Who Do We Have With Luke Kutkevicius?
Luke Kutkevicius got the chance to play in front of an endless stream of scouts with a team that was being heavily scouted due to the long list of potential of flashy draft eligible players playing in front of him. Kutkevicius was probably a distance second thought for a lot of scouts excited to check out Mississauga Steelheads players Alex Nylander, Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian and Sean Day. Kutkevicius was able to turn quite a few heads as a defensively conscious forward supporting young men focused on flying the defensive zone as quickly as possible. Kutkevicius was able to establish his role as a player worth consideration for his speed and grit – a player difficult to play against, an identified role player that the Hamilton Bulldogs lacked in their top 9.
- NHL Central Scouting:
- Midterm – #180
- Final – Not Ranked
- DraftAnalyst.com: #306
Kutkevicius will not be drafted for his offensive attributes. If he doesn’t get drafted, it is because of a lack of offensive output. Interestingly enough, his only goals of the season before being acquired in the trade for over-age player Mason Marchment came against the Hamilton Bulldogs. The other interesting tidbit about his season was he played an additional three regular season games thanks to the trade. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he wasn’t ranked in the final Central Scouting rankings, as their list generally favours offense.
Kutkevicius is a longshot to get drafted, being an OHL rookie on the 3rd/4th line of a middling team, but he’s improving quite a bit.
— Jeremy Crowe (@307x) November 1, 2015
WHAT’S BEING SAID?
- Daniel Deschenes, Future Considerations: “A former second round pick of the Steelheads is on the draft radar, but not because he possesses a high offensive ceiling. Kutkevicius is a solid third line centre at the moment and shows real potential in his game. He has been a little inconsistent in my viewings of him with Mississauga, but there are a few big things that stand out in his game. While he doesn’t have high-end speed, he works hard and gets to the right areas of the ice to make an impact. He will grind it out in the corners and wants to take control to set up in the offensive zone as soon as he can. Luke commits himself to the defensive side of the game, displays strong awareness in his own zone and through transition, and isn’t afraid to deliver a big check. After seeing him several times this year I still believe he could improve his puckhandling and his ability to maintain speed while in possession.” (Daniel was kind enough to email this personal scouting report after the Bulldogs traded for Kutkevicius back in January.)
- Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: “George Burnett and the Dogs’ coaching staff used Kutkevicius in a defensive role, lining him up against one of the other team’s top lines, using him as a key faceoff guy, and playing him on the secondary penalty killing unit. He has great hockey sense in his own end and does a great job getting his stick in passing lanes. As he adds strength, I think he’d really benefit with playing a more physical game, more consistently, to make him an even more difficult player to line up against. Offensively, his game currently seems to be dependent on his ability to work the cycle.” (Source)
- Mike Mackley, Prospects Hockey: “Kutkevicius is a speedy two-way centre with an explosive first step and deceptive offensive traits. A player who works the cycle well, Kutkevicius shows strong puck protection skills and an effectiveness exploding off the half boards into the centre of the ice. Boasting and deceptively strong shot, above average vision and playmaking skills, Kutkevicius has an offensive skill set that could see him develop into a quality top six forward. Reliable in his own zone, Kutkevicius shows strong anticipation skills and awareness along with a willingness to get his body and stick in shooting lanes.” (Source)
Kutkevicius plays a very competitive forechecking game. He plays a safe game, typically he would dump the puck in, use his quick stride to chase down the defender and plays the body 8/10 times. Kutkevicius has a very active stick, and maintains decent strength while really using his decent reach to frustrate the opposition. What really sticks out in Kutkevicius’ play is his persistent ability to shake up the opposition and draw penalties. There are a lot of statistics that sadly aren’t shared with fans, the lack of drawn penalties is one that would probably highlight Kutkevicius above the majority of the 2016 draft class. Kutkevicius will benefit this summer from bulking up, he is rather lean for an OHL player. He has an awkward stride, which gives him the appearance that he’s almost running on the ice. There are probably folks that will be deterred from the way his skating looks, but ultimately it gets him from point A to point B just as quickly as your average junior player. He’ll also need to improve his shot, both how heavy it is, along with how much he utilizes it.
WHERE WILL HE GO?
There is a low probability that Luke Kutkevicius is drafted by an NHL team this summer. If there is a player type that is going to benefit from an NHL expansion, Kutkevicius represents them, as he’ll increase his chances of getting an invite to an NHL prospects camp in the fall with 1 or 2 more teams up top. The OHL typically has between 30 and 40 players selected in the draft annually, an average of 1.7 per team per year. Kutkevicius would be beating the odds if he is selected. His benefit is that he received a lot of looks from scouts between playing for Mississauga and Hamilton.
THE 2016 NHL DRAFT SERIES
- Who Do We Have With Ben Gleason
- Who Do We Have With Cole Candella
- Who Do We Have With Ondrej Kachyna
- Who Do We Have With Brandon Saigeon
- Who Do We Have With Matt Luff
- Who Do We Have With Trent Fox
- Who Do We Have With Connor Hicks
Feature Image: Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs