When the Minnesota Wild drafted Alex Tuch 18th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, it was clear that the team was following a formula that other teams have used for success. Tuch, a native of Baldwinsville, New York, has an extremely mature body even though he is just 18 years old. In drafting Tuch, Minnesota got a legitimate power forward that makes his biggest impact banging around in front of the net. Other teams around the league have gone with the size route recently and have had some great success in doing so.
While his size may be his most noticeable characteristic, the 6’3, 213 pound forward possesses far more than just a hulking body to plant in front of the net. Tuch has surprising passing ability for his size and has even drawn some comparisons to Joe Thornton with his anticipation and knowledge of the ice. He seems to always be in the right place at the right time which is a testament to his quick hockey mind.
Tuch’s shot, as you can imagine for a kid of his size, is a cannon. His slapshot was among the heaviest on the USA U-18 team in which he played for last season he has a sneaky wrister that he likes to pull the trigger on to try and catch a goalie snoozing.
Where Alex Tuch has lacked in his development is his footwork and speed. This isn’t to call him slow, but simple anticipation and outmuscling other players for the puck won’t work against bigger and stronger competition that he’ll run into down the road. To make up for it, he protects the puck using his body very well and can overpower defenders and take them with him to the net.
Tuch has committed to stay East and play for the Boston College Eagles next season. This is a great fit for Tuch as he will have an opportunity to play some of the best competition and learn from one of the legendary college hockey coaches in Jerry York. There is absolutely no reason that his development should be stunted while he plays out his college years and may even see some significant time right away for a loaded Eagles squad.
Expect Tuch to stay in school for 2-3 years in order to fine-tune his game. When he begins his professional career, he may be a suitable fit for a third line forward, much like Nino Niederreiter currently has with the Minnesota Wild.
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