Pick at 114: Tobias Rieder

Redline 58
Redline: Undersized, but exceptionally smart playmaking winger with excellent offensive instincts and creativity. Has decent speed, but lacks the explosive first step burst and acceleration you’d like to see in a player his size. Super soft hands and slick with the puck in tight; can create separation with sharp cuts/turns. Sees the ice very well and can saucer touch passes through traffic off either side of the blade. Makes imaginative set-ups, often surpassing his mates with unexpected plays. Average shot, but has good finishing ability from the circles in with a quick release he hides well. Anticipates developing plays, stepping in to intercept passes and start quick counterattacks in transition. Desperately needs to pack on muscle – lost weight during the season and was out of gas from January on. Not afraid to go into the corners and will take hits, but can’t battle effectively.

Kirk Luedeke: German winger Tobias Rieder is the second of Kitchener’s sublime import duo, and may well be the best player to ever come out of that country when all is said and done. The speedy and ultra-skilled forward showed no transition struggles and has been a crucial element in keeping Kitchener’s high-octane offense going, especially with the loss of 50-goal man Jeff Skinner to the Carolina Hurricanes. We’re not saying Rieder is the next Skinner (he’s got similar size and can really fly; doesn’t have quite the sublime hands/hockey sense though), but he’s one heck of a scoring talent, and hockey is in his blood. This is a kid who is absolutely driven to be in the NHL one day, and based on early returns, he’s going to get there.

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