2017-18 Team: Saskatoon Blades (#17)
Date of Birth: January 10, 2000
Place of Birth: Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 173 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): not in top 125 (final)
- Future Considerations: 96th (final)
- ISS: not in top 31 (final)
- Bob McKenzie: not in top 93 (final)
- Craig Button: not in top 100 (final)
Every National Hockey League draft class has a few sleeper picks in it. Sleepers are players that may not have garnered a ton of attention during their draft year, but have a few traits that suggest they could break out. Saskatoon Blades forward Eric Florchuk finished the 2017-18 season as the 110th-ranked North American skater by the Central Scouting, but he could end up being a superb value pick.
Florchuk was originally drafted into the WHL by the Victoria Royals and had a solid rookie season in 2016-17 as he put up 9 points over 51 games. He began this past season with the Royals, but was traded after amassing 28 points in 43 games as the Royals hedged their bets regarding a potential playoff run – the trade netted them a pair of first round draft picks. He ended up with the Blades, where he had 21 points in 28 games following the trade in a larger role than he had with Victoria.
He’s a versatile forward, being able to play on the wing or up the middle effectively – though he’s a little bit better at creating offense consistently playing on the wing. The worst thing you can say about Florchuk is that he’s not exceptional at anything. The best thing you can say about Florchuk is that his game lacks big holes. He’s effective in all three zones and is equally adept at generating offense as he is at negating the other team’s attackers.
If there are areas where Florchuk needs to improve to be a successful pro, they’re his consistency and his physicality. He went through a few long cold stretches offensively and overall had 37 games without a point – making his impressive production a product of effectively half of his season. If he can harness that offensive talent over a full season, he’ll be very potent. He needs to bulk up a bit and protect the puck better with his body, but those parts of his game may improve as he matures.
Florchuk is the type of player that coaches love because he’s not bad at anything, meaning that he can be trusted to be thrown onto the ice in virtually any situation. While he’s not a perfect player, his reliability means he’ll get tons of opportunities to round out his game and augment his skill-set. Florchuk likely won’t go particularly early in the 2018 NHL Draft, but he’s a good bet to progress significantly in his post-draft seasons.
Eric Florchuk – NHL Draft Projection
Florchuk seems likely to be taken somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds.
“Eric Florchuk is a toolsy, well-rounded centre that has recorded 14 points in 19 games in a support role. The former 13th overall pick in the WHL Bantam Draft doesn’t excel in any one particular area, but is serviceable in all avenues of the game. He can score points both by crashing the net and fighting for loose pucks and by showing off crisp puck movement on the rush.” – Derek Neumeier, Recrutes
Eric Florchuk has been impressive. Long efficient stride creates deceptive speed. Staal-esque. Conscious and committed defender.
— Donesh Mazloum (@DMaz16) October 19, 2017
- Good situational awareness in all three zones
- Good puck distributor
- Effective fore-checker
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Arguably doesn’t have a single high-end attribute to his game
- Needs to work on his offensive consistency
- Could stand to add muscle to his frame
Other 2018 NHL Draft Profiles
Florchuk projects as a third line forward, either on the wing or at center.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 8/10
Florchuk represented Canada at the World Under-17 Challenge, capturing a silver medal.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.