Today, we have ourselves a legacy player. Hudson Elynuik is the son of the former 8th overall pick in the 1986 NHL Draft by the old Winnipeg Jets (now Arizona Coyotes), Pat Elynuik. Pat had a very solid career for his draft team, producing 244 points in 289 games before heading to Washington. While he had a decent first season in the capital, he fell off afterwards, ending his 9 year career with 342 points in 506 games played. Still, not bad at all, and it means that Hudson has a quality bloodline to lean to as he enters his draft.
Hudson is not projected to go quite as high as his father did, as Central Scouting has him as the 68th ranked North American skater in its final rankings. That, however, is a serious leg up from where he was at the midterm, when he was ranked the #122 N.A. skater. Someone who is the 68th ranked N.A. skater can look to have a 3rd round projection most likely. The Devils have 2 picks that round, #72 and #76 overall; should they look to spend one on the center with a recognizable last name?
Who is Hudson Elynuik?
Hudson is a very big center, standing at 6’5" and weighing 201 lbs., who plays for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. Born in Calgary, he ended up playing in the WHL like his dad did, just for a different team (his dad was on Prince Albert). Hudson actually was drafted by the Kootenay Ice, but was traded to Spokane after only 35 games of action with his first team. His initial years with Spokane were not memorable, as he produced only 9 points in 27 games in 2013-14, and only 8 points in 27 games in 2014-15. It was this past year, however, where he really broke free and began impressing scouts (hence his sharp rise in the CSS rankings). This year, he scored 19 goals to go along with 25 assists in 56 games played, for 0.79 points per game. That is serious improvement. He also performed quite well in the playoffs this year, producing 3 goals in 6 games before his team ultimately lost in 6 games to the top seeded Victoria Royals.
There are some very positive underlying numbers as well to support his breakout campaign. His even strength Goals For percentage this year was 56.47%, and his relative GF% was 12.153. These are extremely positive numbers. Spokane had a team GF% in the red at 48.06%, so the fact that he was so positive at almost 56 and a half percent is excellent. That +12.153 relative GF% is absolutely amazing. He was an absolute driver of goal production when out there on the ice for this team, even when he was not personally involved in the goals or assists. He was making the plays necessary and driving the play forward to get those goals for his team.
Finally, Hudson was also a contributor to the special teams, potting 6 goals on the power play during the regular season. That is a positive for a New Jersey Devils’ team that could use the extra help there.
What Others Have Said About Elynuik
Over at Fansided’s Too Many Men on the Site, they have had a series of looking at prospects with NHL bloodlines, and Elynuik was highlighted back on March 6th. Here are some snippets of what was said about him:
"continues to show improvement in his game year-after-year…A late December birthday, Hudson is lucky he was not available in 2015…The extra year of development was important for Hudson…Hudson Elynuik should be a late climber on draft boards heading into June."
Not much here in terms of actual scouting, but these are generally positive. It is a good note that he was close to being eligible last year, but missed the cut which was hugely beneficial to him. Had he been draft eligible last season, he may not have been taken. This year, with the supreme improvement seen on the ice, he could be gone in the early to mid-rounds.
The Draft Analyst does not have a major review of Hudson, but Steve Kournianos had this to say about Hudson back in October:
"A third round pick of Kootenay in the 2012 Bantam Draft and son of former NHL’er Pat Elynuik…A power center with a nice touch around the net."
Given his size at 6’5", being a power forward is certainly in the cards for Hudson. He will need to use his body around the net to get the puck and score from the dirty areas. He did have 46 PIMs this year, so that does show he was willing to use his body.
At Oilers’ Future back on April 26th, they looked at some draft eligible forwards coming out of the WHL this season. One of them was Elynuik, and here is what was written:
"Elynuik is an intriguing prospect, his father Pat was a 1st round pick of the old Winnipeg Jets. He is big (6’5) and finished the season strong injuries elevated him to the top line. Here is an old scouting report, from Jeff Hollick, ‘He’s got a lot of skill, he’s got some ability and he’s going to be very hard to play against. He competes hard and he is going to make it tough on his opposition once he fully matures as a player."
