Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson 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”! Today we bring you our Oliver Bonk Scouting Report.
The son of former NHLer Radek Bonk, Oliver Bonk was drafted by the London Knights in the second round, 26th overall, at the 2021 OHL Priority Selection Draft. He spent the majority of the 2020-21 season playing in the GOJHL with the St. Thomas Stars, scoring 32 points in 32 games. Bonk was named to the league’s All-Rookie Team as well as being named the top rookie defenceman. He also got some time with the Knights, playing in 10 games and picking up three assists. Bonk also appeared in seven playoff games and scored his first OHL goal.
This past season saw Bonk break out in the OHL. He scored 10 goals and 30 assists for 40 points in 67 regular-season games. Bonk also put up 11 points in 21 playoff games as the Knights went to the OHL Final. He was named to the CHL All-Rookie Team and the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. Born in Ottawa, Bonk played for Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup last summer. He didn’t score any points in the tournament but his defensive play helped Team Canada win the gold medal.
Oliver Bonk Scouting Report
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born January 9th, 2005 — Ottawa, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 180 lbs [188 cm/82 kg]
Bonk’s skating is a bit of a work in progress. He needs to work on his first step and acceleration. This may come as he adjusts to his body after his recent growth spurts. The lack of speed and quickness can be a bit of an issue. Bonk relies on his high-end hockey sense and positioning to compensate for the lack of speed. He also could work on his edgework and agility. Shifty forwards can give him some issues in one-on-one situations. However, his use of good angles does help him in defending against speed. Bonk continues to get stronger which has helped him in battles along the boards and in front of the net. This should continue to improve as he adds muscle to his frame.
Bonk uses his intelligence to create offence. He is a good passer, finding open teammates and getting them the puck quickly. This is true both in transition and in the offensive zone. He makes a good first pass and starts the rush. Bonk is willing to join the rush as a trailer and help to create offensive opportunities. However, his lack of speed and agility means that Bonk is not that effective at generating offensive zone entries and doesn’t carry the puck much through the neutral zone. Instead, he finds a teammate who has the time and space to gain the blue line. Bonk has good vision and passing skills in the zone and can quarterback the play from the point.
Bonk has an effective shot and a good release. He has a powerful slapshot and does a good job of getting it through traffic and on the net. He also has a strong wrist shot and good release. Bonk likes to sneak down from the point and let his shot go from the top of the faceoff circles. He also has a good snapshot, using it to get the puck off quickly. Bonk is willing to pinch in at the line and keep the puck in at the blue line. He is aggressive but smart in helping his team to generate offence as well as extend possession in the offensive end.
Bonk has improved his defensive game throughout the season. He has gone from a liability in 2021-22 to a shutdown defender in 2022-23. In the 2023 playoffs, Bonk was often matched against other teams’ top lines. His high-end hockey IQ is a real asset, as he puts himself in good positions and uses his body and a long stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. Bonk forces attackers to the outside and away from good shooting areas. He is not afraid to play a physical game, battling along the boards and clearing the front of the net. When a turnover is created, he looks for a quick pass up the ice. Bonk is very good at starting the transition game and creating transition offence out of his strong defensive game.
Projection and Comparison
As a right-handed defenceman with size, offensive ability and a strong defensive game, Bonk should be highly sought after on draft day. However, he is a couple of years away from making an NHL impact. Bonk needs some work on his skating. He can also add muscle to his frame in order to play his style of game at the pro level. Playing in London certainly helps. One can already see the great strides he made in his first full year with the Knights. Two more years in the London system would only help. In terms of his style, Bonk’s game is reminiscent of Brett Pesce. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Oliver Bonk that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Ottawa Senators Fans I present you the right handed defenseman of your dreams.
2023 Draft Eligible – Oliver Bonk. pic.twitter.com/pnYnUGer4R
— Brennan Jerry (@brennanjerrry) November 30, 2022
BRETT BROCHU WITH NO GLOVE
OLIVER BONK SAVE
— London Knights (@LondonKnights) April 29, 2023
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) September 30, 2022
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Main Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports