Sam Steel Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #30

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The 2nd overall pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Sam Steel put up a solid season for the Regina Pats with 23 goals and 47 assists for 70 points in 72 games. He was even better in the WHL playoffs with six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 12 games. Unfortunately his Pats fell victim to the Red Deer Rebels in a tight seven game series in the second round. Steel also has international experience, playing for Team Canada Black at the 2015 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, and scoring three points in four games for the Canadian team that won gold at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka tournament. He also appeared at the CHL Top Prospects game, playing for Team Cherry. Steel’s leadership ability has impressed the Pats coaching staff who named him an alternate captain. He was also an alternate captain at the U17s.

Sam Steel Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #30

Center — shoots Left
Born Feb 3 1998 — Sherwood Park, ALTA
Height 5’11” — Weight 175 lbs [180 cm/79 kg]

Sam Steel is an outstanding skater with strong speed and great acceleration. He is smooth on his skates and also shows outstanding edge work and agility. Once he gets a step on a defender, he’s gone. Steel takes advantage of this on the rush where he can take defenders wide and cut to the front of the net. He can also make a quick cut and take the inside route to get there. Steel has a powerful stride, with good balance and the ability to fight through checks. It could even improve with a little more leg strength as he matures.

Steel has outstanding stick-handling ability and very soft hands. He combines this with the skating to weave through traffic and create plays off the rush. Sam Steel also has a good wrist shot and a quick release, allowing him to use defenders as a screen and fire it on net if they back off too much. Add in excellent vision and passing skills and Steel excels as a play maker. In fact his play making ability is probably the biggest strength in his game right now. Steel has outstanding hockey IQ, and thinks the game a step ahead of others. He seems to always make the smart play with the puck on his stick.  Steel is also a very hard worker, who constantly keeps his feet moving and is involved in every aspect of the play. He is strong on the forecheck, and uses his good puck protection skills to make plays down low on the cycle game. He has a bit of peskiness to go along with that high end skill and always seems to be in the middle of the after the whistle scrums.

Sam Steel has shown the willingness to compete on the backcheck. He is good in the face-off circle, and works hard to apply back pressure to support his defence when defending against the rush. Steel is willing to work to contain opponents down low, but sometimes struggles with bigger forwards. He could stand to add some upper body strength to be better in containment against a strong cycle game.

Sam Steel could be a top six centre if he can improve his strength, and continue to work to develop his game. He has the tools necessary to be able to contribute at both ends of the ice. The issue with Steel is that some games he can be the best player on the ice, and in others he seems to disappear. He really needs to work on putting in a consistent effort on a game in and game out basis. This will be the difference between him being and legitimate NHL player or not. In terms of style, Steel is comparable to Nick Bonino. However this is a style comparison only, and not one based on skill.

The following is a compilation of Sam Steel highlights, taken from youtube.

Check back tomorrow for the #31 prospect on our NHL Draft board.

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