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 2022 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 bring you our Frank Nazar Scouting Report.
Nazar was another top forward from the US National Team Development Program this year. He mostly played centre, but also saw some time on right wing as well. In 56 games with the NTDP Under-18 squad, Nazar put up 28 goals and 42 assists for 70 points. He also played for the American entry at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. In six games, Nazar put up three goals and six assists for nine points. He helped the US team to a silver medal.
In 2020-21, Nazar was one of the top players on the Under-17 squad. He scored 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points in 45 games. He also played two games with the Under-18s, putting up two goals and an assist for three points. Nazar came up through the Detroit area junior leagues, playing for both the Honeybaked program and Little Caesars when he was younger. He went to the Quebec Pee Wee tournament in 2017 with Detroit Honeybaked.
Nazar is committed to playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines next season. Should he change his mind, his CHL rights are owned by the London Knights of the OHL.
Frank Nazar Scouting Report
Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born January 14th, 2004 — Mount Clemens, Michigan
Height 5’10” — Weight 175 lbs [178 cm / 79 kg]
An undersized forward, Nazar makes up for that with his dynamic skating ability. His first step and acceleration are both at an elite level. He gets to loose pucks quickly. He also is able to take a defender wide, drop his shoulder and cut to the front of the net. His ability to change speeds is a weapon that can be used to fool defenders off the rush. Nazar has a high-end top speed, he is amongst the fastest players in the class. His edgework and agility are also elite. Nazar can make a cut and change directions on a dime. This makes him extremely elusive and tough to defend both with and without the puck.
Going forward, Nazar will need to add muscle to his frame. There are times he can be overpowered and pushed off the puck by bigger defenders. As he gains weight, his low centre of gravity should give him the balance needed to fight through these checks as well as to win battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Nazar marries his strong skating with outstanding puck handling ability. This allows him to weave through the neutral zone, generating effective zone entries. He can also control the puck in the offensive zone, using quick changes in direction and slick hands to manipulate the defence and open up passing and shooting lanes. He can slow down the play or speed it up as necessary to create openings. Nazar is very creative and will try some plays with the puck on his stick that other forwards only dream of. His vision is also very good. Nazar reads the play extremely well and often makes the right pass with the puck. His passing skills are strong and he can thread the needle with a tape-to-tape pass through a tight lane.
Nazar can also play the role of a goal scorer. His speed and puckhandling skills allow him to drive the front of the net and finish in tight to goalies. He also has a good wrist shot. As defenders back off to respect his shot, he can use them as a screen and fire a shot on the net. With his quick hands, he can change the angle of his release just before letting the puck go, fooling goaltenders. Despite his size, Nazar is not afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the front of the net to make plays. He is also more than willing to battle bigger, stronger opponents for loose pucks on the boards. His speed is also an asset in getting in quickly on the forecheck and making plays.
Nazar is also good in his own end of the ice. There are some areas to work on of course, but his game is advanced for a 17-year-old. He works hard on the backcheck, supporting the defence with backpressure against the rush. He also supports the defence against the cycle. However, the issue is his size. Nazar can have some trouble with bigger opposing forwards. He reads the play well and does a good job of anticipating plays and creating turnovers. Nazar has an active stick that cuts down passing lanes and can steal the puck from an opponent with a quick poke check.
Projection and Comparison
Nazar has the potential to be a top-six centre in the NHL if he reaches his potential. However, the lack of size and strength may mean that a full-time transition to the wing is in his future. Heading to the NCAA will likely be good for Nazar as the college schedule is lighter and mostly focused on weekends. He would be able to work on adding muscle to his frame during the week. Added strength could help him to overcome the challenges created by his lack of size as well as make him more effective on both the forecheck and backcheck. Expect Nazar to spend a year or two in college before moving up to the pro game. His game is reminiscent of Claude Giroux, however, this is a stylistic comparison only, not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Frank Nazar that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Don't look now, but Frank Nazar has 6 goals, 9 points and 28 shots on goal in his last 6 games.
The more I watch, the more promise I see.
Here's one of his goals from tonight pic.twitter.com/xlrvNTSNbp
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 9, 2022
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) March 10, 2022
Frank Nazar (2022) with an early goal against the University of Minnesota. Quick release on his snap shot. Top shelf.
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) January 4, 2022
Film Room: Investigating Frank Nazar's high-ceiling toolbox @EPRinkside
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) April 21, 2022
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) January 20, 2022
— Douglas Larson (@DL_Scouting) November 29, 2021
Frank Nazar is more fun than a barrel of monkeys pic.twitter.com/tlZo6tlSjd
— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) April 11, 2022
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Frank Lazar Scouting Report Main Photo:
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN – JANUARY 17: Frank Nazar III #14 of Team Blue skates the ice in the second period of the USA Hockey All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena on January 17, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)