You’ve probably heard of his linemates. One, the Erie Otters’ captain, was drafted at 3rd overall by the Arizona Coyotes last year. The other, a deceptively slight American, is considered a top prospect in this year’s draft. But do you know Taylor Raddysh?
At 6’2” and 202 pounds, Raddysh has the size that appeals to even the most traditional of scouts — but he’s also got skill to go along with it. The right wing from Caledon, Ontario climbed his way up the scoring rankings this season, moving from 27 points his rookie year to 73 points (24 goals, 49 assists) in 67 regular season games this season.
Raddysh also netted 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 12 playoff games before tweaking his back in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against London and missing the final two games of the series, and of Erie’s season.
Raddysh only shifted two spots in Central Scouting’s rankings of North American skaters, dropping from 34th at midterm to 36th in the final, but it appears likely that this is owed more to a surge by other skaters than any actual concerning drop in performance from Raddysh.
ISS Hockey has him ranked 27th, and on Craig Button’s most recent rankings for TSN, Raddysh comes in at 25th.
Raddysh plays like a top-six guy when he’s with an elite center, but he also has the skill and work ethic to effective on his own. An aggressive forechecker who throws heavy hits to knock other guys off the puck and win board battles, he plays a physical game. He’s able to use his size to get the puck, but his excellent decision making abilities allow him to be a few beats ahead of his opponent once he has it.
His acceleration is top-end, but what may be surprising is his ability to protect the puck while going at those high speeds. Raddysh has great passing skills as well as a top-notch shot and release — he’s not solely a playmaker or a goalscorer, but instead a bit of both depending on the situation.
He’s good at evading his opponent’s defensive coverage and getting himself in a good position to both score himself or set up a teammate.
A hard-working player, Raddysh is willing to learn and doesn’t hesitate to do what’s asked of him by his coaching staff. He could stand to up his game in the defensive zone, but he did show noticeable improvement in that area this season. Whoever drafts him will also likely want him to work on his skating.
Raddysh projects as having the potential to be an effective power forward at the NHL level. He’s a pretty low-risk pick if a team knows they have a good development system, because he’ll be good at the third- and even second-line right wing position, but he can also hold his own with top forwards if he’s bumped higher.
He’s never going to be a regular on the top line, but he doesn’t need to be to be worth a team’s time. Expect him to go early to mid-second round this June, and don’t expect him to be around after the beginning of the third.
Depending where teams have him on their draft boards he may fall a bit, but he isn’t likely to drop too far — he’s a big kid who plays both a physical and skilled game, and that’s still seen as a pretty valuable asset.