Blake Speers THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 1/2/1997
Place of birth: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2015
THW The Next Ones Rankings (February): not ranked
THW War Room Rankings (March): 69
Future Considerations: not ranked
HockeyProspect.com (February): not ranked
Last Word On Sports (February): not ranked
Craig Button (March): 50
CS Final Rankings for North American skaters (April): 49
After being born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, it was only fitting that Blake Speers would be drafted by his hometown team. Now he’s staking his claim as a future scorer in the NHL, but it won’t come without its fair share of doubts.
Having watched a decent amount of Greyhounds games this year, I wasn’t particularly looking to see what Blake Speers could bring to the table, however he seemed to be effective in the offensive zone almost every game I watched. It played to his favor that the SOO already had NHL draftees from last season like Darnell Nurse (EDM), Jared McCann (VAN), Michael Bunting (ARI), along with offensive standout, Sergei Tolchinsky (CAR). In the offseason they bolstered their lineup for a deep playoff run by adding Anthony DeAngelo (TB), Nick Ritchie (ANH), and Justin Bailey (BUF).
It would seem his offensive production is a direct result of his counterparts on the team, but that’s not entirely true. Speers is lightning quick on his skates which helps him get out of the way of checks. At top speed, his hands are as fast as his feet and he can dangle with the best of them. I was most surprised by his shot. Speers looks for that perfect opening before wiring a wrister past a goalie.
When he’s not shooting, Speers is equally talented at dishing off the puck to his teammates. There were instances over the year where I saw Speers excel in the defensive zone, but I would’ve liked to see more consistency in that area. He relied on his quickness to get back to defend the attack.
The biggest issue for him is his size. Vertically, he could use a few more inches, but his stature isn’t that worrisome. It’s his weight that could cause problems at the NHL level. Players are bigger and faster in the pros and I noticed Speers can get knocked off the puck easily. It’s not that he doesn’t work hard and battles against bigger opponents, it’s just that he doesn’t have the muscle to stand his ground against bigger opponents. At 5’11”, he might get pigeon-holed as a “small player” by NHL standards, but he still shows enough promise to be a well-rounded offensive winger.
Where Will He End Up In June:
Speers could sneak his way into the bottom half of the 2nd round, but a likely scenario will be that he gets drafted somewhere in the 3rd round.
“A solid two-way winger…elite level speed with a very efficient skating stride…good lateral agility…lacks strength and can get knocked off the puck by bigger opponents…handles the puck well and has some deceptively good hands…makes crisp, accurate passes to teammates…has a decent shot…does all the little things to succeed…can kill penalties, work the power play, lead the rush or bring a strong forecheck…has good leadership qualities and possesses the intangibles that make pro aspirations a possibility in his future. (December 2014)”
“Intriguing developmental forward who plays with a short stick and still manages great control of the biscuit and superb accuracy to his shots. Dangerous on the due to his elite speed. Lets go strong snap shots, using defensemen as his screens. Needs to increase his work ethic and stay fully involved and be less of a passenger. Needs to work hard to get open, and get involved more in both zones.Needs to br bigger and stronger.”
Bill Placzek – DraftSite.com
Blake Speers played for Team Canada once for the U17 World Hockey Championships. He scored one goal and three assists in five games.
Risk: 2/5 Reward: 3.5/5
Middle-six winger who makes plays and can chip in on goals. Excels in offensive zone on the PP and ES.
Deking at top speed
Can get back into the play
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 6/10 Defensive: 4/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Kyle Palmieri
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph