2019-20 Team: Calgary Hitmen
Date of Birth: May 6, 2002
Place of Birth: Edmonton, AB, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 217 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year draft eligibility
- NHL Central Scouting: 130th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 126th
- Josh Bell’s Top 155 Final Rankings: 149th
- Larry Fisher’s Top 500 Final Rankings: 139th
With defensemen becoming more engaged in the offense in today’s game, it’s hard to come by players who prioritize defense. You rarely see the prototypical stay-at-home defenseman who is capable of shutting things down, like you did in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Calgary Hitmen’s defenseman Luke Prokop fits that description and he excels at what he does.
There is a lot to like in regards to Prokop’s skillset. Despite his commitment to defense, he has great mobility and speed for his size as he can contribute on the offensive side of things on the ice. He’s able to carry the puck into the offensive zone while also being able to stretch the play up the ice with his passing.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
The defensive game is where Prokop shines. Because of his speed, he’s able to close the gap on his opponents and keep them to the outside. This allows him to engage in puck battles and his size allows him to out-muscle the opposition. His long reach lets him poke check the puck in order to break the play up, while also providing strong positional coverage in front of the net. With Prokop’s size, he’s not afraid to be aggressive when he can step up and make a big hit.
While teams focus more on puck-moving defensemen, there’s still a benefit to having a player like Prokop in your system. It takes a lot of skill to prioritize defense and he does just that.
Related THW Profiles
Luke Prokop- Draft Projection
In most rankings, Prokop is well outside of the top 100 prospects in this year’s draft. Despite the lack of offensive production compared to other defenseman in the draft, selecting him as a fifth or sixth-round pick could be great value given his ability to be a reliable shutdown defender.
“The bread and butter of Prokop’s game is his work in his own end of the ice. His strong skating allows him to maintain good gap control. He forces attackers to the outside of the zone and into bad angles to shoot the puck. His lateral agility makes him tough to beat in one-on-one situations. Prokop can use his size to lay a big hit if an attacker has his head down. However, he is disciplined. He does not take too many penalties and does not get himself out of position looking for that hit. Prokop is also able to battle with opponents in the corners and clears the front of the net well. He does a good job of defending against the cycle and keeping his man from taking the puck to the front of the net.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey
“Luke Prokop is a strong player who utilizes his size to his advantage in corner puck battles. The 2017 seventh overall selection in the WHL bantam draft is definitely defensive-minded, however, it exhibits a further offensive upside. Prokop has shown terrific gap control and making outlet passes to be a strength, while in the offensive zone, Prokop is terrific when it comes to sending hard low shots to the net which are often redirected, the young defender showing all this while playing minimal power play.” – Fred Mayer, Dub Network
- Defensive play
- Gap Control
Under Constructions (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive production
Prokop should be a serviceable depth defenseman in the NHL. He would definitely be more suited in a third-pairing role, while being able to see minutes on the penalty kill and in situations where a lead needs to be protected.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 1/5, Reward- 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 5/10, Defense- 7.5/10
In 2017-18, Prokop was a Canadian Sport School Hockey League champion with the Northern Alberta Xtreme Prep team. He was also a runner-up in the WHL Cup. Prokop also represented Canada at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in 2018-19, playing for Team White.