There is some positive in there as well, with a note that he is someone that will be hard to play against as he matures, builds muscle, and develops his game further. Having a grinder like that is never a bad thing, especially if he still manages to score points in the process as Hudson did this past season.
Sadly as you can tell, there is once again not a whole heck of a lot out there in terms of pure prospect profiles. There is a lot of information on him in terms of what he did in certain games, but as of scouting reports, there is precious few. What you can gather from what is out there, however, is that Hudson is a big, grind-it-out forward who was highly touted when traded to Spokane. He did not meet those expectations his first seasons there, but this season was given a first line position when others on the Chiefs went down to injury. When this happened, Hudson finally capitalized on the opportunity and began to showcase the potential that Spokane traded for a couple years ago. Because his sample size is so small, there is doubt about him, which is why minimal info is out there. I mean heck, he is not even on Draft Site’s 7 round mock draft; Bill Placzek has him undrafted. Had he been producing for a couple seasons, however, there would be lots more hype, and lots more out there. His rather speedy rise to #68 on CSS’s rankings has prevented much from being written. Perhaps too simply put, if he can show that this season was not a fluke, playing on top line minutes thanks to injuries, then he will succeed. If it was a fluke, however, his only chance is to use his size.
A Little Video
Just like with written profiles, a fast rise up the rankings over the last couple months has not left many videos out there for Hudson. Hopefully some will be made before the draft, but for now there is one video of a goal he scored a year and a half ago to end a game against Prince George which led to many teddy bears flying onto the ice:
And another of a fight against Jackson Playfair of the Tri-City Americans:
Well, like last week when I had a hard time dissecting Vojtech Budik, it is hard to accurately give a take on a player when there simply is not much out there, and this is true for Elynuik despite having quality bloodlines. Last week for Budik, I took the lack of info as a negative and said that combined with his precipitous fall in the CSS rankings from the mid-term to the final, the lack of hype was disconcerting to me. With Hudson, however, I am not as bothered by it, and there are two reasons. The first reason is essentially the major reason why I was not high on Budik: whereas he fell in the rankings big time this year, Hudson flew up them. Once he started producing well for Spokane, CSS realized that this kid has some real potential and can do something. They put him on their mid-term rankings at #122 when he was unranked before, and then jumped him all the way to #68 by the final. That is showing a lot of love for the center despite his only having one successful year in the WHL. The scouts there saw something they loved, and it showed favorably in their final rankings.
The other reason I am higher on Elynuik than I was Budik, and perhaps one of the main reasons that CSS is so high on Hudson, is his size. He is 6’5". That is some serious height even for a defenseman, never mind a center or a left winger. Assuming he bulks up some more and let’s say he ends up playing at around 220, that would be some nice size to throw around the ice. I am not advocating that the Devils take him to be an enforcer, but forwards who can grind out goals by using their size on the boards and in the dirty areas are important pieces to have on any hockey team. Just look at Wayne Simmonds: he uses his 6’2" frame to plant himself in front of the net and score goals. Without that ability, he would not be who he is. I am not saying that Elynuik can become a top 6 forward like Simmonds is, but I am trying to relate to the type of player I think Hudson may need to be if he wants to succeed at the NHL level.
In the end, the one scary aspect to me is just how fast he rose up the rankings. If this one year, where he produced 44 points in 56 games, is a fluke, then spending a mid-round pick on him would be a total waste. But if he can build on this year and develop more, he has the chance to be a NHL regular given his size and bloodlines. Because of the risk given his rapid ascendancy, I may be hesitant to take him in the 3rd round like his #68 North American ranking by the CSS places him, but if he drops in the draft a little, taking someone like him in the 4th round wouldn’t be the worst option. You can’t teach size.
What is your take on Hudson Elynuik? Does his rapid ascent up Central Scouting’s rankings scare you, or are you intrigued by his size and his ability to produce points this past season? Where would you consider taking someone like him? Do you have more info to provide about him? If so, please do so in the comments so we can gain more information on him. Thank you all for reading.