Every year, the NHL sees their fair share of draft re-entry players. These are guys that went one or even two consecutive seasons without getting drafted. This year’s draft features plenty of guys re-entering, and a few of them are quite intriguing. Here at Last Word on Hockey, we will take you through several intriguing names of players who are re-entering the draft in 2020!
2020 NHL Draft Re-Entry Players
NHL Draft Re-Entry Player: Tag Bertuzzi
The cousin of Detroit Red Wing forward Tyler Bertuzzi and son of Todd Bertuzzi (1,159 games played), Tag Bertuzzi is looking to make a name for himself. Last season, he was ranked 210th by Future Considerations. In 2020, he’s unranked, again looking to go undrafted. He posted 9 points in 30 games between the Hamilton Bulldogs and Guelph Storm last season. He followed that season up with 25 goals and 47 points in 57 games with Guelph this season.
Injuries have plagued Bertuzzi ever since he was selected 2nd overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft by the Guelph Storm. There’s also a clear lack of engagement on his part on the ice. More often than not, he avoids getting involved in board battles. He sticks to the perimeter and turns away scoring opportunities. It’s a shame, but he still has that upside if a team can unlock the mental aspect of his game. Ahead of his 2018-19 draft year season, he was listed as a top-10 OHL prospect by EliteProspects. There was excitement heading into the season, as his power-forward, hard-nosed style was highly anticipated. He also had a lethal shot and strong vision to pair with it.
Unfortunately, injuries changed how he attacked the game, and he seemingly doesn’t want to get involved physically. Maybe he can turn it around with the Bulldogs next season, but the time is ticking for Bertuzzi. If an NHL team takes a chance on him late, they must hope he can unlock what was once a bright future.
NHL Draft Re-Entry Player: Gage Goncalves
Gage Goncalves is the ultimate underdog story. He was a complete unknown in the 2019 Draft, going completely unranked everywhere you look. Posting just 1 goal and 15 points in 67 games in his draft year with the Everett Silvertips can do that to you. But he rapidly turned it around. In his second full WHL season, Goncalves, who elected to re-enter the draft in 2020, posted 33 goals and 38 assists for 71 points in 68 games. He went from being completely unranked to being placed at 74th by Elite Prospects.
The opposite of Bertuzzi, Goncalves’ game revolves around a high-end work ethic. Every shift, it’s clear he puts in 100% effort. He’s effective in the defensive zone, using his high-end IQ to make plays and force turnovers. In the offensive zone, he attacks the front of the net. The problem is, he isn’t a threat anywhere else. Sure, he has nifty hands and can be extremely flashy at times. However, his current offensive playstyle will not transition well to the NHL or even the AHL level. He needs to work on his perimeter play next season and take big strides in doing so. His skating also isn’t wonderful, despite being on the slightly smaller side (6’1”, 170 pounds).
However, players like Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli also had issues in their game, Point being his average-at-best skating and Cirelli with his lack of offensive upside. If Goncalves can find a strong development team at the NHL level who can turn his skating into an elite level, like with Point, while building his surrounding skills to match his IQ, like Cirelli, he could wind up being a massive steal.
Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, you should read part one on Pavel Gogolev and Yevgeni Oksentyuk. The next 2020 NHL Draft re-entry players piece will be on Oliver Okuliar and Alex Cotton.
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