2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Steven Spinner

Matt Christians

The Player

Steven Spinner

Forward

Eden Prairie(MN) High School

2013-2014 stats: 25 games 17 goals 22 assists 39 points 42 PIMs

Height:5'11.5" Weight: 196 lbs.

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 96th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Spinner was excellent in the high schools ranks as a dangerous offensive weapon known for being an outstanding passer and excellent at challenging defenders one-on-one with speed and smooth stick-handling.

The downside is that though Spinner performed well in this past fall's Upper Midwest Elite League, he had difficulty scoring against some of the stronger defensive teams he faced during the high school season, and only scored two assists in eight USHL games after the high school season. There are questions about his ability to still be an effective offensive player when facing tighter-checking more physical competition.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Spinner's draft stock has held pretty steady. He started the year as a 'B' prospect in Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, and played well enough to hold that spot, but not necessarily move up. He helped lead Eden Prairie to what was a bit of a surprise trip to the Minnesota State High School tournament, logging a ton of minutes for the Eagles.

Draft projection?

Spinner has enough talent that he's worth taking a chance on the draft, but unless a team really falls in love with him, it will likely be towards the latter stages of the draft.  The fourth round may be the ceiling, with somewhere in the fifth or sixth round most likely for him to be drafted.

Pro upside?

Spinner brings some valuable, projectable NHL-level skills to the table. With the growing emphasis on players that can carry the puck into the offensive zone, Spinner's stickhandling is attractive, and his ability to find teammates with his excellent passing would be a big plus in helping possession. He can play a physical game, but is more of a skill player than a grinder. His upside is likely as a second or third line wing that can contribute some offense. Spinner still has a long ways to go before reaching that potential, however. He'll have to prove that he can even score at the junior hockey level before talking about the NHL level.

Where will he go next?

Spinner will spend one season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers before staying in Omaha to play his NCAA hockey with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Spinner is likely a long-term project that will need the full four or five seasons before he's ready to make an impact at the pro level.

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