As part of our Road to the Draft content series, NewJerseyDevils.com will be profiling the top North American and European Skaters eligible for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft. This will allow Devils and hockey fans at large to familiarize themselves with the next class of NHL talent. We now take a look at Adler Mannheim forward Tim Stuetzle.
WEIGHT: 187 lbs
POSITION: Left Wing
DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: 41 GP, 7 G, 27 A, 34 P
WHAT'S THE BUZZ
"Stuetzle played a very mature game the whole season and impressed more and more playing regular shifts with a top team. Time had a big role on the team, used in all game situations … An exception talent with a great set of tools including speed and excellent understanding of the game."
-NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb
CUT TO THE CHASE
Tim Stuetzle is the top-ranked prospect when it comes to European skaters and is expected to go second or third in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Teams looking for an offensive spark and a player with a year of professional experience will find Stuetzle very promising.
Stuetzle spent this season playing in Germany's top professional league for Adler Mannheim. Although the season ended early and playoffs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stuetzle still found success during his first professional season. He played 41 games for the club, contributing 34 points, 27 of which were assists. His performance earned Stuetzle Rookie of the Year honors for the League.
In April on an NHL videoconference, Stuetzle discussed how playing a season of professional hockey helped him.
"Playing with men and training with men all the time was a big part of my life," Stuetzle said about this last season with Mannheim. "I'm so thankful for my teammates and they were just great. They helped me out and I could learn a lot from the veterans."
The German forward also had international playing experience this year, representing his country twice. Stuetzle competed in the 2020 World Junior Championship and the 4 Nations Tournament. At World Juniors, Stuetzle contributed five assists over five games played. At the 4 Nations Tournament, Stuetzle played only two games but had three points (1-2).
Last season at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship, Stuetzle helped Germany win gold in the Division 1, Group A tournament which promoted them to the top division. In that tournament, he had two goals and seven assists for a total of nine points, which tied him for the most points in the tournament. Stuetzle has represented Germany on the international stage eight times since the start of the 2017-18 season.
Stuetzle is expected to attend Germany's summer U20 camp and participate in the international friendly against Switzerland in mid-July. The opportunity will allow him to not only get back on the ice but face some competition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When describing Stuetzle's game, most analysts focus on the level of skill and entertainment he brings to every shift. His NHL Central Scouting Report profile states Stuetzle is a "playmaking hockey artist with a great set of tools including speed, dekes, stick handling, shot, and hockey IQ. [He] creates something positive on every shift."
Stuetzle also says he is very competitive and focused on being the best he can during an NHL videoconference in April.
"I hate to lose and I want to win every game and want to be a difference-maker and I want to play a good night every day," said Stuetzle. "I'm humble and a hard worker so I want to get better every day too."
Due to strong skating, creativity, and his superior stick-handling, the left-winger will bring a spark to any lineup he is on. He will also be a fun player to watch with his trick shots and his playmaking abilities.
The general consensus at this time is Alexis Lafreniere will go first overall in the draft to a team eliminated from the play-in round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators hold picks 2 and 3 respectively, so Stuetzle will likely end up with one of those franchises. Time will tell where he lands, but the German forward will be a strong offensive asset to whoever drafts him in October.
DID YOU KNOW?
If selected in the top-10, he will be the third German-born and trained player selected in the top-10 joining Leon Draisaitl and Moritz Seider. Draisaitl was drafted third overall in 2014 by the Edmonton Oilers while Seider was picked sixth overall last year by the Detroit Red Wings.