As I’m told, you can’t teach size. I don’t always believe that’s true.
There are plenty of NHL players who could easily fit the bill of “NHL Power Forward™” who bullies his way to goals in the slot and enforces discipline in his fellow players using their frame, but in a league that’s getting faster and faster and players that become harder and harder to knock off the puck due to an emphasis on core strength training becoming commonplace, we’re starting to see that teams and coaches kind of...neglect to teach players that are Dylan Peterson’s dimensions how to “play” like big guys. Whether it’s because of the speed of the game requiring a lot of emphasis on skating rather than physicality, fear that the referee will punish them unduly, or the fear that even at speed a certain big guy cannot time a hit accurately enough to not take an opponent out of position on a backcheck or they’re better suited using their long stick, it seems like certain big prospects aren’t quite as suited towards physicality as others.
Thankfully, If there’s one major plus to Dylan Peterson’s game, it’s that he definitely plays his size for all it’s worth. It’s almost unsubtle how much his size helps him do the things he does.
Peterson plays for the USNDTP, and given the caliber of opponent he faces in the USHL, it shouldn’t surprise you that Peterson’s biggest strengths are that NHL-level frame that he uses to happily bulldoze through opponents, fore-checkers, and faceoffs using his physicality and big boy strength to get past all who’d dare oppose him. He is as hard as any player in this draft to knock off the puck for any reason.
Complimenting this is that his skating is rather impressive for someone his size; his preference is to cut to the middle of the ice and cause havoc that way, and given how much momentum he gains in a short amount of time even with those long strides and the strength he has on the puck, it can be pretty impressive to watch him make some of the best talent in the U18 and USHL look like children playing against their dad. His passing is best described as “common sense”, in that he tends to find the closest open player and delivers the puck with a gentle touch that’s easy to pick up and shoot. His defensive skill is pretty impressive too, using his stick and long reach actively to clog passing lanes and force forecheckers and puck carriers away from the middle of the ice and into bad shooting angles.
As for his negatives...Well, there’s only so much praise you can give to a player for being a big, fast body before you have to start looking into how he plays and in the context of how he plays.
Because he relies so much on getting to the inside on defenders and spending time in the slot right in front of goalies, his shot is more like a shotgun blast; sacrificing accuracy in service of raw power. As a result, his offensive capabilities are rather one dimensional as of right now, and he doesn’t use them enough to make himself known. A troubling negative is the fact that, for all his tools that he can use at the next level, his current output didn’t impress, and his tournament performances this year weren’t very good. which doesn’t bode well for his upcoming years. Many looked at his drop in production in spite of some top-line minutes with the development squad as the result of the USNTDP having been cored by last year’s draft, and as such a lot of guys didn’t get the consistency they would’ve needed to thrive in a role that best suited them. Others see a player that, once he gets to the next level and sees more consistency in his role and playstyle, he’ll start to really shine. Which is entirely valid, but he’s gotta show it soon. He’s set to go to BU this fall, and that jump alone can be a wild change when factoring in size, skill, and speed, as we covered in Colangelo’s profile yesterday.
As a player with a lot of size and speed, I imagine he’ll remain a popular option for a team willing to get bigger for the price of a 2nd or even early 3rd for their forward depth. But right now a guy like him would be a long, long term prospect that needs to learn a lot about the next level and find production that his skill set seems to say he can be more than just another big body.
- 43rd by NHL Central Scouting among NA Skaters
- 64th by FutureConsiderations.com
- 67th by EliteProspects.com
|CIHA White Midget AAA "A"
|Ottawa Jr. Senators
|US National U17 Team
|US National U18 Team