Name: Frederik Tiffels
Team: Western Michigan(NCHC)
2014-2015 Stats: 32 games, 11 goals, 10 assists, 21 points, +6 +/-, 87 shots, 14 PIMs
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: Unranked
Speed is the number one asset that Tiffels brings to the game. He's incredibly difficult to handle in one-on-one situations because of he has the ability to vary his speed, making it difficult for the defenseman to gap him, before hitting an extra gear and blowing by a defenseman. He has good hands and is able to make plays with the puck even at top speed. His vision and playmaking ability is a strong asset as well.
Tiffels is listed at 6'1" 200 lbs., but doesn't play that big yet. He could still become more physically mature and harder to knock off the puck. He uses his speed to attack on the perimeter well, but could improve at using his speed to attack interior lanes to get into high-quality scoring areas. In the past, a lack of finishing ability has been a problem for him on the offensive end, but he showed improvement in that area this past season.
Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?
Tiffels was passed over in each of the past two drafts, in large part due to adequate, but unspectacular offensive production in the USHL. Two things this past year have likely tipped the scales in Tiffels' favor to be selected, however. The first is that he showed a little more offense this year while moving up a level of play. He scored 11 goals for Western Michigan this season. That may not seem like a lot, but the list of fellow young freshmen to do better is both short and impressive(Eichel, Larkin, Tuch, Heinen).
But the big thing that helped was a strong--relatively speaking for the over-matched German squad--World Juniors tournament this past winter. With top forward Leon Draisaitl sitting in a press box in Edmonton, Tiffels had ample opportunity to shine as Germany's top offensive threat at the tournament. Tiffels had a hand in four of Germany's six goals in the tournament and was his team's most impressive player. He made a name for himself in a very difficult situation.
That uptick in offense at such a high level of play helped show he can more than just a skater and playmaker and that he might have enough upside to make it in the NHL.
Tiffels wasn't listed in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, which generally don't include many players that have already been passed over in the Draft. There's no guarantee that he gets selected, but would likely make a strong late round pick. With another year or two of similar production at the NCAA level, Tiffels would likely become a coveted free agent target. Using a fifth-to-seventh round draft pick to get exclusive negotiating rights with him seems a small price to pay.
What is his upside as a pro?
The best comparison to Tiffels would be New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin. Both players are smaller, but have elite speed that they use to put pressure on the opposing defense and create offense, and play a responsible two-way game. Hagelin and Tiffels even had very similar statistics in their first NCAA season. That gives a good idea of Tiffels' upside. A reliable second or third line wing that hits double digits in goals consistently and is a nice piece on a good team.
Where will he go next?
He will return to Western Michigan for his sophomore season. Tiffels was a bit of an odd fit on a Bronco team last year that relied on big, grinding forwards and didn't score a lot of goals. That might be the case again next season, but should give Tiffels the opportunity to play an even larger role in the offense. He'll likely play the next two to three years at Western Michigan before he's ready to make the jump to the pros.