Sam Kurker THW Close-Up:
THW Ranking (May): 77th
With more and more teams looking to find a guy who can be a power forward, Sam Kurker’s draft stock should be on the rise.
Though the Boston University-bound Kurker is not close to NHL ready, he certainly has the potential – and the size and strength – that has teams thinking he could be a solid north-south style forward in the future.
“I am confident Sam’s style will translate to the pro game eventually,” St. John’s Prep coach Kristian Hanson said. “He has the build and the skill to be an effective pro player down the line. He has some work to do, but he has all the necessary tools to get there.”
Kurker spent the last four years playing for St. John’s Prep, one of the premier catholic hockey teams in Massachusetts. He scored 135 career points against good competition, including career highs in goals (32), assists (28), and points (60) last season.
Kurker has also played for Team USA in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament before making a commitment to play for coach Jack Parker at Boston University. He has impressed scouts enough to be ranked the No. 36 North American skater by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau.
If Kurker is drafted, it would the second consecutive year SJP has had a player selected, as Colin Blackwell was picked by San Jose in the 7th round of the 2011 draft.
“Obviously it is exciting just to be mentioned to be drafted,” Kurker said. “It would be an honor to be selected in any round. Between getting the opportunity to go to Boston University and the opportunity to be drafted, it’s been a dream year for me.”
NHL Scouting Combine: Kurker had an impressive performance finishing in the top 10 in 6 events. (NHL.com)
“Kurker is a big winger who has seen his stock rise this season and could very well be a high 2nd round pick when it’s all said and done. The Boston University commit plays a strong north-south type style and displays a willingness to take the puck to the net and play with some grit. Kurker competes hard and more often than not wins a puck battle. He’s not the most natural offensive player in the draft, which is why we have him a little lower than some, but he’ll have some time develop in the NCAA.”
–The Scouting Report
” Big, strong and skilled, NHL teams all took notice of the Eagles’ scoring star and member of the USA 2011 Ivan Hlinka squad. There is no questioning his size and natural talent as Central Scouting’s top-ranked regional prospect. However, there were too many times this season when Kurker was more of a passenger and did not take charge of games the Boston University recruit should have dominated given the level of competition. If he can add the element of consistency to his game, he will be a force.”
“He’s such a strong skater and was a lot more aggressive with the puck this year, taking advantage of his good hands and hockey sense. With his added strength and conditioning, he’s been so much more effective in all areas of his game. ”
2009-2010 St. John’s Prep 15-14-29
2010-2011 St. John’s Prep 20-17-37
2011-2012 St. John’s Prep 32-28-60
Kurker played in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia, and for Team USA at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament. He has also attended USA Hockey’s Select 16 and 17 camps.
Risk = 2/5 Reward = 3.5/5
Top nine forward.
*See “THW Close-Up” section above.
- Relentless forechecker
- Strong wrist shot
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Defensive zone coverage
- Elevating his game against stronger competition
- Puck-handling skills and shooting accuracy
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
NHL Player(s) Comparison:
Chris Neil with a better shot
Off The Iron (Interesting Notes):
- Ranked 36th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
- Played for Boston Junior Bruins in off-season
- Drafted in the United States Hockey League
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph