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2020 Draft: Tuch upgraded to A-rated skater by NHL Central Scouting

USA Hockey NTDP forward ascends with Mercer, Quinn, Zary, Wallinder on revised players to watch list

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Luke Tuch of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team is one of five players upgraded to an A rating in NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for November.

The revised players to watch list updates the preliminary players to watch, released Oct. 7. Players with an A rating are considered potential first-round candidates for the 2020 NHL Draft at Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26-27.

The 17-year old left wing was a B-rated skater, or potential second-round candidate, in the October release. He is the younger brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch, selected with the No. 18 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild.

"[Luke Tuch] plays a physical power-forward game with smarts, skills and competitiveness," said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting. "He plays a similar style as older brother Alex in that they both get results by playing the game the correct way and don't take any short cuts. They give all they have when on the ice."

Tuch (6-foot-1, 203 pounds) has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 18 games on a line with B-rated right wing Dylan Peterson (6-4, 192) and C-rated center Landon Slaggert (5-11, 182) this season. Tuch had one assist and nine shots on goal in four games to help the United States Under-18 team to a first-place finish at the 2019 Five Nations Tournament in Sweden last week.

"He's been a major driver of our identity as a physically demanding team to play against," U.S. NTDP U-18 coach Seth Appert said. "He has been physically punishing almost every game this year while scoring in the hard areas around the net."

Tuch is committed to Boston University in 2020-21. His Canadian Hockey League rights are held by Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League.

"He's quick out of blocks and has good speed with puck," said Greg Rajanen of NHL Central Scouting. "He handles the puck well, has good awareness and good vision in finding open teammates."

Here's a look at the four other players upgraded to an A rating this month on the Players to Watch list:


Dawson Mercer (6-0, 181), C, Drummondville (QMJHL):

The 18-year-old had three points (two goals, one assist) in two games for the QMJHL against Russia in the Canada Russia Series on Nov. 4-5. Serving a six-game suspension for an incident that took place Nov. 2 and eligible to return on Nov. 22, Mercer ranks second on Drummondville with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) and is first with six power-play goals in 19 games.

NHL Central Scouting: "He's a complete-type player, can play penalty kill and power play. There's no hesitation in finishing his checks and he's a good skater with a very high hockey IQ who can execute at high speed and has a pro release." -- Jean-Francois Damphousse


Jack Quinn (6-0, 179), RW, Ottawa (OHL):

The second-round pick (No. 39) in the 2017 OHL draft has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 18 games this season. The 18-year-old has five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. 

NHL Central Scouting: "Plays a smart, hard-driving game, with good speed, instincts to execute plays and produce offense. He's clever and poised with the puck, competes responsibly to play a two-way game. His game is just hitting its stride and there's a lot of upside potential." -- Dan Marr


Connor Zary (6-0, 177), C, Kamloops (WHL):

A solid two-way player with skill, the 18-year-old is tied for the league scoring lead with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists), and 15 power-play points (five goals, 10 assists) and is the WHL leader with 98 shots on goal in 19 games. He had 67 points (24 goals, 43 assists) in 63 games last season.

NHL Central Scouting: "Connor has been a good player in the WHL for some time now. This year I wanted to see him take a step and be a dominant player and he's done that since the start of the season and is among the leading scorers in the league." -- John Williams


William Wallinder (6-4, 191), D, Modo Jr. (SWE):

The left-handed 17-year-old has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 15 games for Modo in the SuperElit, Sweden's junior league. He's at his best in the defensive zone but his offensive game has improved. He likes to join the rush and can get the puck on net with regularity working the power play.

NHL Central Scouting: "A defenseman with all the tools to make it to the NHL one day, with size, smarts and good decision-making. He's learning to use his big frame and can play physical, inside the rules." -- Goran Stubb



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