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NHL Draft

2020 Draft: Colangelo has style reminiscent of Maple Leafs' Matthews

Chicago forward has poise, presence on ice comparable to Toronto star

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2020 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Sam Colangelo, a right wing with Chicago of the United States Hockey League, was raised around hockey.

It didn't take long for the 17-year-old forward from Stoneham, Massachusetts, to fall in love with the game. His father, Mark Colangelo, had him in skates at 10 months old. Mark played, but never reached a high level.

That might not be the case for Sam, who is a B-rated player in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2020 NHL Draft.

"I try to take everything day by day," said Colangelo, who is committed to play at Northeastern University next season. "Obviously I think about [the draft] a little bit, but I just try to stay in the moment and not get too far ahead. Just not worry about it too much and just play my game. I think the results will happen for themselves."

That attitude has helped Colangelo to a successful start, with 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 20 games.

Colangelo's 12 goals aren't surprising to former Chicago coach Greg Moore. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Moore said Colangelo's size lends to a heavy shot that just needs a bit of refinement.

"He can get himself into spots on the ice a lot of other people can't," said Moore, who left Chicago to become coach of Toronto of the American Hockey League on Dec. 1. "Strong on his feet, strong with his hands. Then he can fire a puck. When he gets an opportunity to shoot, he has a good shot. But he's got to learn to get into those spots a little bit more during the game to utilize that."

Moore said Colangelo reminds him of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews. Colangelo might not share Matthews' high-end skill, but Moore believes they play a comparable style.

"I'd say his stature, the way he skates, his poise on the ice is a lot like Auston Matthews," Moore said. "In terms of how he gets around the rink and his poise and presence, he's very similar to that."

Colangelo said he hasn't modeled his game after any specific NHL player, but has taken cues from one of Matthews' teammates, forward Kasperi Kapanen, and Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler.

"Kapanen is a bit more skilled and Wheeler's more of a power forward," Colangelo said. "I think I can play with both styles of those games, combine with it in myself. Those are two guys I can definitely watch."

The power is already there, but Colangelo said he needs to work on his speed. That's been his focus for the past few years and he believes it's started to produce results.

"I think it's been showing, but I think being faster and stronger will never hurt," he said. "The faster I get, I think the better I'll be."

The defensive side of Colangelo's game also needs to improve, Moore said. But that's common for a young forward, so Moore doesn't think it should be much of a concern for Colangelo in the near future.

In Colangelo's case, it's especially true because of the energy he brings to the ice.

"He also has a bit of an edge, which is good," Moore said. "He's very strong for his age. He's heavy on the puck. He can strip guys of pucks, which allows him to create more offense for him."

With that approach, Moore wouldn't be surprised if Colangelo reaches the hockey heights his father never did.

"He's a good kid," Moore said. "He works really hard every day. He has a good demeanor about him. He's a good kid that wants to do right by the team, do right by himself, do right by his family name."

 

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