Name: Ty Dellandrea
Team: Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Stats: 27 goals, 32 assists, 59 points, 48 PIMs, -30 rating
NHL Central Scouting Ranking: #25 (North American Skaters)
NHL Comparable player: Brayden Schenn
There’s always a context to a prospect’s numbers. For example, that -30 rating looks bad, but that’s because plus/minus is one of the most ill-conceived stats ever.
Ty Dellandrea played for the Flint Firebirds. If that team’s name rings a bell, it’s because they were infamous for having an owner that fired its entire coaching staff because they wouldn’t play the owner’s son. Miraculously, this year’s Firebirds team was actually worse than that 2015-2016 team.
With 194 goals scored and 316 goals allowed, it’s only natural that Dellandrea’s numbers don’t pop out. Still, the 6’0”, 185 pound center was the team’s leading goal scorer, and all situations pivot.
Dellandrea isn’t a dazzling player. His puck handling is good but not great. He’s not incredibly creative, and his shot doesn’t tattoo the targets. However, he keeps it simple enough to be highly effective.
The truth is, there is still creativity involved in simple plays — and that’s where Dellandrea stands out. Turning a small chip into an adroit pass, putting himself in prime position for rebounds, identifying the release points with footwork, and pivoting toward high danger areas keeps the center from Toronto an intriguing pick for teams in need of a straight forward, tools-y center who can log tough minutes.
Corey Pronman sees a lot to like.
He’s a good skater who can build speed well going through the neutral zone. He’s very powerful at full speed with a strong frame that is hard to contain when he drives to the net or tries to beat a defender to the outside. Dellandrea can make a skilled play to get a zone entry, showing the odd flash of higher level skill and has above-average vision. His shot is heavy and he can finish chances when he gets them. Dellandrea also is a quality defensive center who can kill penalties well and take critical draws.
Steve Kournianos considers Dellandrea the eighth best center in the draft. And a head scout for Future Considerations considers his ceiling as a “very good 2C” who projects to be a transition pivot with a “thinking man’s game.”
Teams can always use these players. Everybody wants their prospect to be the next big star, or rookie sensation. But ultimately you need the unsung heroes, and blue collar workers too. I don’t consider Vegas a model for anything. They’re an anomaly propped up by unreal goaltending, and two teams (Florida and Minnesota) making equally unreal mistakes. However, you can see the makings of a good team with or without either thanks to a focus on their two-way play.
If there’s a proverbial red flag, it’s another context to his numbers. More than half of his points were on the power play (with 30). Granted, production is production. It’s silly to hold something like that against him; like some critics did against Casey Mittelstadt. But for a player teetering near the first round and into the second, there might be pause for concern.
Other numbers are more kind, however. Dellandrea only shot at eight percent this season at even strength. That shooting percentage will go up not just because of a standard regression, but because he was sixth in the OHL in high danger shots at even strength among draft eligible players. I think there are more interesting players at the top of the first round and into the second. But there are few as well rounded.