2020-21 Team: U.S. National Development Team
Date of Birth: Mar. 4, 2003
Place of Birth: Strongsville, OH, USA
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 29th (amongst NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 51st
- Dobber Prospects: 35th
- Smaht Scouting: 20th
- Recruit Scouting: 34th
- Draft Pro Hockey: 40th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 54th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 17th
Throughout the 2019-20 season, Dylan Duke managed to make a strong impression on those who watched him play. In 46 games with the U.S. National U17 team, he posted 29 goals and 47 points, which was third-most in the U17. He then made the jump to the U18 development team and posted 25 goals and 44 points in 43 games so far.
Now heading into the 2021 Draft, Duke has put himself into the conversation as one of the top players available. By playing a strong two-way game, he could be that prospect which every franchise dreams of having in their farm system. Sure, his high-end potential may be limited compared to a top scorer, but his impact on the ice could be just as important.
See, Duke is willing to do all of the dirty work needed to succeed on the ice. He plays tough along the board, lays down hits, shirks off opponents as he drives the net, and will post up directly in front of the goalie to bang in rebounds. So while he may not be that sexy 30 goal-scoring forward, he still has the qualities of a top-end prospect.
Also of note is that Duke is committed to playing hockey with the University of Michigan Wolverines starting in 2022-23. This could give him a few years to refine his game with a top University, which may allow him to develop into a standout two-way forward.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Dylan Duke – NHL Draft Projection
Two-way forwards can be difficult to project on Draft day, as they are just as likely to slip down the board as they are to make a jump if a team falls in love with their potential. In Duke’s case, his stock is all over, with some saying he will be a surefire top-20 pick, while others see him falling to the late second round.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
If he were bigger, I could see a mid-first-round selection making sense, but given his size, Duke strikes me as a player who will slip down the board some. However, given the body of work he has compiled in 2021, I don’t expect him to fall very far past the 25 to 35 range.
Good finisher with a strong release who excels as a net front presence despite his small stature. Needs to add pace to his game but has potential as a middle six goal scorer at the NHL level.Nick Richard – Dobberprospects.com
Duke’s shot is his best tool, bar none, and he knows it. He shoots nearly 4 times a game (via InStat Hockey) and averages 2 on net. His wrist shot release is so quick and powerful, and he can pick his spots at will. His aforementioned one timer isn’t super heavy, but it’s accurate enough that it doesn’t matter.Alex Taxman – futurescopehockey.com
- Two-way forward that can play that vital utility role for a franchise.
- Willing to play tough in front of the net.
- Great shot
- While not particularly large, Duke is strong on his feet.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Duke isn’t the strongest skater, which could limit his top-end potential. If a team is able to improve this aspect of his game, he could blossom as a forward.
In order to build a Stanley Cup caliber roster, a team needs all types of players, from superstars to tough third-line forwards who grit out game-winning goals. While he may still have a ways to go in his development, Duke has the potential to be that type of forward in three to five years.
Will he ever be a top-end goal scorer? Likely not. But he has the talent and toolkit to become that pain in your neck third-liner that fans are ecstatic to have on their roster, even if he is only playing 13 to 15 minutes each night.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
There doesn’t feel like a lot of risk when it comes to selecting Duke as long as he isn’t a reach in the mid-first-round. You know the type of player he can be, and as long as you hold your expectations in check, he can provide a lot to your team.
Dylan Duke Statistics
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.