However given his great improvement this season, we highly doubt that Pearson will be on the outside looking in again.

After a good rookie season in 2010-11, Pearson was obviously disappointed to not be picked last year.  He showed great dedication in the offseason and came back to the Barrie Colts of the OHL and put together a season that made him impossible to ignore for a third time.  Pearson burst out of the gate and was selected as a member of Team Canada’s entry in the World Junior Championships, joining Ryan Murray as the only draft eligible players to make the team.  Pearson would carry this momentum back to the OHL where he remained among the league leaders in points all season.  Unfortunately a broken ankle in the last week of the regular season would end Pearson’s season prematurely and keep him out of the OHL playoffs.

Left Wing
Born Aug 10 1992 — Kitchener, ONT
Height 6.00 — Weight 192 — Shoots L
2010-11 Barrie Colts OHL 66 15 27 42 35 -12
2011-12 Barrie Colts OHL 60 37 54 91 37 21

The greatest improvement in Pearson’s game this year is in his skating.  In 2011 his poor technique, and slow skating was the biggest knock on him, and probably was the biggest reason why he went undrafted.  Pearson worked hard all summer on improving this aspect of his game.  His stride is still choppy and unorthodox, however Pearson has greatly improved his speed.  He’s not a speed demon, but he’s now above average.

The strength of Pearson’s offensive game is as a playmaker.  Pearson has excellent vision and is a great passer.  He has excellent hockey sense, and he’s able to create both off the rush, and by setting up in the offensive zone.  Pearson has good size and stickhandling uses these effectively to protect the puck and is an effective player down low on the cycle game.  As a goal scorer Pearson has a hard wrist shot, but could work to have a more effective release.  His best goal scoring attribute is his soft hands, he’s able to convert goals in tight with slick moves, and with quick reactions leading to tip in and rebound goals.  The hard work and dedication to improve that Pearson put into his game has certainly paid off, and is evident in his improved offensive totals this season.

Pearson is a decent defensive player as well.  He works hard in his own end of the rink and has become an effective penalty killer.  Pearson has good positioning and is able to use his size to keep opponents to the outside.  He’s a hard working dedicated player and is willing to do whatever his coaches ask.  He’s a willing shot blocker.

A big advantage of Pearson is that due to his advanced age he could be NHL ready a lot faster than some of the other prospects picked around him.  If he can continue to work on his game, Pearson can be an effective top 6 contributor at the NHL level.  We’d compare his NHL potential to be a player similar to David Perron of the St. Louis Blues.

… and thats the Last Word.