2016-17 Team: Tri-City Americans (#25)
Date of Birth: March 22, 1999
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 150 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): not ranked (final)
- Future Considerations: not ranked (final)
- ISS: not ranked (May)
- Bob McKenzie: not ranked (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 104th (final)
- The Hockey News: 89th (final)
Every National Hockey League draft has players with different sets of attributes. Some players are extremely skilled. Some are prodigiously large. Some players are incredible skaters. Sometimes an exceptional attribute is enough to elevate a player into being a really intriguing prospect. Tri-City Americans forward Kyle Olson is a solid all-around player with good offensive skill, but he’s elevated by his hustle and fearlessness.
Olson is a solid 200-foot WHLer. He’s not a big body, but he makes up for it with his hustle. In hockey parlance: Olson has a great motor. He plays at a very high tempo and isn’t afraid to crash and bang when he’s on the ice. The majority of his YouTube search results are fights, likely a reflection of his tenacity and fearlessness on the ice. He’s otherwise a solid if unspectacular player – good with the puck, decent away from it and occasionally knocked around because of his size – but his on-ice tempo is what makes him stand out from the crowd. When he’s on his game, he bounces around the ice and creates havoc – which creates opportunities for his teammates.
As the 56th ranked North American skater by Central Scouting, Olson seems like a safe bet to be selected in the 2017 NHL Draft. He’s not a gigantic player and typically smaller players slide a bit on draft day, but he’s also a tenacious enough player that his size probably won’t be much of a short-coming. Few teams have a player as fearless in their system as Olson.
NHL Draft Projection
Olson seems like a good bet to go in the fourth or fifth round, but he may slide a bit due to concerns with his size.
“Kyle Olson is another surprising threat at both ends of the ice and is as fearless as they come. A smaller winger, Olson gets pushed around a ton but gets right back up and will skate to the dangerous areas of the ice. A real patient player with the puck on his stick. Intelligent playmaker who waits for defence to make a move first, then can adjust on the spot and make a play out of nothing. Spark plug goes hard to the net and is not afraid to go to the greasy areas to get a goal or to create a scoring opportunity. He is not afraid of going in the corners and engaging physically with anybody, any size, any time.” – Hockey Now.
- Strong fore-checker and back-checker
- Plays a smart physical game, not afraid to crash and bang
- Good on-ice vision and hockey sense
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to add muscle to his frame if he wants to play the same style as a pro
- Could be a bit better in the defensive zone, in terms of anticipating attacks
- Aside from his ability to play with pace, arguably has no exceptional attributes
Bottom six energy forward.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 7.5/10
Olson represented Canada at the Under-18 World Championship.
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.