clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Eric Florchuk: 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Profile; A potential mid-round value starting to find his game

New, comments

With a big leap in performance in the 2017-18 season, Eric Florchuk looks like a player who could be a smart selection in the middle-to-late rounds of the draft. The forward prospect from the Saskatoon Blades has solid skills handling and distributing the puck and appears to be finding his game as he gets stronger and grows into his 6’-1” frame.

Image via SaskatoonBlades.com

Who is Eric Florchuk?

Eric Florchuk is a forward prospect born in Fort Saskatchewan, SK who currently plays his hockey in the WHL, most recently with the Saskatoon Blades. Florchuk, who was born January 20, 2000 is roughly middle of the pack in age for this draft, and he sports a slender frame for now, checking in at 6’-1” and 173 lbs, per the Blades website. Florchuk is a player who has seen his draft stock rise considerably over the past year or so. This is likely due in-part to the reported large gains in size he’s seen over the past several years (he was apparently just 5’-4” not so long ago) and him starting to grow into that relatively newly acquired 6’-1” frame.

Florchuk started his major junior career with the Victoria Royals, who had selected him in the 2015 bantam draft. He played the 2016-17 and first half of the 2017-18 season with the Royals before being traded to the Saskatoon Blades this January. His first season in Victoria did not feature the most impressive of numbers, with just 9 points in 51 games as a rookie, but he picked it up considerably in 2017-18, first with Victoria, and then even moreso in Saskatoon, where he capped off a solid sophomore campaign with 21 points in 28 games. His game is still progressing, based on reports, but his considerable improvement over the last calendar year points to a player who could be a solid value pick for a team in the later rounds of the draft. His strength and skating have improved to help bring out a player who can create effectively for his team on the rush and in the offensive zone. His shot could use some additional work, but his passing and vision are well regarded and he put them to good use in 2017-18. Full stats, via Elite Prospects, are shown below.

via Elite Prospects

Where is Eric Florchuk Ranked?

Florchuk, based on most of what is out there on him, seems poised to be selected sometime in the middle to later rounds of the draft. His stock has risen as he has gained strength and started growing into his 6’-1” frame, but he is still a bit of a work in progress, meaning he likely will be available beyond the first three rounds. The publicly available rankings put him, on average, in the lower 100s, meaning he could be selected somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, provided a team doesn’t feel the need to jump at him a bit earlier. A sampling of a few of his rankings are below:

  • NHL Central Scouting: NA-110
  • Future Considerations: 96
  • The Draft Analyst: 124
  • ISS: N/A (Top 31)
  • McKeen’s: N/A (Top 31)
  • TSN-Button: N/A (Top 100)

What Others are Saying About Eric Florchuk

Florchuk is projected for the later rounds, but he is still pretty well covered out there by publicly available sources. He a player who has made a pretty big leap in this past year and is starting to find his way onto more and more radars. We’ll start with this blurb on the forward from Bill Placzek at Draft Site:, who likes Florchuk’s game as a playmaker and the improvement that he has experienced in the last year.

Big Centre-wing whose feet have improved radically in the course of the season. He has improved his skating stride’s length to accommodate his longer legs. Very light on his edging and a creative stickhandler who mystifies defenders and finds his passing outlets when his scoring chance closes, after rolling off coverage. Pushes opponents off pucks on the forecheck and any place where he can jump in and can leverage. Hockey smart and fearless in traffic, has a coasting gear and really controls the attack zone looks. Far from a finished product as he still needs work in many areas, but there is is plenty of upside. He sprouted up a few inches and needs time to fill out.

So he is talented with the puck and is continuing to improve his game. Definitely a project to some extent, but one who seems to be starting to put it together.

Commenting on his progression and what he has improved to make the big jump in production, Florchuk had this to say in a profile on him done over at DubNetwork.ca:

Florchuk has already seen his production this year (14 points in 19 games) eclipse that of his entire season as a 16-year-old (nine points). When asked how he has done this, a familiar refrain is repeated.

