exciting to watch … plays at high speed and tempo … strong 200-foot game … constantly competing … strength to his stride … plays confident, ISS Hockey 2017
The Draft Analyst:
Powerful center with excellent playmaking abilities and game-changing speed who has the potential to become a top-line pivot in the NHL. Turcotte, who’s father Alfie was a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1983, was a key contributor for both the NTDP’s under-17 and under-18 programs, including a midseason promotion to the latter where he produced 16 points in 19 games in a limited role.
Turcotte is a low-maintenance center in that he can excel in both optimal and non-optimal conditions, plus handle physicality better than most offensive forwards. He is a fast, agile skater with a wide, powerful stride and the balance of a seasoned NHL power forward. Getting knocked off the puck while he’s either static or moving is something you rarely see.
Turcotte possesses superior vision and passing ability, and it’s clear from his first shift that he understands the game’s intricacies and nuances that require a center to develop chemistry with his linemates. He plays smart hockey with his head on a swivel and attacks with decisiveness, maintaining situational awareness no matter how fast he’s motoring up ice.
Turcotte is one of the few draft-eligible forwards who can time his passes with precision while moving as fast as he can. Although he seems to like to defer to the pass, Turcotte owns a hard, accurate wrist shot with a quick release, and he’s proven to snap off high-velocity shots within tight windows.
Turcotte isn’t a very big guy but he plays a pretty big game. His skating is high level and his all-around game jumps off the ice pretty quickly. It’s obvious he’s comfortable in all three zones, though he rarely spends much even strength time on defense. He covers his position well and his defensive game is one the reasons I really enjoy watching Turcotte play. I’m not sure about all the talk surrounding him as a potential Selke guy down the road because there are about five of those guys on earth at any given time but his defensive acumen is absolutely going to play in the NHL.
His offensive profile, however, is something I’m a little less convinced about. Playing on a stacked team against significantly weaker competition every game isn’t a great barometer for finding future success in his style of play. He’s a very smart player, though, and he’s the real deal as a playmaker. How much of that translates in the next levels of hockey will play a major role in if he becomes a dynamic top-flight center or more of a guy with Ryan O’Reilly’s ceiling where his defense lags behind his offense just a touch.
Either way, this kid looks like a surefire NHL player and one who should have a very long career ahead of him marking opposing teams’ star player.
He’d be an excellent fit. With Nathan MacKinnon in tow, the pressure immediately is off Turcotte to come in and save the Avalanche and be the face of a generation. He could simply come in, play his game, and take some of the pressure off the league’s top line last season.
Turcotte’s experience playing surrounded by high-caliber talent also means that whatever threat of developing an ego as “The Man” isn’t a real threat because he’s spent his formative years living in the shadow of Jack Hughes. Now that it’s time for him to spread his wings and be his own center, look out. If Colorado got this kid at four, it would be a slam dunk victory.
Ranked #11 by TSN/McKenzie
Ranked #4 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #4 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)