Kris Baker is once again counting down his list of top prospects available in the NHL Draft for Sabres.com. The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft will take place on June 23 in Chicago.
Position: Right Wing
Team: Mississauga (OHL)
A budding power forward with a track record of being a dominant, pure goal scorer at every level he's played at, Owen Tippett is an explosive speedster with a blistering shot and a boatload of confidence. Regarding his shot, Tippett can simply rip it with a release that is perhaps the best in the entire draft.
The 2016-17 season saw Tippett elevate his offensive numbers as expected with the vaunted Mississauga Steelheads attack, seeing his goal scoring production increase from 15 in 48 games as a rookie to 44 in 60 games in his second major-junior campaign.
If he rates behind the other top forwards in overall hockey sense, Tippett more than makes up for it with his ability to fill the net. He fired a team-leading 284 shots on Ontario Hockey League goaltenders last season, good for the sixth-most among league skaters.
Chosen fourth overall in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection out of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens program, Tippett possesses very quick hands and feet. He can use his high-velocity shot with great accuracy through screens off the rush, take defenders 1-on-1 with power, and he has a knack for finding soft spots behind the defense where he uses his high-end finishing ability.
Tippett's long-range potential sees him thriving with high-sense centermen who will look to hit him in stride on his way to the net. He still has plenty of work to do defensively, though, as he can become sleepy when he is away from the puck.
Tippett isn't necessarily a one-trick pony, but scouts will want to see an increased intensity level in the defensive zone and more consistent use of his teammates when he makes his way to the pro ranks.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker's website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).
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