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Road to the NHL Draft: Mathew Barzal

Mathew Barzal

Position: Center

Junior team: Seattle (WHL)

Born: Coquitlam, British Columbia

Measurables: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds

2014-15 stats: 44 games, 12 goals, 45 assists, 57 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 11 (North America)

Lowdown: Unfortunately for Barzal, boys will be boys. He was fooling around away from the ice with a teammate in November and suffered a fractured knee cap. It’s never good to get injured, but it’s especially troublesome in a draft year.

Fortunately for Barzal, he had time to recover and show he can dominate. He was back in full form by the playoffs and put up four goals and eight points in six games. He also had nine assists and 12 points in seven games for Canada in the under-18 world championships.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Western Hockey League draft has goal-scoring ability – he potted 55 goals in 51 games for his bantam team – but playmaking is his forte. His skating allows him to pull away from defenders and find open passing lanes. He needs more consistency.

They said it: “He's the best skater I've seen in the WHL in terms of his east-west game while creating time and space with his feet. He has great vision and puck skills.” – John Williams, NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27.

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