Ryan Gropp: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile


Ryan Gropp: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile

More from Avalanche News

The 2014-15 season was unfortunately cut short for the Colorado Avalanche. That means that here at Mile High Sticking, we have a long off-season ahead of us. While the off-season is filled with all different kinds of articles, regarding the playoffs (that we are unfortunately not a part of), Avalanche season reviews, and many other things, it also gives us time to focus on the Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft.

Today we are looking at Ryan Gropp — a North Dakota commit that decided to go the WHL route instead.

View image | gettyimages.com

Name: Ryan Gropp

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’2″, 190 lbs — The Hockey News have him listed as 6’3”

Team/League: Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL

Stats (from eliteprospects.com): 













Risk, Reward: 3/5, 3.5/5

NHL-potential: 2nd or 3rd line wing

Player comparison: Jamie Benn

Draft Range: Late second to mid-third round

Scouting report

Ryan Gropp is the oldest player in the 2015 NHL Draft class, as he missed 2014 eligibility by just one day. A big powerful winger, Gropp tries to model his game after Jamie Benn and many scouts can see that in him. “For me right now it’s Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars,” he said in an interview with ESPN Seattle. “I think he’s a big body who can shoot the puck and is kind of a deceptive skater. I try to model my game after him and take little bits of his game. I’m still working to become a physical force like he is.”

We will turn it around and start with a negative point about Gropp, instead of doing it the traditional way, because he has mentioned it himself. For an aspiring power forward, he isn’t physical or mean enough. Compared to Lawson Crouse, the highest-ranked power forward in this year’s draft class, that becomes very obvious. Crouse simply crushes opponents when he throws his body around, while Gropp’s 6-foot-3 frame seems to be wasted in that regard.

More from Mile High Sticking: Beichler’s Full First Round Mock Draft

However, the large frame helps Gropp make his way past opponents, as he “blasts up and down the wing and fires pucks on net”, as Future Considerations WHL scout Cody Nickolet puts it. Nickolet sees those two traits as NHL-ready, while most of his other traits will need some additional work. Gropp has a smooth skating style, especially for a player his size, and has an exceptionally quick and powerful release.

More from Mile High Sticking

Ryan Gropp is a goal-scorer first and foremost. However, he is not completely blind when it comes to playmaking either. He sees the ice well and has good hockey sense and passing.

Defensively, Gropp is a decent player that does the dirty work, but there are others that do it better. Tries to get physical at times, but doesn’t always succeed. The defensive hockey sense is there and he plays a mature style. The real concern lies somewhere else.

According to The Hockey News, one NHL scout says that he likes Gropp’s “soft hands [and] quick release on the snapshot”, while his “concern is his competitiveness and battle level”. Other scouts seem to agree with that evaluation. According to Cody Nickolet, Gropp will never be a shutdown guy in the NHL, so he is kind of a hit-or-miss player.

Fit with the Avalanche

Ryan Gropp may turn out to be an NHL-level scorer, but he may also end up being that skilled third-line force or an AHL scorer. We will find out what role he can exactly fill out once he gets to that point. For an early third round pick, as the Colorado Avalanche own pick No. 70, Gropp may very well be worth a shot.

Put in the environment to succeed, Gropp could get close to becoming a Jamie Benn-type player, though we might not see him lead the NHL in scoring. The right environment could be Matt Duchene’s wing once Gropp is ready, paired with a playmaking right wing. We will see what happens.

Duchene’s current wings, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla, are both exceptional players and NHL legends, but by the time Gropp comes up to the proffesional leagues, they have probably retired or not been re-signed. Being Tanguay’s or Iginla’s successor is not an easy task, but Gropp may want to try.

Joe Sakic said the Avalanche want to draft the best player available in the first round and go for specific needs afterwards. Unless Lawson Crouse turns out to be that BPA pick in the first round, Ryan Gropp could be the guy to fill the need of a powerful scoring winger.

More Draft Coverage:

2015 NHL Draft Profile List

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

Nicolas Meloche

Conor Garland

Guillaume Brisebois

Christian Fischer

Beichler’s Full First Round Mock Draft

Revisiting Avalanche Early Draft Options

Next: Beichler's Full First Round Mock Draft

More from Mile High Sticking