#20 Prospect: Tyler Bunz

Winter 2009: NR
Summer 2010: NR

Winter 2010: #20

It was not a certainty for Tyler Bunz on draft day. The young man from St. Albert had interviewed with 5 teams at the NHL combine (Edm, Cal, Tor, NYI and Pittsburgh) and he was part of the 14-goalie group that attended Hockey Canada’s “Goalies of Excellence” camp the week before the draft.

So he was a known prospect but there was a chance he’d fall through the draft entirely. Central Scouting had him 10th among North American goaltenders. He told his Dad he’d be happy if he was taken by the 5th round. Tyler Bunz went 121st overall–the first pick of the 5th round–to the Edmonton Oilers. He was the 7th NA goalie selected in the 2010 Entry Draft.

Mike Remmerde, Redline Report: Strengths: Good overall quickness. Decent size. Good footwork. Weaknesses: Can get a little scrambly at times. Tends to go down too early. Might not have #1 upside. Has looked very good every time I’ve seen him the last two seasons, but the numbers never quite seemed to match the talent. But the numbers started to come around late this season and during the playoffs. Looks to me like he bulked up quite a bit this season, and I wonder if that’s hurt his quickness a bit. Seemed much quicker last season, but still has pretty quick legs and gets around the crease smoothly. There’s a good mix of technicals and raw athleticism here, and I don’t see any real serious flaws. Summary: I like this guy much better than Kent Simpson, but I probably still wouldn’t spend anything more than a 4th on him. I think the consensus opinion has him a bit underrated.

Stu MacGregor post draft: “17-year old goalie who carried the mail in Medicine Hat all year. Willie Desjardins said he was one of the big reasons they were able to defeat Kootenay in the first round. He’s got some battle in his game, he needs to smooth things out a little in his technique.”

Bunz is listed at 6.02, 203 on the Oilers website. This compares with Olivier Roy (6.00, 180) and Devan Dubynk (6.06, 202) among Oiler prospects.

After being drafted, Bunz attended Oilers rookie camp and impressed. He had an interesting take on the experience:

  • “I thought my camp went well, but it made me realize there is lots of work to do in order to make that next step, and for me I think I’m 3 years, at least, away from being at that level. I think this year will definitely gauge were I stand as a goaltender and what my future will look like.”

and he commented on his style:

  • “I think my size is definitely a strength for myself, I can move well for a big guy and love to battle-I never give up on the puck. I like to play the puck as well, I feel it keeps me focused on the game more. I need to improve on rebound control and being more consistent. Although by the end of this past year I started playing with more confidence and consistency leading into playoffs.”

The quotes are available here.

Bunz is having a quality season in Medicine Hat and is well clear of his backup:

  • Tyler Bunz 23gp, 2.45 .915 2SO
  • Deven Dubyk 10gp, 3.18 .899 0SO

Dig that backup goalie’s name. That’s a crazy coincidence. Bunz is 2nd in WHL Goals against average and 5th in save percentage. At the same age, Devan Dubnyk’s .912SP was good for 12th in the WHL (behind Justin Pogge and ahead of a young Carey Price).

Bunz’ SP in the WHL (by year): .885, .886, .898 and .915 so far this season.

I’m currently watching an NHL game in which Anders Lindback is pitching a shutout for Nashville. He went undrafted as an 18 and 19-year old before the Preds called his name 207th overall in 2008. I think we can agree there’s a tremendous amount of luck involved. Bunz has size, a good work ethic and desire to make the grade. Luck, timing, hard work and skill will be required and he could struggle at any and all levels before making it to the NHL.

Goalie progress is like learning to hit a golf ball straight and long: it’s an impossible task involving a lot of profanity. Tyler Bunz is on track.

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