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 2020 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 look at Luke Tuch.
The younger brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward, and former 1st round draft pick, Alex Tuch, Luke Tuch is making his own with the US National Team Development Program. He scored 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points in 47 games this season. Last season the Baldwinsville, New York native put up 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points in 48 games played for the U-17 squad. He also added 83 penalty minutes. Tuch showed more discipline in his game this season, wracking up just 30 penalty minutes. He also represented the US at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Tuch put up one goal in the five-game tournament.
Tuch is committed to playing hockey for the Boston University Terriers next season, an interesting development considering that his brother attended rival Boston College. Should Tuch change his mind and opt to go the CHL route, his rights are owned by the Windsor Spitfires who drafted him in the 13th round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft. When he was younger, Tuch played in the famous Quebec City Peewee Tournament with his Syracuse Nationals team.
Luke Tuch Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 7th, 2002 — Baldwinsville, New York
Height 6’2″ — Weight 203 lbs [188 cm/92 kg]
Tuch is 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds. He has the size and skill necessary to be a power forward and is still growing. His skating stride is a little unconventional and awkward, but it doesn’t hold him back as he generates decent speed and has a good first step and adequate acceleration. He’s not a speedster but he can keep up with the play.
Tuch also has good balance and is strong on the puck. Tuch wins a ton of puck battles using that good balance, and leverage, along with his size. He will need to continue to add weight to his frame as he moves up to the NCAA and eventually the pros. He also uses his balance to fight through checks and get to the dirty areas of the ice in order to put up points. Tuch has good agility for a man his size and can slip through openings when he sees them.
Tuch uses his size and strength to establish his position in front of the net or to win board battles. He also is an effective forechecker and will use his body to get the puck. Tuch plays a more physical game than his brother and is a threat to hammer a defenceman if they take to long to move the puck. He is also good at controlling the puck in the cycle game and at driving the net when an opening appears. If an opening doesn’t appear, he drives the net bowling right over the man defending him.
Tuch has soft hands to tip in pucks, pounce on rebounds, and score from in tight when driving the net. He also has a very hard wrist shot and a very good release. Tuch adds to that powerful wrister, with a cannon of a slap shot which he can unleash in one-timers. He is able to control the puck in the cycle game and make smart passes to teammates leading to the majority of his assists. His hockey sense is very good, as Tuch seems to almost always make the smart play with the puck, and he is able to find openings in the defence without it.
Tuch shows good defensive instincts. His hockey IQ is very apparent as he anticipates plays well leading to turnovers and starting the transition game. He is hard on the backcheck and supports the defence down low. Tuch wins battles along the boards in all three zones. His hard-nosed and gritty style helps in his own end of the ice. He is a very good all-around type of player. Tuch can be used on the penalty kill.
Projection and Comparison
Some time in the NCAA, with the shorter schedule, will be good for Tuch. It will allow him time to continue to add muscle to his frame, getting ready to play his physical style in the NHL. If he develops well, he could become a top-six forward in the NHL but one would like to see him increase his offensive production in college. Even if Tuch doesn’t become a top-six player, with his size, skating, and defensive responsibility he still has a good chance of carving out an NHL career, making him a somewhat safe pick. Tuch’s game is reminiscent of his brother, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Luke Tuch that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Luke Tuch Main Photo:
Luke Tuch has focused on carving his own path in hockey but has always had his brother to look up to.
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) April 15, 2020