Morgan Klimchuk THW Close-Up
Date of Birth: March 2, 1995
Place of Birth: Calgary, AB
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 180 lbs
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013
When looking at young hockey players, more often than not, the headlines and the eyeballs are attracted to the flashy. While the MacKinnons and Drouins of the world are getting attention for highlight-reel goals and exciting players, there are players like Morgan Klimchuk quietly accumulating very strong draft-eligible campaigns.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Klimchuk has followed up on a solid rookie campaign last season (where he put up 36 points in 67 games for Regina) with a quietly excellent year as an 18-year-old. This season, Klimchuk amassed 76 points in 72 games, including scoring as many goals this season (36) as he had points last season.
The key to Klimchuk’s success has been his consistency, both between situations and between games. He’s had 44 games with at least one point. He’s been held off the score-sheet for 28 games, but if you ignore a pair of four-game scoreless droughts, he’s never gone cold for very long. He’s been dynamite for Regina’s power-play, scoring 14 of the team’s 58 power-play markers. He’s scored four game-winners and also added a short-handed goal.
Klimchuk is a smart positional hockey player on both sides of the puck. He’s a savvy skater in the offensive end, but he’s very underrated in his own zone. In situations when the Pats are hemmed into their own zone by the opposition – and that has happened a lot this season – Klimchuk is adept at reading the play and intercepting passes to the point to clear the zone. He doesn’t have break-neck, high-end speed in terms of his skating, but he has smooth acceleration and gets up to speed quickly. He never really looks like he’s exerting a lot of energy on the ice, but he’s almost always in the right spot when he needs to be. He is also smart with the puck, boasting crisp passing and a very accurate shot. His main areas to work on appear to be mental; he’s had a pair of five-point explosions this season, but followed them up with flat performances in the following games. To round out his game, he needs to even things out. He’s already minimized the impact a bad performance will have, but he needs to do the same for his good ones, too.
Another potential detriment for the draft stock of Morgan Klimchuk may be the performance of his team, the Regina Pats. The Pats finished well outside of the Western Hockey League playoffs and earned just 41% of the points available to them. Thus, scouts likely saw Klimchuk fighting his way up-hill in most of their viewings. Along with overage teammate Lane Scheidl, Klimchuk is one of the two best players on his team. Unfortunately, the Pats are in the midst of a rebuilding cycle and don’t really have a lot of players to complement these two players this season. That said, the fact that the Pats don’t have well-stocked cupboards meant that Klimchuk got a chance to carry the mail this season, playing big minutes in every situation and – mostly – thriving. If he was an Edmonton Oil King or Portland Winterhawk, Klimchuk may have won more games (and gotten a chance at the playoffs) but probably wouldn’t have been as crucial to his team’s success.
“The biggest improvement Klimchuk has made from last season is his willingness to go to the net and put away rebounds. He goes into the dirty areas in the ice and takes the punishment to try and score goals from in tight. Klimchuk needs to work on his defensive game, particularly his awareness without the puck to have more impact in games.” – Michelle Sturino, HockeyProspect.com
Klimchuk was a member of Team Canada’s gold-medal winning entry at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Tournament, as well as part of Team Pacific at the 2011 World Under-17 Championship (winning bronze) and Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games (winning bronze).
Risk 1/5, Reward 3/5
- Good hockey sense and anticipation of plays
- Good skater with smooth strides
- Accurate shooter
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Needs to continue to work on defensive zone awareness and positioning
- Needs to work on adding size and strength to compete against bigger pros
- Needs to work on game-to-game consistency
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive 8.5/10, Defensive 7/10
NHL Player(s) Comparison:
He could develop into an Alex Steen or Patrick Sharp – a very capable winger who’s just a half-notch below the NHL’s elite.
When He’ll Go In June:
Based on various rankings, it appears likely that Klimchuk will be chosen in the mid-to-late first round.
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.