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2015 NHL Draft Profile: Matt Freytag

Matt Christians

The Player

Name: Matt Freytag

Position: Left Wing

2014-2015 team: Tri-City Storm(USHL)

2014-2015 stats: 49 games played, 15 goals, 15 assists, 30 points

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 132nd among North American skaters

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Freytag's best asset is his shot. He's very developed with his upper body strength for a first-time eligible player and he can really fire the puck while maintaining excellent accuracy. He's got a big, athletic frame and is comfortable playing with the puck on his stick.

Freytag's skating is just average and sometimes he relies too heavily on his shooting ability by staying on the perimeter to fire pucks at the net rather than working his way into higher-percentage scoring areas. As a result, he can disappear from the game for long stretches rather than being a player that is consistently creating quality scoring chances.

Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?

With little left to prove at the high school level, Freytag decided to move to the USHL full-time this past season to play for the Tri-City Storm. He had a decent season, scoring 30 points in 49 games in a secondary role for the Storm. That was good enough to rank 11th among first-time draft eligible or younger players and keep him in the conversation for the late rounds of the Draft, while not guaranteeing that he will be picked.

Where is he projected to go in the Draft?

Freytag is a late round pick if he is selected at all. Modest scoring numbers combined with the fact that he looks like an early developer physically suggests that he might not have much upside. He's likely one of the 210 best players available to be picked right now, but teams will likely be taking home run swings in the late rounds of the Draft on players that could potentially develop into high-end players, which could hurt Freytag. On the plus size, Freytag does play more of a pro-style game so a team may want to invest in his big frame and hope he becomes a more dynamic, complete player down the road.

How does he project as a pro?

Freytag will likely have to reinvent himself as more of a grinding third or fourth line forward at the NHL level. He certainly has the size and strength to play a more physical game. If he does that, his shooting ability could give him more offensive punch than your average bottom six forward making him a valuable asset.

Where will he go next?

Freytag will play college hockey at the University of Wisconsin next season. Another season in the USHL might have benefitted Freytag by allowing him to play an expanded role as an older player, but the Badgers were desperate to add forwards for next season and decided to bring in Freytag. He'll likely play more of a depth role to begin with, but his shooting ability could make him an option on the power play. But if a team picks Freytag, they'll likely let him play out all four years at Wisconsin, hoping he develops into a more consistent scorer before deciding if they want to sign him.