2016 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Sam Steel

More than just a great name, Steel is a player that could be a surprise riser at this year's draft

Name: Sam Steel

2015-16 Team: Regina Pats (WHL)

Stats: 72 GP, 23 goals, 47 assists, 70 points, 24 PIMs, -8 rating

Future Considerations Ranking: 35th

NHL Comparable Player: David Krejci

Whether or not Sam Steel will be the best player still available when the Dallas Stars pick 25th overall is a matter of debate, but one thing is for certain: the Stars don't have a prospect right now quite like him.

Steel is a speedy, highly-skilled forward that excels at possessing the puck. He has lightning-quick hands that allow him to keep the puck away from opposing defenders while waiting for the right passing lane to open up. Once that happens Steel is able to use his crisp passing ability to feed the puck through traffic and on to the tape of his teammates.

He's naturally more of a passer than a shooter, but his shot does come off his stick in a hurry, including on one-timers. His wrister is quite accurate when he's moving forward and has a chance to use it from a dangerous area.

Quite possibly the most important thing about Steel, though, is that he thinks the game at a very mature, professional level. Instead of trying to fly into the zone by himself and beat defenders one-on-one, a strategy that works well enough in junior leagues but is much more difficult to pull off in the pros, Steel prefers to wait for his teammates to catch up with the play so that they can use numbers to their advantage. He's a fluid skater and knows how to manipulate the pace of the play to his advantage.

When you combine all of Steel's best attributes together it creates a package that's incredibly dangerous on the power play. He keeps his head up, carefully reading the play, and can get penalty killers mesmerized by his quick dangles while his teammates move around and get into positions to accept a pass.

There are still warts to Steel's game, such as a slight frame and a hesitancy to get involved in necessary physical play (such as puck scrambles and along the boards), but they don't hinder him from being an effective player most games. He's the type of player that you might not notice a lot on a given night, but when you check the score sheet after the game you'll discover that he picked up two or three points.

Steel has been on the bubble of the 1st round for most draft rankings this season, but there's been buzz from some scouts lately about whether or not he's been undervalued. He didn't play for Canada at the IIHF U18s, but he did get a nice pre-draft boost thanks to a strong showing in the WHL playoffs, where he picked up 16 points in 12 games as the Pats stunned a heavily-favored Lethbridge Hurricanes team in a five-game upset and then took the Red Deer Rebels all the way to seven games.

While he might be a bit of a stretch for the Stars at 25th overall, he could still be an excellent complement for the team's prospect pool, which features a number of big, shoot-first forwards that could benefit from another guy that can feed them the puck.