Liam Kirk is an interesting beast to tackle from a perspective of “can he be good in the NHL/AHL a few years or so down the line” because of one thing; competition...and location.
See, Liam Kirk’s from England. Rotherham in South Yorkshire, to be specific. And he’s been playing in the higher levels of English hockey; the EIHL and the EIPHL since 2015. This year, he completed his first year as a player for the Sheffield Steelers.
The EIHL has been considered much like the ECHL or leagues like that for competitiveness in both the talent sense and is somewhat notorious for it’s doubling down on enforcer types and you can kind of see it just by looking at their page on eliteprospects where even the less good players with no points have anywhere from 24 minutes of penalties or this jumpstarter here who has well over 180.
You’ll also notice on that list, Kirk stuck around for 52 games of hockey and only got 6 minutes of penalty time. Comparatively speaking, he was a saint among his teammates.
As for what he brings to the table? A pretty interesting skillset. One the rest of the entire EIHL and EIPHL apparently cannot match...from a player several years their junior. Huh.
Liam Kirk is a 6’2 Center/Winger who boasts an incredible skating speed, a beautiful set of hands, and a real sense of purpose whenever the puck is on his stick, and the mere fact that he looks like a dang superstar at the age of 18 at the top hockey league in his home country.
Where Kirk falls short for scouts and for teams looking to draft the guy is that while he’s played a full season of EIHL hockey and looked good, the reality is he emerged with a modest point spread of 16 in 52 games. Furthermore, for his development to continue, he’s finally biting the bullet and going to the CHL where he can see what he ends up looking like against players his age as opposed to players almost twice his age and experience which of course means...More time. Furthermore, because he’s so good in comparison to his fellow UK compatriots at such a young age, he’s very underweight, among the lightest in the draft.
On that combination. Liam Kirk is a longer term prospect whose biggest X-Factor is indeed the fact that he was a british player playing in the british leagues and while he has played with guys several years older than he is and honestly looked better than most of his compatriots...but we really have no idea what he actually is. Making a later-round pick out of Liam Kirk means not only the novelty of a british hockey player, it’s a pick based on seeing the skills he has, seeing what he’s been able to accomplish, and wondering if he can do the same things he’s done for the British hockey program for their own team.
I mean, if he’s still there...you definitely wanna have that milestone of first British NHLer, don’t you? I think the Bruins could definitely be a great place for that to be the case.
65th by NHL Central Scouting among European Forwards
Liam Kirk Statline
|Sheffield Steelhawks||England U18||17||60||38||98|
|Sheffield Scimitars||England U20||10||27||17||44|
|Great Britain U18||U18 World Juniors Div. 2||5||2||1||3|
|Great Britain U18||U18 World Juniors Div. 2||5||6||2||8|
|Great Britain U20||World Juniors Div. 1B||5||2||2||4|
|Great Britain U18||U18 World Juniors Div. 2||5||4||3||7|
|Great Britain U20||World Juniors Div. 2A||5||7||7||14|
|Great Britain||World Championships||5||0||0||0|