2021-22 Team: Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Date of Birth: March 11, 2004
Place of Birth: Ottawa, ON
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 183 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 122nd (amongst NA skaters)
- McKeen’s Hockey: 134th
- TSN/Craig Button: 91st
- Recruit Scouting: 137th
- Baracchini’s Top-160 Final Rankings: 108th
- Zator’s Top-128 Final Rankings: 99th
One thing that the NHL Playoffs have taught us over the decades is that depth wins championships. It’s not always the stars that push teams to greatness, it’s often the role players like Kris Draper, Sammi Pahlsson and Blake Coleman that make the difference in the end. All that to say, Kocha Delic could be one of those players in the next five years.
Related: THW’s FREE 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Boasting a skillset based on speed, tenacity and a motor that never cools down, Delic is a player tailor-made for the postseason. Yes, he’s undersized, but that shouldn’t matter anymore in the NHL these days as many smaller players have gotten it done despite their lack of size, including Cole Caufield, Alex DeBrincat, Conor Garland, Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar.
Selected in the second round by the Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) 2021 Priority Selection, Delic, like many others, did not have an OHL team to play for during the 2020-21 season. So, instead of potentially losing a season of development, he searched for other opportunities elsewhere.
After discussing it with his parents, Delic joined Karlskrona HK’s J18 team in the J18 Region league. Unfortunately, just before the transfer became official, the league was paused due to the pandemic. He attempted to catch on with a pro team in Varnamo, which was eventually shut down as well. Moving to Belgrade, where he had family and connections in Serbian hockey, he tried again to play some organized hockey. In the end, it wasn’t meant to be, but he still was able to learn more about his family and culture by living with his uncle for a month.
All in all, it was a trying year for Delic as he never got to play even one game of hockey after all the travelling and work to join leagues that were still active amidst the pandemic. All that shows his commitment to the game and the work ethic he possesses. A work ethic that was passed down by his mom and dad, who had to fight tooth and nail to succeed in Canada.
Basically, Delic is the type of player and person every coach and general manager (GM) wants on their team and in their locker room. He knows the value of hard work, and it shows in his game on the ice and his personality off of it. Just ask his current GM Rob Papineau, and he’ll tell you how much he values his presence on the team.
Kocha never complains, and he just wants to play…He’s relentless…It’s in his DNA. Whether he’s chasing a puck or an opportunity to play, he doesn’t know what the word ‘quit’ means.
That was reflected in Delic’s relentless pursuit of playing time during the pandemic in 2020-21. There were many players that just accepted the fact that their season was over. He didn’t. And even though he never got to play anywhere, that type of work ethic was definitely noticed by scouts and GMs alike. That, combined with his motor, hockey IQ and projectable defensive game will get him into the NHL one day. Bottom line is, that you should never count him out. 2020-21 proved that much.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Kocha Delic – NHL Draft Projection
Ranked as high as 91st and as low as 137th, look for Delic to be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth round. He might even be drafted earlier given the playoff-ready package he is projected to have in the NHL. Like I said at the outset of this profile, players like him are gold in the postseason. If I was a betting man, I would bet on Delic being a force for a Stanley Cup winner one day.
“Delic has some impressive first steps and is able to get to top speed quickly. And while his top speed isn’t elite, it is good and I can only imagine it getting better as he adds some needed lower body strength. But his mobility in top flight is impressive. Strong edges and lateral movement enable him to take on defenders in one-on-one situations. I view Delic as more of a playmaker than a goal scorer although his stats show that scoring goals is not a problem for him. I think Delic has a very high Hockey IQ and he processes the game quickly and has shown some impressive anticipation. He can also slow the game down, buy his teammates some time to get into open lanes and he more often than not finds them” – Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
“Undersized OHL play driving centre with a high motor and playmaking skills. His skating makes him a long term development prospect, as he hunches and takes so many strides to get anywhere. He does show that short burst quickness and he is hockey smart, passes the puck well and understands timing. He simply is better keeping it simple and short ranges and not playing after than he can handle. He shows up regardless of his flaws.” – Bill Placzek, Lines.com
“Pace is the name of Delic’s game. Delic’s pace appears in his distribution rather than his physical speed. His touches are short but far from simple. In just a second or two, he identifies a positive play, receives the puck, passes through a defender, and then gets open for the return pass. He anticipates where his teammates will be and layers on a bit of deception to ensure the puck will get through. Along with the playmaking comes effectiveness in puck battles and in the defensive zone…” – Mitch Brown, EP Rinkside (from ‘Meet the Team: Canada’s roster for the 2022 U18 World Hockey Championship’, 4/20/22)
- Work ethic
- Two-way game
- Hockey IQ
- Good first few steps
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Skating mechanics
- Continue to develop defensive game
At the height of his prime, Delic will be a tenacious pivot in the mould of Anthony Cirelli or Dave Bolland. On just his work ethic and motor alone, I project at least a third-line matchup center as his floor. His ceiling, if he has anything to say about it, will be the top-six with the potential to score 20-25 goals. With his attitude, I wouldn’t put it past him, that’s for sure.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defence – 7/10
Delic played for Team Canada at the 2022 U18 World Championship where he scored two goals in four games.
Kocha Delic Statistics
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.