“Definitely strength. Last year was more of a learning year for me. In the process, I gained a lot more confidence and strength and over the summer I gained a lot more. It’s just been about helping my overall game grow more and looking forward to more improvement coming up.” He is up to a wright [sic] of 173 pounds-10 more than last year at this time.

Adding strength is a common thing for a prospect entering the draft to need to do, but the rapid improvement year-over-year for Florchuk points to a player that can maybe continue to unlock an impressive game as he fills out and more effectively utilizes his size.

For more on Florchuk, we head to this profile put together by Ryan Pike over at The Hockey Writers, which likes Florchuk as a late-round sleeper pick and comments on his well-rounded game. Some pieces of the longer profile:

He’s a versatile forward, being able to play on the wing or up the middle effectively – though he’s a little bit better at creating offense consistently playing on the wing. The worst thing you can say about Florchuk is that he’s not exceptional at anything. The best thing you can say about Florchuk is that his game lacks big holes. He’s effective in all three zones and is equally adept at generating offense as he is at negating the other team’s attackers.

If there are areas where Florchuk needs to improve to be a successful pro, they’re his consistency and his physicality.

...

He needs to bulk up a bit and protect the puck better with his body, but those parts of his game may improve as he matures.

This piece hones in on Florchuk’s versatility as a player, though Pike seems to be not quite sold on Florchuk’s ceiling. Still, if Florchuk has some defensive awareness to go with an offensive game that has progressed a lot over the past year makes him seem like a worthwhile player to consider in the later rounds.

People can end up with different takeaways from watching the same players sometimes, though. For instance, we can look at this notebook entry from Logan Fossum, a scout for Future Considerations, after seeing Florchuk play for the Blades in January. Some of what he wrote:

Florchuk is dangerous with the puck. He possesses a very smooth stick handling ability that can elude defenders, all while he’s looking for lanes to pass through and create plays. He uses his speed and size to keep defenders back and create space for himself. Doing this, he possesses the puck a lot while on the ice, carries and paces the play. He isn’t an explosive skater, but he’s very smooth and controlled. If he can add some strength to the quality foot-speed and lateral movement he possesses, he will soon be a dominant scorer in the Western League.

This was clearly a very good game for Florchuk, but it remains that it was impressive enough to draw some pretty solid statements from Fossum about his potential. This review is more indicative of a player who can maybe put it together and make an impact in the future at higher levels. Interestingly, Fossum didn’t come away with great feelings about Florchuk’s defensive game. Still, if Florchuk can continue to progress and show the promise in his abilities with the puck that he did in this game more often, he could be a solid sleeper pick for someone.

A Little Video

For some video, we first go to this highlight package from HSD Prospects, which shows off some pretty impressive abilities as a distributor of the puck. He effectively finds lanes and can thread passes to his other forwards pretty well. He also shows off some solid abilities with the puck on his stick on the rush, especially in some of the highlights toward the end of the video from his time with the Blades.

Additionally, here’s a video of Florchuk from the NHL’s draft combine, where he performed quite well and probably helped his stock at least a little bit. The interview isn’t going to reveal anything major, but if you wanted to hear from him a bit, it’s here in this short video from the Oilers.

An Opinion of Sorts

With Eric Florchuk, the information available out there points to a player potentially starting to put it together. With any prospect, you are typically going to be looking for year-to-year improvement to see where their game is trending, and for Florchuk, things are definitely going in the right direction. The jump from 9 points to 49 points from one season to the next is definitely encouraging and watching him on video definitely shows a player who seems to read the game well. As with almost any player who is projected for the later rounds of the draft, he is far from a sure thing, but he seems to have the skill and ability to be a good player and is starting to come along physically. If he continues to progress the way he has over the past year, he seems like he could provide some good late-round value for a team if he gets that far. If the Devils were to take him with one of their fourth or fifth-round picks, he seems like he’d certainly be worthy of the selection.

Your Take

After reading about Eric Florchuk, what is your impression of him as a prospect. Do you think there’s potential there for him to put together a game that ultimately breaks him into the NHL? Are there any parts of what you read that make you think the Devils should look in another direction in the later rounds? Comment below with your thoughts and thanks for reading.