Isaiah George Scouting Report: 2022 NHL Draft #65

Isaiah George Scouting Report
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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 Isaiah George Scouting Report.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft, 68th Overall, Isaiah George missed the entire 2020-21 season as the OHL never started due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. George spent his season working with his trainer in his parent’s basement. “I had a great support system in terms of my family and my trainer. Basement workouts shooting pucks and working on my hands – doing whatever I could to keep improving,” George told Mike Stubbs of Global News.

NHL free agent frenzy

Back on the ice this year, he has really blossomed with the London Knights. George scored six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 67 regular-season games. While he didn’t get a lot of power-play time, George still played big minutes on the London blue line. Due to injuries, he often was forced to play against the other team’s best players. He played well in those situations, despite a lack of experience.

George also played for Team Red at the CHL Top Prospects Game. George was also invited to the NHL Draft Combine. He was also drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 USHL Futures Draft by the Tri-City Storm.

Isaiah George Scouting Report

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born February 15th, 2004 — Oakville, Ontario
Height 6’0.25″ — Weight 196 lbs [183 cm/88 kg]

Skating

George is an excellent skater and this is the foundation of his game. He seems like he is gliding above the ice. His stride is near textbook perfect. George has very good top-end speed in both directions. His stride allows him to reach that speed quickly, with excellent acceleration. He also has very effective crossovers, especially in his backwards skating. This gives him both speed and power. George also has outstanding edge work and agility. This allows him to move well laterally and to maintain excellent gap control. He is also strong on his skates. A strong lower body gives him excellent balance, allowing him to win battles on the boards and clear the front of the net. He should only improve these aspects of his game as he matures and gets stronger.

Offensive Game

While George has not put up a ton of points yet, there are some hints that his offensive game has untapped potential. He combines his skating with smooth stick handling, allowing George to carry avoid forecheckers and carry the puck out of his zone. He is also able to skate with it through the neutral zone, avoiding defenders and generating strong zone entries. George also makes a good first pass and can set up teammates on the rush. However, he seems to lack something in the offensive zone. When he gets the puck, he moves it very quickly. With his skating and puck control, he could learn to walk the line and control the puck in the offensive zone. Some patience would allow him to make more plays.

George has a good but not great slap shot. One thing that he does well is to keep his shot low and on the net. This allows his teammates to get to the front of the net and set up screens, deflections, and pounce on rebounds. He is better with his wrist shot and will sometimes sneak in at the line to get his shot off from the top of the faceoff circles. However, George often seems to lack some confidence in the offensive zone. He moves the puck quickly to a teammate. If he could learn to slow things down and have more poise at the blue line, he could be a power-play quarterback.

Defensive Game

The bread and butter of George’s game is his defensive game. He is one of the best defensive defenders in this draft. His outstanding skating, good gap control, and ability to steal the puck with a poke check make him very hard to beat in one-on-one situations. He has a real knack for stepping up at the blue line and denying zone entries. With his speed, he is also able to retrieve dump-ins and loose pucks and quickly get them out of the zone. George keeps himself between his man and the front of the net. He does a good job of forcing attackers to the outside and away from good shooting areas.

George is excellent positionally. He reads the play extremely well and uses his long stick to take away passing lanes. He is also willing to use his body to block shots. While he is not a big hitter, George is not afraid to get involved physically. He battles hard along the boards and clears the front of the net. George is strong and able to win those battles against the junior-aged competition. He should continue to get stronger as he matures and this style should translate to the next level.

Projection and Comparison

George may never be a number one defenceman, but if he continues to progress, he could grow into a top-four defender at the NHL level. His game would be a great compliment to a risk-taking offensive defenceman. There may be a bit more offence than he showed this year but even if that does not come around, his size, skating and defensive instincts could still see him become a top-four defenceman. George will need some time though. Playing for London is a real advantage as the Knights have developed numerous quality NHL players in recent years. He could spend two more years in the OHL before taking some NHL time. George’s game is reminiscent of Jaccob Slavin. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.

Highlights

The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Isaiah George that are available on youtube and Twitter.

 

 

Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.

 

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