Who is Tyler Tullio?
Tyler Tullio does not come across as your typical draft prospect. He’s a small forward without super speed, a super shot, or some other single big skill that sets him apart from other players. So what brings Tullio up into the second round of drafting rankings?
‘Jack of all trades but master of none is better than a master of one.’
Tullio is an ideal complimentary player to your snipers, your danglers, your big-bodied power forwards, and your offensive-minded and puck moving defensemen. Tullio pairs well with skilled forwards like 2019 first round pick Philip Tomasino and provides a reliable outlet for passes, a quick and hard shot when needed, and creative puck work to get passes back to Tomasino and fellow linemate 2018 4th round pick Allan McShane. Need someone to drop back and cover or race back when a defenseman gets caught in deep? Tullio is that guy too.
He’s not expected to become a top line star or a Rocket Richard candidate, which is one reason he’ll drop at least a round or two in
June July June whenever the draft is. Another is his small frame— at 5’9” 160lbs, Tullio is definitely one of the smaller prospects we’ll see this year. That being said, he’s an April birthday, so he may still have room to grow in height a bit, and his work ethic is so infamous around the OHL that with an NHL-level training regiment I’m sure he’ll have no issues bulking up some strength to bolster his tenacity on the puck.
Despite being given a low ceiling for scoring at the NHL level, Tullio’s OHL stat sheet is not unimpressive.
His pairing with the high-scoring Tomasino has definitely helped pad his stats, but that doesn’t take away from what those numbers show about Tullio’s effectiveness as a linemate himself.
Where is Tullio Ranked?
NHL Central Scouting (North Americans): 52nd
Future Considerations: 54th
Larry Fisher: 62nd
Steve Kournianos: 68th
Elite Prospects: 34th
What Have the Experts Said About Tullio?
Smaller prospects seem to always be a source for division among the hockey community, and Tullio has been no exception. Most analysts however generally agree that Tullio’s shot, passing skills, and 200 foot game are top notch.
Dobber Prospects’ Tony Ferrari describes Tullio as “a buzzsaw on the ice”, “one of the most aggressive forecheckers in the OHL and has a good two-way game, aiding defenders down low and being the first forward back on defensive transitions” [be still my beating defenseman’s heart]. Ferrari also describes Tullio’s offensive game as ‘creative and confident’ and references his strong wrist shot “that jumps off his blade” as a major contributor to his goal-scoring. Tullio’s toolbox also contains a one-timer that he uses frequently, though some like Hockey Prophets’ Brian Fogarty have noted he seems to struggle with the accuracy on that at some points; his wrist shot is generally the more on-target choice.
The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos talks about Tullio’s offensive abilities prior to the shot— “he expertly controls the puck in full flight but also deadens tough cross-ice passes off the rush on either his forehand or backhand... excellent hand-eye coordination and cleanly goes skate to stick in the event of a hard pass at his feet.” Without the puck he “is in open ice frequently because of a quick first step” and Fogarty complimented his ability to “pay attention to the details of the game, keeping his stick on the ice and getting to open spots, making good reads in all three zones, and showing creativity in the offensive zone with nice passing plays”. In particular, Fogarty referenced a play in which Tullio makes a great setup by “going behind the net, turns his hips without changing direction and passes back against the grain to Tomasino at the bottom of the circle.... No chance for the goaltender on that one”. He also mentioned a slick pass from his knees to Tomasino in that same game.
The biggest compliment people seem to have for Tullio’s game definitely comes back to his 200 foot effort. “His hard-nosed style and nonstop motor prove to be infectious, but he also displayed impressive puck skills and the ability to dominate shifts on his own” writes Kournianos. His “work ethic is as good as it gets and it is contagious,” according to OHL Writers’ Dominic Tiano. “He’s willing to battle to get positioning with much bigger opponents. He does not shy away from getting in on the forecheck and causing havoc defenders... he battles quickly and, surprisingly, wins many of those battles.” Some writers like Draftsite’s Bill Placzek disagree with that last sentence, arguing Tullio’s small size makes it difficult for him to win puck battles. Kournianos also referenced his stature as making him an easy target for opponents looking to knock him off the puck, while Ferrari writes that his agility and strong stickwork aid him in puck battles. Despite this Kournianos also mentioning Tullio is “not very big but plays as if nothing can slow him down... will play the body and hustle back full throttle to support his defensemen”. He also “picks off a lot of errant passes in the neutral zone.”
For those who want proof his size doesn’t bother him much:
For reference, Sawyer is 6’0” 180lbs.
Ty Tullio does not care.
A few more Tullio highlights:
Would you rather have a large forward with a big shot or good speed, but little to no ice vision or who puts no effort into his game? Personally, I’ll take the small guy who gives his all, supports his teammates in every way at both ends of the ice, and can pair with high skill players to make an all-around successful line. That guy is Ty Tullio. His small size and lower estimated ceiling will drop him down at least a round, probably more considering the immense talent at the top of this year’s draft class as well as how far Cole Caufield fell last season. That could make him drop far enough that he’s still around when the Devils finally get to pick again after the first round, and he could turn out to be a steal a la Jesper Bratt caliber.
How do you feel about smaller prospects or ‘jack of all trades’ balanced but lower ceiling players like Tullio? Are they risks or smart investments? Do you think he’ll drop to somewhere the Devils can pick or will another team snap him up? Would you want us to pick him if he is? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading!