Peyton Krebs might not have the best numbers. However, he could wind up being one of the best players in the 2019 NHL Draft.
The debate between the eye test and numbers for hockey players is a hot one. It’s especially relevant when looking at prospects. The 2019 NHL Draft is a good example of this. We’ve already taken a look at Visali Podkolzin, whose underwhelming numbers are concerning. Peyton Krebs is another example.
Unlike Podkolzin, I’m pretty high on Krebs. His bad numbers at least have a reasonable explanation – his team was really bad. They only won 13 games. Krebs averaged over a point per game while playing a role in about 40% of his team’s total goals. In international tournaments, when he has been given much better linemates, he has flourished.
Weight: 181 pounds
Teams: Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Position: Center/Left wing
Date of birth: January 26, 2001
All profile info is courtesy of Elite Prospects.
Krebs intangibles are off the charts. As a 17-year-old, he was the captain of the Kootenay Ice. Krebs was by far their best player, as his 68 points and 49 assists both led the team and his 19 goals put him in second. He had 16 more points and 24 more assists than his next closest teammates.
His creativity is top-notch. Krebs can do a lot of dangerous things with the puck and can create offense for both himself and his linemates. He’s a great skater and is comfortable playing at a high pace.
Krebs two-way game is impressive as well. He was asked to lead both the power play and the penalty kill this season for the Ice and he was terrific on both ends. Krebs has a lot of experience in driving play. He’s impressed me on international ice as well, tallying 21 points in 17 games split between the U-17’s, U-18’s, and Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
What’s impressed me the most about Krebs is his hockey IQ. The best players constantly think two steps ahead of everyone else. You definitely can tell Krebs possesses this rare ability. He’s great at creating space for his shot and for his teammates, though he’s noticeably stronger at the latter.
Krebs has a lot of potential as a goal scorer but has yet to turn it into results. His WHL high is 19 goals. How much Krebs improves in this area will determine whether he’s a very good second-line center or a first-line center. He could stand to gain some strength as well, but this is the case with many prospects.
Krebs was hyped as a top player after being the top overall pick in the 2017 WHL Draft. He’s done nothing but live up to that hype. Krebs’ numbers are a tad bit underwhelming, but he put them up under far from ideal circumstances.
He can be a bit too unselfish at times. I think if Krebs takes the next step and starts unleashing his shot more often, his numbers are going to significantly improve. At the very least, Krebs has every tool you want to see in a second-line center. He checks off many of the things you like to see in a first-line center.
You can’t help but think being traded to a different WHL team would be the best move for him. Krebs is at least a year or two away from being an NHL player. But I think he’s going to be a darn good one.
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