Player: Colt Conrad
Height: 5’10” Weight: 187 lbs.
Team: Western Michigan University(NCHC)
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 194th among North American skaters
What I Like
Conrad is a magician with the puck on his stick. He has great hands, which gives him the ability to skate the puck through defenders, and create space for himself to make plays. He’s very tough to stop one-on-one and it’s very hard to get the puck off of him.
After a quiet freshman season on an offensively-challenged Western Michigan team, Conrad had a breakout season as a sophomore, thanks in large part to being reunited with his buddy from Manitoba’s Pembina Valley and 2nd round NHL Draft pick Wade Allison. Conrad nearly doubled his freshman point total of 16 points, with 29 points on the season, ranking third among NHL Draft-eligible players in the NCAA.
When paired with a capable scoring wing, Conrad showed the offensive instincts to create for teammates, and also the ability to finish off plays.
Conrad plays center on one of the more defensively-minded teams in the already extremely defensively-minded NCAA, so he has proven himself capable of handling his defensive responsibilities. NHL teams love guys coming out of head coach Andy Murray’s system because they play such a sound, disciplined system.
What I Don’t Like
There are guys that play in the NHL at Conrad’s size, but they are typically speed-burners, and that isn’t Conrad. He’s got decent footwork and agility, but he’s not a particularly fast skater.
High shooting percentage
Conrad’s numbers last year looked impressive thanks to 13 goals scored, but he’s not necessarily what I’d call a true goal scorer. His 13 goals came on just 64 shots on goal for a very high, and likely unsustainable 20% shooting percentage. There was a little bit of luck involved in him putting up draftable-type numbers.
Conrad would probably get a pass from me if I was drafting. I just don’t see where else he has to go in terms of upside to become an NHL player. But 29 points as an NCAA draft-eligible player is no joke. He’s got some scoring ability, which is more than you can say for a lot of players that will go in the latter rounds of the Draft. A team may take a gamble on him late and hope that he continues to blossom as a scorer.
Conrad is a center now, but I don’t see him ever having the speed to handle playing center at the NHL level. He seems like a classic tweener. It’s doubtful he has the offensive ability to be a top line scorer at the NHL level, but with his size and skating ability, I’m not sure how else he’d contribute if he’s not scoring. He is a smart, responsible player though, so there is always the possibility that he could carve out a role for himself as a lower line player, and one with the skill to contribute some offense occasionally.