B2B’s 2016 NHL Entry Level Draft Preview: Pick 21 – Luke Kunin

At #21 we have rising prospect Luke Kunin, 6’0″, 193-lb. center for the University of Wisconsin.

Luke Kunin is a gifted goal-scorer, having what scouts have described as a “lethal” wrist shot. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin Badgers, he was the captain for Team USA in the 2015 U18 World Championships. Kunin scored six goals in seven games as Team USA won gold. He then scored 19 goals on the top line for the Badgers as a freshman.

Scouts rave about Kunin’s top-notch hockey IQ. He knows where and how to position himself, and you’ll often find him in that “bumper” position in the slot. He’ll drive to the net to create room, but he can also be crafty and find room. He’s capable of playing both center (his natural position) and left wing. Kunin also plays a 200-foot, two-way game. He’s not as complete a two-way player as, say, German Rubtsov or Brett Howden, but he’s a puck-battler and a disruptive force against the opposition. Scouts and coaches also praise his maturity and leadership. He also shows remarkable dedication to the sport, as he continues to develop and improve his game while battling Type 1 diabetes.

Kunin needs to add strength, as he’s slightly undersized at 6’0″. His skating is ok, but he needs to develop a better first step to help get separation. That said, he’s made big strides in his physical development, scoring in the top-16 in six categories at the NHL Scouting Combine. This includes 1st in Vertical Jump, a measure of potential skating explosiveness:

#15 – Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Left
#5 – Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right
#16 – Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output (watts/kg)
#16 – Anaerobic Fitness: Peak Power Output (watts/kg)
#1 – Force Plate: Vertical Jump (inches)
#9 – Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in)

You can get the top 25 results for each category from the NHL Scouting Combine here.

Kunin’s scores at the Combine have the potential to move him up from the bottom third of the first round into a top-15 pick. With the Bruins picking at #14, Luke Kunin has likely entered the conversation with Sweeney and his staff.

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