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2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Zach Yon

Matt Christians

The Player

Zach Yon

Forward

Roseau(MN) High School

2013-2014 stats: 31 games 41 goals 45 assists 86 points 10 PIMs

Height: 5'11.5" Weight: 190 lbs.

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 169th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Yon is a pure scoring threat, having put up over 80 points in just over 30 games at the high school level--albeit against sometimes iffy competition. He's got a strong lower body which makes him a fast skater, and difficult to knock off the puck, despite his smaller size.

Yon needs to improve on the defensive end of the ice, as he doesn't always play with the same effort without the puck as he does with it. He'll have to break some of the bad habits of playing high school hockey and needing to carry his team, while also proving that he can still score against better competition. He did play some NAHL games towards the end of the year with Bismarck, where he put up 7 points in 14 games, though it's worth noting that is a small sample size, and he was joining a team that had been together all year in the final weeks of their season.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Yon's draft stock has risen throughout the year. He wasn't considered much of a prospect coming into the year, especially with his smaller size, but he filled out a little bit, and was a big scorer all throughout the high school season, which made him difficult to ignore. He earned a scholarship offer to the University of North Dakota, became a coveted junior hockey prospect, and drew some attention from NHL teams.

Draft projection?

There's no guarantee that Yon gets drafted this year. He's far from a complete player and relatively unproven compared to some of the other prospects available late in the draft, but his speed and scoring ability is promising enough that some team may take a serious look at drafting him. It would be a risky pick, but one that could pay off nicely.

Pro upside?

Yon has the skating ability to be a second or third line winger at the NHL-level that contributes some offense. He probably won't score often enough to justify a spot in the NHL that way, but if he develops more of a two-way game, which he should, he could be a solid, reliable NHLer.

Where will he go next?

Fargo of the USHL traded nearly half of their team to expansion Bloomington for one of Bloomington's pre-USHL Draft expansion tenders so they could ensure they landed Yon. He'll play with the Force at least next season, before heading to the University of North Dakota. Yon will need time to develop into a more complete hockey player, but after three or four seasons in North Dakota, could be a very nice prospect.