Chris Vande Velde stands out on the Oilers prospect list for all kinds of reasons: He’s 6.02, 207, 57% in the faceoff circle and you can reasonably use the word rugged in the scouting report.
VVV (pronounced Vandeh-Veldee) took Taylor Chorney’s advice and stayed in college for his final year, and so far the offense is looking good (14gp, 4-9-13). He’s a big body who goes to tough areas for the puck and can be used in front of the net on the PP, can score on the PP (8 of them last season) and would seem to have a nice range of skills. VVV is also considered a team leader, as witnessed by the “A” on his sweater this fall and a fairly impressive annual number of blocked shots. He also shoots quite a bit, sending 40 on net already in the 14 UND games this season (he had 116 in 43 games one year ago). I’ve read that he’s a “strong” skater but the word leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
What doesn’t he do? VVV isn’t considered a high skill player and from what I’ve read would be more of a north south, throwback type. He was +10 in each of his last two NCAA seasons but is plodding along at -3 this year, possibly owing to a downturn in linemates.
Kevin Prendergast: “He’s a big kid, very strong, very good on faceoffs. He’s physical and gets in areas to create things. He played an awful lot for them this year and played very well in the playoffs despite playing with a separated shoulder which we thought was commendable on his part.”
Prendergast spent part of last spring fretting over Riley Nash’s decision to leave Cornell but seemed less concerned about Vande Velde hanging around for his senior year. “We just felt that another year at North Dakota–which is an excellent program–of him playing on their first or second line and honing his skills just a little bit is going to make him a better player for us at the end of the season.”