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Not much can stop Beck from where he wants to be

Thursday, 06.25.2009 / 4:18 PM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When Guelph Storm forward Taylor Beck wants to go somewhere, he usually gets there.

At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, the left wing is tough to stop from getting to the right places on the ice.

He has plans to get to where he wants off the ice, as well.

"This year I hit 22 (goals), next year I want 35," Beck told NHL.com. "I want to get anywhere from 75 to 80 points. I want to develop into a two-way player and do the work that it takes to reach my dream of playing in the NHL."

The scouts certainly see that as a possibility.

"Taylor is a hard-working, up-and-down guy," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "He plays with lots of energy, he's got good puck skills and play-making ability. … He's got a real good shot, he's got a good slap shot. I have seen him come off the wing and take a good wrist shot. Energy and hard work is his game."

Beck was fourth on the team with 58 points this season, and his 22 goals were more than triple the seven he scored as an Ontario Hockey League rookie in 2007-08. He is No. 48 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final 2009 Entry Draft rankings.

Beck said his skating is one area he absolutely must improve. He's already started the process, working with Barb Underhill, the 1984 World Champion in pairs figure skating for Canada.

"She just totally broke down my stride," said Beck. "When I went to her at the beginning of the year, I knew it was one of my weakest points. She broke it down, she told me what I'm doing good and what I need to do better, totally reconstructed it again. I got down lower and it really helped."

There's far more good than bad in Beck's game, however.

"I'm a player that's good in all three zones," he said. "I cover my defense well, I get pucks out of my zone, I get pucks deep, I'm hard on the forecheck, I like to turn pucks over. I'm good on the cycle, using my body as an advantage. I get to the net, bang (shots) in, play-make, a little bit of everything."

He also played the point on the power play at times.

"I was usually in front of the net causing havoc in front, but (coach Jason Brooks) threw me back there," Beck said. "He thought I'd have good vision. He wanted me to open it up. I really liked it. He gave me the chance and I got a lot of points off of it … and I look forward to it next year."

His teammates also look forward to having him around.

"This year I hit 22 (goals), next year I want 35. I want to get anywhere from 75 to 80 points. I want to develop into a two-way player and do the work that it takes to reach my dream of playing in the NHL."
-- Taylor Beck

"He's a great buddy," Storm teammate and top 2009 Draft prospect Michael Latta told NHL.com. "Me, him, Peter Holland -- we're always hanging out. (Beck) works hard, he's a good leader in the room. Really inspires everyone on the team to work hard, motivates people to work, work, work. Kid's got great skill, too. Great helper, very creative player. He's a good teammate to have. He's a great teammate, a great physical wing, impossible to get the puck off of, great scorer -- just a hell of a player and good guy to have on our team."

Latta says that now, but he might have been saying something a bit different when he first got to Guelph after an early-season trade from the Ottawa 67's. Before Latta's first practice, Beck decided to initiate the new guy.

"First time I got to Guelph, first day after the trade, he put water in my helmet so when I took my helmet down the water sloshed down on me," Latta said.

"We had it underneath his helmet," Beck said. "He gets his helmet out, water dumped all over him. He was pretty embarrassed but it got him acquainted to the team, so it worked out well."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.