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 2017 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 profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.
A third round pick of the Guelph Storm in 2015, Nate Schnarr spent his first year of OHL eligibility playing Junior B hockey, only being called up late in the year for six games. He excelled for Waterloo Siskins. Schnarr won GOJHL Rookie of the Year as well as being named to the league’s First All-Star Team. He had 54 points in 46 games for Waterloo.
It was enough to get him a longer look this season. He showed that he has what it takes to be an impact player. Schnarr had a strong rookie year with Guelph. He put up 18 goals and 36 points in 54 games on a rebuilding Storm team, that missed the playoffs. The performance was enough to get the attention of Hockey Canada, who named Schnarr to their 2017 IIHF Under 18 World Championship Team. However, he would pick up just one assist in five games in the tournament. Schnarr was mainly used in a checking role though.
Nate Schnarr Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #79
Center — shoots Right
Born February 25th, 1999 — Waterloo, ONT
Height 6.03 — Weight 180 [191 cm/82 kg]
Schnarr’s skating is the one thing holding him back right now. He has a very wide stride that robs him of speed and acceleration. If he can work on tightening up his technique, it would go a long way to improving his game. Scharr also needs to work on his edge work and agility. He makes very wide turns, which also put him behind the play. One advantage of his wide stride though, is that it creates good balance and a sturdy base. Schnarr fights through checks and can drive the front of the net. He is also good in battling for space, whether that be in the corners or in front of the net.
Nate Schnarr can be a scorer, with a good array of shots. His wrist and snap shots are both powerful and accurate. He could stand to be a little quicker with his releases though. He also has a good one-timer. Schnarr’s game is straight forward, and straight ahead. While he isn’t overly creative with the puck on his stick, he creates offence through hard work and tenacity. Schnarr is the first one in on the forecheck, creating pressure on defencemen and causing turnovers. He also fights for loose pucks along the boards. He will need to get stronger to play this game at the pro level. Once he gets the puck, Schnarr has decent vision to make a play to the front of the net.
Schnarr drives the net both with and without the puck, looking for tip-ins, rebounds, or a pass from a teammate. He has decent hands in close, but could be even quicker.
Schnarr has a very well-developed defensive game. He back checks hard, and applies good back pressure. He also really works at supporting the defence down low and containing the opponents cycle game. Schnarr is not afraid to bring his gritty game to the defensive end. He battles for the puck and works hard along the boards. He is an important part of the Storm penalty kill unit, despite being a rookie. Schnarr uses an active stick to disrupt passing lanes as well as his body to block shots. He could stand to improve on his face-offs going forward.
Projection and Comparison
Nate Schnarr’s upside is likely a second line, two-way centre. However, it is more realistic to think that he will be a third line player. He will need to work on improving his skating in the coming years, but he has the type of hockey IQ, defensive responsibility, and work ethic that will take him a long way. Schnarr’s game is reminiscent of David Backes, but this is a style comparison only and not a talent based one.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.