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OHL: Nathan Dunkley (2018 NHL Draft Eligible)

Scott Crawford provides a detailed scouting report on Nathan Dunkley, a prospect he describes as "One of the more intriguing players entering the NHL draft this year." Dunkley is currently projected to land somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft (3rd or 4th round). Find out why Crawford finds his game so interesting below.

Nathan Dunkley of the Kingston Frontenacs, recently traded to the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Nathan Dunkley of the Kingston Frontenacs, recently traded to the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Nathan Dunkley 2018 Draft Eligible
Position: C, Shoots L H/W: 5'11", 195 lbs.
Stats to date (GP-G-A-PTS-PIMS) Kingston Frontenacs/London Knights, OHL (46-17-27-44-30)

Skating: An above average skater, but barely. Dunkley is one of the slower forwards on the ice when it is known in the scouting community that he can take off. His first two strides were excellent in minor midget, but he has not taken that talent to the OHL. In the defensive zone, he is a completely different player skating around his own end looking to challenge for the loose puck. He is the first forward back on defense but is caught floating once his team retrieves the puck. He has decent turns around the net, but he lacks speed when he has the puck and he is skating one on one into the offensive zone. Grade: 50

Shot: His shot is most dangerous shot when he is standing in front of the net either putting a wrist shot past the opposing goaltender or collecting the secondary chances. When he was playing with the Kingston Frontenacs he was very reliant on Jason Robertson setting up plays for him to shoot. He is good with the slap shot if it is set up for him, but he cannot launch a good slap shot by himself. Right now, for the London Knights he is becoming a steady player in front of the net for and helping the Knights who were lacking a presence in front of the net. Grade: 50

Skills: Comparable skills with Ty Dellandrea, but Dunkley is not as quick with the puck as Dellandrea. Instead he plays a slower style of play that draws defenders to him and he relies on his stick work more than his skating to get around players and create his own space. His lack of speed hurts his puck handling when he is entering the zone. He will choose to do a dump and chase sequence to help him move the puck into the offensive zone. His puck handling skills are safer than Dellandrea’s in the defensive zone. He shows more patience and works the puck around his net to regroup and start a new play. He still lacks the offensive stick handling chops to be creative and contribute more in the offensive zone when he has the puck. Grade: 50

Smarts: Another smart player that Dale Hunter needed in his lineup. Dunkley demonstrates the right understanding of how to play away from the puck. He may be a slow skater with the puck, but he understands the importance of playing defense in his own end and in the neutral zone. He is a reliable back checker and is usually the first forward back to support his defensemen. Away from the puck on the offensive end he puts so much trust in his teammates to drive the offense because he knows he can get open better than he can driving to the net with the puck. The strategy is working as he now is contributing offense for the London Knights on a consistent basis. He can play both as a presence in front of the net and screen the goaltender or he can move into the high slot area and be open for a shot on net. His maturity as a role player is evident and he seems to be a coachable player and his teammates like him. The drawback to his away game on offense is if his teammates struggle to get him the puck he will float around in the offensive zone in confusing fashion. Grade: 55

Physicality: Not a big player in height, but acts likes one in front of the net. He is an excellent body in front of the net and knows how to push his body weight around near the crease. He is tough in the offensive zone and he uses that toughness to battle for loose pucks in dirty areas behind his opponent’s net. Lacks the intensity in open ice 50/50 battles and lets smaller players push him around in the neutral zone. Grade: 55

Summary: One of the more intriguing players entering the NHL draft this year, Nathan Dunkley is strong in some areas, but lacking in others. He is a decent skater, but either lacks the speed in his skating or chooses to play a slower style that is questionable once he graduates to the pros. A consistent scorer this year thanks in large part to his smart play in front of the net and his ability to get open in front of the net. An extremely smart player at both ends, especially in the defensive zone, but he needs to improve his stick handling work. When he is moving at a slow pace he can protect the puck, but once the speed of the game changes he struggles and depends on his teammates to bail him out. Physically he needs to be consistent because he can be intense in some moments in the offensive zone and when he backchecks, but completely disappears when he is challenging in the defensive zone and the neutral zone.

Overall Future Projection (OFP): 51.75