2016-17 Team: Swift Current Broncos (#17)
Date of Birth: January 7, 1998
Place of Birth: Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 188 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 second-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): not ranked (final)
- Future Considerations: 105th (final)
- ISS: not ranked (May)
- Bob McKenzie: not ranked (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 62nd (final)
- The Hockey News: not ranked (final)
A year ago, Swift Current Broncos forward Tyler Steenbergen was thought to be a long-shot to be selected in the NHL Draft. A very useful WHL rookie, Steenbergen had 46 points and managed to earn a 199th ranking from Central Scouting among North American skaters – making him unlikely to be selected. As a WHL sophomore, things just clicked for Steenbergen and he had a tremendous season.
Steenbergen spent much of the season on a line with import forward Aleksi Heponiemi. With the speedy Finn by his side, he went on a scoring tear. He amassed 90 points, just shy of double his rookie production, and scored 51 goals, tied for the league lead and more than double his rookie total. The secret? The little things that didn’t quite work out for him as a rookie happened to click; his passes more frequently found homes and his shots hit the net (and not the goaltender) more often. Spending extra time on the power play certainly didn’t hurt.
Steenbergen’s a really solid WHLer. The challenges for him going forward are to a certain extent his size, and to a larger extent his ability to build upon his monstrous 2016-17 season. Can he create offense at even strength? Can he maintain his shooting percentage? Can he round out his game with a bit more attention to his defensive responsibilities? There’s a good foundation laid for Steenbergen, but due to his age he arguably has a slightly shorter runway for development than the first year eligible players in the 2017 Draft.
NHL Draft Projection
Steenbergen should go somewhere between the third and fifth rounds, depending on whether teams are scared off a bit by his age.
Compared to being undrafted last year, some team is going to have to pay a pretty penny to grab @SCBroncos Tyler Steenbergen in the draft.
— DraftBuzz Hockey (@draftbuzzhockey) April 11, 2017
“Steenbergen became the centrepiece of Swift Current’s offence, improving from 20 to 51 goals this season over last, enough to share the WHL lead. He performed well in the playoffs as Swift Current’s second-leading scorer with 14 points in 14 games. The speedy pivot edges well and is a threat both on the rush and in front of the net. He comes off the wall well with a lightning quick release.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet.
- Good skater
- Excellent shot
- Effective puck distributor
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to add some muscle to his frame
- Could improve his play away from the puck a bit
- A bit reliant on power play time for offensive production
Steenbergen projects as a third line center who can defend well and add offense.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 7.5/10, Defense 7.5/10
Steenbergen was tied for the WHL’s league lead in goals this season. He was named an Eastern Conference Second Team All-Star and was the winner of the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player Award.
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.