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This year’s version of the US National Team Development Program Under-18 squad is loaded. This is especially true at the centre position. Trevor Zegras becomes the third NTDP centre in our draft rankings. Zegras finished last season as the top centre on the Under-17 team after Hughes and Turcotte joined the U18 squad. With the injury to Alex Turcotte, he spent most of the early season playing on the NTDP second line. When Turcotte returned, he often played left wing on the first or second line. Overall, he scored 26 goals and 78 points in 54 games. Zegras also plays a gritty game, adding in 92 penalty minutes.
Zegras and the NTDP are in final preparations for the IIHF Under 18 World Championships. Last year he put up two goals and six points in six games at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, helping the American squad to the gold medal. Zegras is committed to attend Boston University next season. If he changes his mind, his CHL rights are owned by the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads.
Trevor Zegras Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born March 20th, 2001 — Bedford, New York
Height 6’0″ — Weight 168 lbs [183 cm / 76 kg]
Zegras is a very good skater. His speed is very good. However, it is his first step quickness and acceleration that set him apart. He can use his ability to change speeds to elude defenders and beat them in one-on-one situations. Once he gets a step on a defender he can accelerate to the net. His agility and edgework are elite. Zegras can change directions on a dime and make quick cuts. He has decent balance and can fight through checks at the junior level but needs to get stronger to be able to work down low at the pro level.
Zegras marries his skating ability with the ability to handle the puck and make plays at top speed. He has very good vision and passing skill, helping him to be a primary playmaker on his line. He also has a high hockey IQ and good vision. Zegras anticipates the movements of his teammates and opponents, allowing him to find the open man and create quality scoring chances. He can make tape-to-tape passes through tight areas as well as make a saucer pass to a teammate. Zegras is especially effective on the power play, where he can run the play off the half-boards.
While best known as a playmaker, he can score goals with soft hands in tight to the net. Zegras has good hand-eye coordination and can tip in shots and pounce on rebounds. His wrist shot has decent strength and is very accurate. He has a quick release and can fool goaltenders. Zegras could use some more muscle on his slap shot. Zegras plays a bit of a perimeter game in the offensive zone though. He could stand to get more involved in the dirty areas of the ice.
Zegras works hard in his own end of the ice. He backchecks hard and supports the defence down low. He uses his quickness and an active stick to create turnovers. Once the puck does change possession, he transitions quickly to offence. Zegras has good positioning and seems to always be on the right side of the puck. He is also good in the face-off circle. Zegras isn’t the biggest hitter but is willing to get involved in puck battles and board work in his own end. He also uses his smarts, positioning, and anticipation to be effective in his own end of the rink.
Projection and Comparison
Zegras has the potential to be an effective two-way forward in the NHL. He will need some time to develop though. Heading to the NCAA will give him the time to bulk up and get stronger before heading to the pro game. If a team is willing to be patient, they could end up with a very effective player. While he projects as a centre, he has spent time on the wing as well. Zegras’ game is reminiscent of Evgeny Kuznetsov. This is a stylistic comparison though, not one based on talent level.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Trevor Zegras that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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