Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2013 Draft Articles Click here.
Edit: Drafted 135th Overall by the Calgary Flames.
Eric Roy has come a long way to be a prospect for this year’s NHL draft. Hailing from the small remote community of Beauval, Saskatchewan, Roy is the first Beauval native to make the WHL. Now he hopes to become the first Beauval native to reach the NHL. At the age of 14, Roy was forced to leave his Beauval home, and move in with his grandmother in Prince Albert in order to play in a better league against better competition in the hopes of furthering his hockey career. Now Roy sits on the precipice of being drafted into pro hockey.
Roy like his teammate Ryan Pulock saw his point total drop in 2012-13 vs 2011-12. While this might alarm some when it comes to draft prospects, there is a very simple explanation. The Brandon Wheat Kings of 2011-12 had a very strong forward group, the 2012-13 edition did not. It was very much a rebuilding year in Brandon and Pulock’s 45 points tied for the team lead in scoring, while Roy’s 37 finished third on the team. The contributions on offence can not be overlooked as they were often driving the bus when it came to the Wheat Kings offence, even if they had to drive from a back seat.
Born Oct 24 1994 — Beauval, SASK
Height 6.03 — Weight 180 — Shoots Left
Roy has a tremendous point shot. Between him and Pulock, the Brandon powerplay was often focused on getting the puck back to the point where they could fire their rockets. Roy also has a nice wrist shot that is able to utilize when teams try to take the big slapper away. It is also strong and accurate and features a quick release. In fact with so little offensive production coming from the forwards, this was often Brandon’s only powerplay weapon, and teams tried very hard to take the high shots away. Despite that Roy was still able to notch 17 goals this season, and impressive number for a blue liner. Roy’s puckhandling is very good and he is able to use his stick skills to set up in the offensive zone, or to make a quick move in the defensive zone to avoid a forechecker. His passing is generally good, but he can become a bit nonchalant at times which leads to a bad giveaways.
Roy has very good top end speed, generated by a long and powerful stride. However given that long stride he can sometimes have some issues with acceleration which is merely average. If he can quicken up his early steps he can get to top speed quicker. Roy does so good mobility and is especially adept at walking the line to open up passing and shooting lanes. He has good agility, pivots and edgework. Roy has decent balance but could add lower body strength in order to be stronger on his skates and win even more puck battles in front of the net and in the corners.
Consistency, or lack thereof, is the name of the game when it comes to Roy’s defensive game. He simply must find a way to maintain his intensity level in his own end of the rink game-to-game, and sometimes even shift-to-shift. There are times where he looks like a big, mean, and physical blueliner. Where he throws big hits and plays strong defence clearing the crease and battling hard in the corners. There are other times when he seems to lose focus, his defensive positioning is off, his compete level is down and big strong, forwards seem to push him around. Adding more muscle may help alleviate a big part of the problem, but Roy must also maintain intensity to get past this.
In terms of style, Roy is reminiscent of Sheldon Souray. However this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on potential. In terms of potential, Roy could become an effective two way, top 4 defenceman, who can also be a strong powerplay weapon. He is very much a boom or bust type of pick. He has a ton of tools, but also has some areas that really need improvement.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
Thanks for reading, as always feel free to leave comments below and follow me on twitter @lastwordBKerr. Give the rest of the hockey department a follow while you’re at it – @BigMick99, @IswearGAA, and @LastWordOnNHL, and follow the site @lastwordonsport.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? If so, check out our “Join Our Team” page to find out how.