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After being drafted in the 2013 WHL midget draft, Kole Lind found it difficult to break into the Kelowna Rockets lineup during his rookie year in 2014-15. He would play just six games for a team with a stacked lineup. Those Rockets would win the WHL Championship and made it all the way to the Memorial Cup final only to lose in overtime.
However, as some of the key pieces began to leave, Lind has found himself with more and more ice-time. He scored 41 points last year, in a breakthrough campaign. This season he has grown into a bigger role and become the Rockets leading scorer. Lind put up 30 goals and 87 points in 70 games; finishing a full 17 points clear of the next leading scorer in Kelowna. He’s added 12 points in 16 playoff games. Lind is now the key forward on the Rockets roster and a key reason why they are in the third round of the WHL playoffs.
Kole Lind Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #32
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born October 16th, 1998 — Shaunavon, Saskatchewan
Height 6’1″ — Weight 176 lbs [185 cm / 80 kg]
Lind is an very good skater. He has very good top end speed and excellent acceleration. He can beat defencemen to the outside, drop his shoulder, and drive the puck to the net. Lind also has very good edge work and agility. His turns are sharp and crisp, and he picks up speed with effective cross-overs. He could stand to add some real muscle to his lower body though. The difference between being a very good skater and an excellent one, is his strength on his skates and ability to fight off checks. Lind is very skinny right now, and some added muscle will help him to fight through hooks and holds, to establish position in front of the net, and to win battles on the boards.
Lind is equally adept at both scoring goals and setting them up. He has an excellent wrist shot. It is accurate and powerful, and he gets it off with a quick release. He also has an outstanding slap shot and one-timer. Lind has a knack for finding the soft spot in the defensive coverage and ripping his slap shot by the goaltender. He also has the soft hands to finish plays in close to the goal line.
Solid stick handling and good puck protection skills allow Lind to extend plays and helps his teammates get open. He could be even better in the cycle game with added muscle. When he gets an opening, Lind is able to feather a pass through a tight opening and land it on an linemates tape.
Lind works hard in the defensive end, but his game continues to be a work in progress. He is certainly more than willing to engage defensively and to battle for loose pucks, but his lack of upper-body strength again becomes a concern. He could also stand to work on his positioning without the puck. Like many young players he does take some chances and try to leave the zone early looking to get the transition going from time-to-time. However, it is not a chronic problem and should be fixable in time.
Projection and Comparison
Kole Lind could become a second line winger in the NHL, if he develops to his potential. Whether he plays more of a finesse game, or becomes a power forward will be something that will need to play out in the coming years. Added muscle mass would be a welcome addition to his game. In terms of a stylistic comparison, Lind plays like a right handed version of Max Pacioretty.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #32 Prospect available on our draft board.