Seattle Kraken Draft
With their first of three 2nd-round selections in the NHL Draft on Thursday, the Seattle Kraken selected Kitchener Rangers center Carson Rehkopf at 50th-overall.
“He played in the CHL (Canadian Hockey League – the composite of the three major junior leagues) Top Prospect Game and was the MVP, and he played very well for Team Canada in helping win the Under-18 tournament,” Seattle Kraken Director of Amateur Scouting Robert Kron said at the end of the day. “He’s a 6-foot-plus center who plays a strong 200-foot game; a great skill guy who can play on special teams.”
He had a goal and an assist in that prospect game and five points over five games at the aforementioned U-18 Hlinka Gretzky tournament. Two of Rehkopf’s teammates from that event were selected by the Kraken shortly after him, Defensemen Lukas Dragicevic at 57th-overall and Caden Price in the 3rd-round.
“I think showing I can play a heavy style game with skill is a valuable package, and showing that every game,” Renkopf suggested in self-assessment.
The Barrie, Ontario-born, 6-foot-2, 195-pounder also plays the left wing and can indeed help on both the power play and penalty kill.
“I really think he could be a Jordan Staal type player,” his agent Ryan Barnes told us Friday. “In junior Carson is somebody that can put up big, key points, but also be trusted and counted on to be dependable and used in match-up situations defensively.”
As a 3rd-year pro’ with the PIttsburgh Penguins, Staal played a key role in helping win the 2009 Stanley Cup as a traditional shut-down pivot who tallied points at important moments. He’s taken on bigger roles and responsibilities as his career has continued in Carolina as the Hurricanes captain,
Observers see similar growth potential in Rehkopf, with the possibility of a greater offensive upside. This past season in Kitchener he notched 59 points, including 30 goals, in 68 games.
Elite Prospects described him this way:
“Carson Rehkopf anticipates the game, controls his speed to attack and stay in pockets of space. He reads rotations and switches of coverage well, popping down low or moving high when needed. Rehkopf generates a separation gear in open-ice, and is described as an in-your-face, on-puck player”
Maybe even more impressive than his quickness is Renkopf’s ability to snap off a powerful shot very efficiently.
Said Dobber Prospects:
“Sharp-shooting winger with strong off-puck positioning, a heavy release, and a decent forechecking game. Relatively one-dimensional, but could round out his game to become a middle-six trigger man.”
Pros And Cons
In a round-table with NHL prospect reporters on Thursday, there were two common themes: Absolute love for his shot release, and a few questions about the consistency of his tenacity. He has excellent technique along the boards and will seek to utilize similar efforts shift-to-shift over 200-feet.
If the scoring continues to develop, he could find himself as a 2nd-line player in the big show. If his all-around game continues to track, Rehkopf could be a dangerous and annoying power forward/3rd-line center. He also possesses soft hands around then net.
“A strong two-way center with a knack for scoring,” Barnes said. “I believe there’s untapped potential in terms of physical maturity. There’s room for growth in his game and on the physical side, but a real exciting prospect to have in the pipeline for the Seattle Kraken. Someone that can provide them with some size up the middle.”
Rehkopf will return to the Ontario Hockey League for at least one more season of major juniors.
We’ll update this report with his comments next week at Seattle Kraken Development Camp.