Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at left wing Dillon Hamaliuk
After being drafted in the sixth round, 111th overall in 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Dillon Hamaliuk exceeded expectations and put up 15 goals and 39 points in 72 as a WHL rookie in 2017-18. Hamaliuk added one goal in five playoff games. He seemed to build on that, getting off to a good start this season by scoring a goal in each of his first five games, and a point in his first seven. Overall, Hamaliuk had 11 goals and 26 points in 31 games. However, he has not played since December, after suffering a lower-body injury. While the Thunderbirds never confirmed the exact nature of the injury, it was bad enough to keep Hamaliuk out of the fitness testing at the recent NHL Combine.
Hamaliuk was recently one of three Thunderbirds traded to the Kelowna Rockets as the team looks to load up for the 2020 Memorial Cup. The Rockets are hosting the tournament, and after missing the playoffs this year are bringing in a number of top talents. As host, they are making the moves necessary in order to be a contender to actually win the tournament.
Dillon Hamaliuk Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born October 30th, 2000 — Leduc, Alberta
Height 6’3″ — Weight 201 lbs [191 cm/91 kg]
While not a speedster, Hamaliuk is a decent skater for a big man. He can keep up with the play, with solid top end speed. He gets in quickly enough on the forecheck to create problems for opposing defencemen. Hamaliuk also has decent acceleration, though he could work on his first few steps. He has a powerful stride and is strong on the puck. He can fight through checks to get to the net. Solid core strength gives him good balance and tough to knock off balance. Hamaliuk has decent agility and edgework for a big man.
A prototypical power forward, Hamaliuk loves to get in on the forecheck, pressuring opposing defenders and creating mistakes. He gets to the front of the net both with and without the puck. His quick hands allow him to score in tight, beating goalies with dekes, deflecting in shots from teammates, and burying rebounds or passes from teammates. He also has a strong wrist shot and a quick enough release to fool goaltenders from further out. His one-timer is also effective on the power play. Hamaliuk creates problems in front of the net as he is tough to move when he establishes his position. His size also creates a screen that is tough for goalies to see around.
Hamaliuk is strong down low, protecting the puck on the cycle game and moving it to an open teammate. He wins battles for loose pucks along the boards and gets them to teammates in front of the net. Hamaliuk is not the most creative stick-handler or a threat to put a saucer pass through the sticks of multiple opponents. However, he is still able to create opportunities for teammates through hard work. He makes the smart but simple play in the offensive zone.
Hamaliuk is effective in his own end. He is willing to use his size and gritty play in all three zones, providing effective back pressure and helping to contain opposing forwards on the cycle. He also is good at cutting down passing lanes. Hamaliuk has strong positioning and uses his long stick effectively. He has even been used on the penalty kill at times. When he creates a turnover, he transitions to offence quickly. This makes him a threat to score off the rush as well.
Projection and Comparison
Hamaliuk’s size, skating ability, skill, and willingness to play a physical game are a rare combination and should intrigue NHL teams. He was tracking to make a big move up draft boards when his unfortunate injury occurred. Despite that, some team will see the potential here and draft Hamaliuk with a relatively early pick. The move could pay off as he plays a style that is in high demand but hard to find in the modern game. Hamaliuk could become a top-six winger if given time to properly develop. As a late birthday, he has one more year in the WHL ahead of him before heading to the AHL in 2020-21. His game is reminiscent of Jake Debrusk, though this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Dillon Hamaliuk that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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