2015-16 Team: Green Bay Gamblers (#20)
Date of birth: March 17th, 1998
Place of birth: Parkland, Florida
Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 205 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 1st year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking (February): Unranked
- Bob Mckenzie (TSN): Unranked
- Craig Button (TSN): 78
- HockeyProspect.com: Unranked
Originally from Florida, Andrew Peeke played his first season in the USHL in 2015-2016. Despite being taken in both the OHL and USHL Drafts, Peeke elected to play for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and played his way into the conversation as a top three round selection after tallying 30 points in 56 games on top of his outstanding defensive play. After starting the season with little expectations regarding the NHL Draft, Peeke’s strong all-around play has him as the 57th-ranked North American Skater by Central Scouting’s final rankings.
Peeke is an imposing presence on the blueline, standing 6’3″ and weighing in at 205 pounds at just 18 years of age. While the NHL seems to be moving in the direction of skill over size and physicality, Peeke’s combination of size, strength, and improving skill should be in high demand on draft day. Similar to big, shutdown defensemen in previous drafts such as Brandon Carlo in 2015, Peeke will be hard-pressed to crack the top 30 selections, but his high floor ensures he will be among the top 90 picks in this summer’s draft.
While Peeke’s size and strength is his main selling point, his skating ability and developing puck skills indicate he could be more than just a defensive defender as he moves up the ranks. His skating ability is above-average for the position, and he flashed great puck control and strong passing ability throughout the USHL season. While still viewed as a defense-first blueliner, Peeke contributed to the Gamblers’ offense on a consistent basis, even earning some power play time. It’s unlikely Peeke ever posts big numbers on offense, but his knack for smoothly thwarting oncoming attackers and ability to quickly move the puck back up the other way means he won’t be an offensive slouch, either.
Peeke is a smart and safe rearguard with improving skill and an already established physical game. While his puck skills and skating speed are still a work in progress, he has shown the physical tools and promising frame throughout his USHL campaign to eventually develop into a solid NHL rearguard. If he could consistently use his size and strength to his advantage and continue to improve his skating, Peeke could eventually develop into a rock solid second-pairing defender in the NHL.
NHL Draft Projection:
Peeke has picked up steam as a draft riser after a strong season in the USHL, but after being left off of Team USA’s World Under-18 Championship roster, Peeke will likely be off the draft board as a late second or early third round pick.
Peeke is Team USA’s best defender at sealing opponents off into No Man’s Land and forcing them into hasty and costly decisions. The steady and clean manner in which he can switch from shut down to up-ice transition is reminiscent of Noah Hanifin, except Peeke is far more physical and possesses a harder shot. That isn’t necessarily saying he’s a better defenseman or prospect than Hanifin, but Peeke, who has already caught the eye of NHL Central Scouting with a spot on their 2016 draft “Watch List”, can certainly hold down the fort along his blue line in a similar fashion.
Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
Big, mobile defenceman with great vision and hockey sense. Possesses a hard, accurate shot, but needs to use it more. Smooth skater, but has room for improvement in his acceleration with the puck. Reads plays well in his own end and has a well-rounded understanding of the defensive game. Starting to play a gritty game, but that will take time to develop. Physical game is definitely ripening.
- Heavy shot
- Above average mobility
- Physical play
- Special teams play
- Strong defensive awareness
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Confidence with puck
- Release on shot
- Skating speed
Peeke is a big, physical player who has shown the potential to deliver a bit more offense in the coming years with a strong first season in the USHL. He could eventually become the physical, defensive half of a strong second pairing.
NHL Player(s) Comparison – Braydon Coburn
Risk = 1.5/5 Reward = 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive = 3/10 Defensive = 8/10
- 2015-2016 World Jr. A Challenge Bronze Medal
Shots From the Slot (Interesting Notes):
Despite committing to The University of Notre Dame in 2014, Peeke was taken in the 15th round of the 2014 OHL Draft, 298th overall, by the Ottawa 67’s.
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph
Joseph Aleong is an At-Large writer for THW from Toronto, Ontario. He is a graduate of Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Follow him on Twitter @josephaleong11