2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Nick Wolff

Matt Christians

The Player

Nick Wolff

Defense

Eagan(MN) High School

2013-2014 Stats: 23 games, 8 goals 12 assists 20 points, 46 PIMs

Height: 6'3.5" Weight: 200 lbs.

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 89th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

At 6'4", Wolff is an imposing physical force with the ability to throw punishing checks in the neutral zone. He chipped in some offense for his high school, but projects as a primarily defensive defenseman.

His skating and footwork is decent for a player of his size, but he'll likely need to continue to develop his quickness to keep up with the pace of pro hockey.

There's also a bit of trepidation any time a player hasn't played much outside of the high school ranks. Wolff logged big, big minutes for his high school, and often had to run around the ice trying to everything for his team, while mostly playing against opponents that were physically over-matched by him. Some teams might question how he'll hold up against bigger, faster competition. He did play a handful of games in the USHL following his high school season, but it can be difficult to gauge much from such a small sample like that.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Wolff was relatively unknown heading into last summer. As a bigger player, it took him longer to grow into body than some of his peers. But he performed well at the USA Hockey Select 17 Festival, and earned a roster spot on the United States Ivan Hlinka tournament team. He followed that up with a strong performance in the Upper Midwest Elite League, and helped lead his high school team to a surprise appearance in the state tournament.  He moved from 97th in Central Scouting's mid-term rankings to 89th in their final rankings.

Draft projection?

Definitely somewhere in the middle rounds. NHL Central Scouting tends to favor bigger players a little bit, so Wolff might slip a bit from the area Central Scouting has him ranked, but it's extremely unlikely a player of his size and potential goes completely undrafted. Look for Wolff somewhere in the fourth or fifth round.

Pro upside?

Best case scenario for Wolff is to develop into a shutdown second pairing defensive defenseman that doesn't score much, but is extremely tough to play against due to his physical presence. There's not much middle ground though. Because his ranking is based so much on his potential, there's a little more risk of him never amounting to anything significant. But it's a risk worth taking in the later rounds of the draft.

Where will he go next?

Wolff's senior season of high school earned him a scholarship offer to Minnesota-Duluth. Wolff will likely play next season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL before heading to Duluth in 2015-2016.

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