Luca Del Bel Belluz- 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Luca Del Bel Belluz

2021-22 Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Date of Birth: Nov. 10, 2003
Place of Birth: Woodbridge, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 179 lbs
Shoots: L
Position: C
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

Luca Del Bel Belluz made an astonishing leap from his first season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to his second season. He struggled as a rookie in 2019-20 with just one goal and five assists in 58 games for the Mississauga Steelheads. The lapse of time between OHL action from the beginning stages of the pandemic in March 2020 until the start of the 2021-22 season benefitted the top-line center. He leads the Steelheads with 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 67 games this season.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

McKeen’s Hockey attributed the surge of offensive production to “explosiveness out of pivots or cuts” that make up for his below-average skating ability. His lack of linear speed stunted his offensive game in 2019-20, and it might still hold him back to some extent down the road. However, his “agility, edgework, and weaving ability” have helped him put together some isolated highlight-reel goals with Mississauga this season that make him look like a top-notch skater.

According to NHL Draft Central, Del Bel Belluz is the 11th-best available North American skater eligible for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. He can contribute offensively as both a playmaker and a shooter. His tall, slender body frame isn’t perfectly seasoned for the NHL just yet. However, when Mississauga drafted him in 2019, he immediately acknowledged the need to get bigger and stronger to compete at a higher level. His overall improvement this year demonstrates his willingness and motivation to work at his development, a trait that could help him prepare for the NHL after he is drafted.

Luca Del Bel Belluz Mississauga Steelheads
Luca Del Bel Belluz, Mississauga Steelheads (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Del Bel Belluz is a responsible 200-foot center, but his defensive game currently lacks the physicality needed to compete at the NHL level. If he fills out significantly, it could help him make contributions as a two-way center in the most physical league in the world. He has also proven himself capable in the faceoff dot, a trait that many 200-foot NHL centers also keep in their repertoire to add value to their overall game.

His excellent hands have also helped him compensate for a lack of breakaway speed in the neutral zone. The ability to maintain puck control entering the offensive zone is becoming an even bigger point of emphasis in the NHL in recent seasons, and the ability of Del Bel Belluz to enter with poise and create opportunities as a skillful playmaker will undoubtedly attract NHL general managers in July.

The Woodbridge, ON native has played in his own backyard since Mississauga selected him as the first pick of the third round in the 2019 OHL Draft. He described himself as a “leader on and off the ice” after the selection. The Puck Authority complimented his performance at the Pacific Elite Prospect (PEP) Showcase, when he “matched up very well against Shane Wright, getting in his way and in his head.” The two prospects squared off in the 2019 OHL Cup also when Del Bel Belluz played for the Toronto Red Wings.

The Steelheads surprised the rest of the OHL with a hot start in 2021-22, but they have hit a rough spot down the stretch. They have slipped to fourth place in the Eastern Conference as losers of 10 of their last 14 games. Del Bel Belluz and teammates Owen Beck and Zakary Lavoie hope to help their squad recover for a deep playoff run. The organization has also produced high-profile prospects like Owen Tippett and Michael McLeod in recent years.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Luca Del Bel Belluz- NHL Draft Projection

Del Vel Belluz will likely come off the board late in the first round or early in the second round. His offensive production in the OHL is enough to make him an enticing prospect as a potential middle-six centerman. His hockey sense provides enough strength to the point where NHL teams won’t write off his 200-foot game as a deterrent. The leap in offensive production from year one to year two in the OHL should also inspire confidence in further development.

Quotables

“Diving deeper into the numbers and footage, it’s clear that Del Bel Belluz is one of the few players that benefited from the OHL’s canceled season in 2020-21. The extended break allowed him to work on all facets of his game, with his front-line skating having improved tremendously since his rookie season.” –Jordan Jacklin, The Puck Authority

“This young man can dangle with the best of them. His hands afford him the time and space that he needs to operate given that his feet are not the quickest. This is extremely obvious in transition as DelBelBelluz still manages to be excellent at gaining entry into the offensive zone despite lacking power and grace. He uses his frame well to protect the puck and he can keep it on a string to bide time until a passing or shooting lane develops. His hands are top notch as he rarely misses passes, even in full stride, and has worked hard to limit his turnovers this year despite being a creative playmaker.” –Brock Otten, Mckeen’s Hockey

“Mississauga Steelhead forward Luca Del Bel Belluz, who aside from having one of the best handles in this draft is rocketing up the draft charts.” –Bob McKenzie, TSN

Strengths 

  • Balanced offensive production as a scorer and a playmaker
  • Above-average hands carrying the puck
  • Defensively responsible
  • Skating (edgework)
  • Faceoffs
  • Capability for accelerated player development

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Skating (breakaway speed)
  • Size and physicality

NHL Potential

Del Bel Belluz still has plenty of development ahead of him. If can replicate the same type of progress he’s made at the OHL level, he will have a bright future. The likeliest role for him in the NHL is as a middle-six center. He shows some of the same characteristics as Sean Couturier, a tall and slender center who takes a good cerebral approach in the defensive zone without being the most physical player. Couturier developed slowly at the NHL level, but he has reached his ceiling in recent seasons. Del Bel Belluz might not reach the status of a Selke Trophy winner or a top-line center, but he could emulate Couturier’s game and give value to his team down the middle.

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk 3/5, Reward 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense 7/10, Defense 8/10

Awards/ Achievements

Del Bel Belluz helped the Toronto Red Wings to the championship game of the OHL Cup in 2019. He will finish as the leading scorer for the Mississauga Steelheads in 2021-22, and he will compete in the OHL playoffs this spring.

Luca Del Bel Belluz Statistics

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