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 2019 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. Today we focus on WHL forward Peyton Krebs.
The first overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Peyton Krebs spent most of his first season in the league playing left wing for the Kootenay Ice. However, he has converted to centre in his second year in the league. Last year, Krebs put up 54 points in 67 games and led all WHL rookies in scoring. This year he put up 19 goals and 68 points in 64 games for what was an undermanned Kootenay team. Krebs also provided leadership on the team, wearing the captain’s C. Next season, Krebs and the Ice will be moving to Winnipeg for their first season in a new market.
In the summer, Krebs put up five points in five games in helping Team Canada to a gold medal at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Last season, he put up one goal and six points in five games in helping Team Canada Red to a silver medal at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Krebs is currently getting ready to play with Canada at the IIHF Under 18 World Championships. His older brother, Dakota Krebs, is playing for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.
Update: A torn Achilles suffered during off-season training complicates Krebs draft stock.
Peyton Krebs Scouting Report
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 26th, 2001 — Okotoks, Alberta
Height 5’11” — Weight 181 lbs [180 cm/82 kg]
An outstanding skater, Krebs can create chances in transition due to his speed. He takes defenders wide and can cut to the net. Krebs gets up to that speed very quickly with an excellent first step and very good acceleration. His ability to change speeds can be used as a weapon to fool defenders. Once he gets a step on a defender he can blow past them. If they back off too far, he can slow down and take advantage of the space created. Krebs also has the ability to change direction on a dime making him difficult to contain one-on-one. His balance and strength are decent at the junior level, but he will need to get stronger before moving to the pro game. A low centre of gravity and wide stride is an advantage.
Peyton Krebs is best known for his playmaking ability. He can thread the puck through extremely tight spaces, as well as make strong saucer passes. He is also good at passing the puck on his backhand. His strong hockey sense allows him to read the play and anticipate the movements of teammates and opponents. Krebs has excellent vision and finds the open man. His stickhandling is very good and he can make moves at top speed. When you couple this with his skating, he can create passing lanes with quick movements.
If defenders back off to respect his speed, Krebs can take advantage of the added room by letting go a powerful and accurate wrist shot, with a quick release. He has the smarts to use the defenceman as a screen in these situations. Krebs could stand to add more power to his slap shot and one-timer.
Krebs works hard in the defensive zone, supporting his teammates down low and working to break up passing lanes. He uses his smarts in the defensive zone as well, cutting down passing lanes and anticipating plays. Krebs is especially effective on the penalty kill. He creates turnovers with an active stick and once one is created, he transitions this up the ice quickly. Krebs will need to add some muscle to his frame in the coming years in order to be better along the boards.
Projection and Comparison
Krebs has played both wing and centre at the junior level. With his skating ability, vision, playmaking and defensive ability, he projects well as a centre going to the pro level. The question will be about his strength. Can he add enough muscle to his frame to be able to be effective down low in both ends of the ice? In terms of player comparison, Krebs style is similar to Matthew Barzal, however this is a style comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Peyton Krebs that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Main Photo: KELOWNA, CANADA – DECEMBER 2: Peyton Krebs #19 of the Kootenay Ice skates against the Kelowna Rockets on December 2, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)