Don’t name him Draisaitl: meet Tim Stutzle, Germany’s new star prospect

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Tim Stutzle can image it. He’s beating defenders together with his blazing velocity and pulling highlight-reel dekes in entrance of NHL crowds, identical to his idol Connor McDavid. Even a decade in the past, the dream would’ve felt far-fetched for a German child from Viersen, a city of 75,000, however a lot has modified amongst his countrymen since then. In 2014, Leon Draisaitl went third total within the draft, and he was arguably the perfect participant on this planet this season. In 2018, the Germans reached the gold-medal sport on the Pyeongchang Olympics, a surprising accomplishment even in a tourney that didn’t function NHL gamers. In 2019, defenseman Moritz Seider went sixth total. He performed for Adler Mannheim within the DEL, like Stutzle does now, and the 2 have been teammates on the 2020 world juniors.
The NHL thus feels very sensible for Stutzle, a dynamic middle who may go high three in a loaded 2020 draft class. That makes it all of the extra irritating that he has to remain house, ready out the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, not sure when the 2020 draft will occur. He handed the time within the early days of the pandemic taking part in inline hockey exterior together with his buddies. After the isolation guidelines tightened, he was caught at house, an solely youngster with simply his mother and father as firm.
Simply because his younger profession is frozen in time doesn’t imply it gained’t bloom sometime quickly, nevertheless. Stutzle has the makings of a scintillating NHL scorer with he-did-what strikes that can make him widespread in GIF format.“I’d say my skating, playmaking and stickhandling are my greatest talents,” Stutzle mentioned. “However I can work on every little thing. I’m younger.”
Not simply younger – constantly youthful than everybody he performs with. But he nonetheless dominates. Rising up the German junior rankings, averaging higher than a aim per sport was his “regular.” He did it in his age-13 and age-14 seasons on an under-16 workforce, settled for “solely” 18 targets in 25 video games as a 15-year-old for Adler Mannheim’s under-19 squad and ripped off 23 in 21 video games at 16 with the under-20s earlier than making the professional membership within the DEL at 17. Although the German League sits (simply) exterior the highest 5 professional circuits on this planet, it’s among the finest, so it’s a testomony to Stutzle’s expertise that he rose so quick. He joined a workforce filled with ex-NHLers together with Ben Smith, Andrew Desjardins, Borna Rendulic and Germany’s personal Marcel Goc. It didn’t take lengthy for Stutzle to show heads together with his wheels and uncooked star energy.
“His offensive hockey expertise, his skating and talent to beat gamers 1-on-1 and create outnumbered conditions, it’s a giant asset,” mentioned Adler Mannheim coach Pavel Gross. “Particularly the quickness, how he can acknowledge the state of affairs, how he is ready to create new scoring possibilities for his teammates. That’s one thing, as a coach, you can’t educate.”
As a first-year professional, Stutzle posted a stat line attribute of a playmaker: seven targets and 34 factors in 41 video games. However as soon as he reaches his potential and will get used to taking part in towards males, the targets ought to come. Overlook the plain and inaccurate comparability to Draisaitl, a hulking puck protector. Gross sees Stutzle, at a stringy 6-foot-1 and 185 kilos, as extra of an Elias Pettersson kind. The distinction proper now, Gross says, is Pettersson has one of many NHL’s deadliest releases, whereas Stutzle has to work on getting his shot off faster. He has but to constantly translate his velocity into good outcomes. He additionally doesn’t all the time come out with the puck when he goes into the nook towards a giant, heavy defenseman.
“The factor I need to work on this summer season is getting stronger on the ice to remain on my toes the entire time in battles,” Stutzle mentioned. “That’s the factor I labored loads on (this) season, taking part in towards males.”
Gross and Tobias Abstreiter, Germany’s world junior coach, listing defensive play because the No. 1 ability Stutzle should refine. Not that both views it as a long-term downside.
“Whether or not it’s Kaapo Kakko or Jack Hughes, whoever signed with an NHL workforce after which performed straight away, all of them have to enhance their play with out the puck,” Abstreiter mentioned. “It’s an important half that coaches need to see. They need to have a superb intestine feeling after they put these younger gamers on the ice towards different high strains. However that is regular. All these younger gamers should be taught to enhance their defensive sport.”
The COVID-19 sports activities shutdown may gain advantage Stutzle’s possibilities of leaping straight to the NHL. He’s been dedicated to figuring out and constructing power, and if the 2020-21 season doesn’t begin till late fall or early winter, he may have 10 or 15 kilos of muscle packed on, making him stronger on the puck.
If he jumps on to the NHL, it may not be at his pure place. Stutzle was a middle his entire life however performed left wing this season and says he loved it as a lot as he does middle. Gross believes the wing maximizes Stutzle’s potential. As Gross explains it, Stutzle’s expertise are extra disruptive on the wing, since he can beat D-men to create possibilities inside for himself or outskate them to the skin alongside the boards and circle the online to arrange teammates. Enjoying the wing additionally means much less defensive accountability, which is sweet for a teenager. So if Stutzle fast-tracks to the NHL, the best-case situation could be to take action as a winger – with high-end firm on a scoring line.
“In case you put him on the fourth line, he’s gonna die there, know what I imply?” Gross mentioned. “He was 17 years outdated, and we simply mentioned in our group, ‘ what? We’re going to carry him the suitable means with the nice gamers, with two good gamers, gamers with numerous expertise.’ ”
Stutzle performed with Smith and Finnish proper winger Tommi Huhtala this season. Not solely did Stutzle be taught loads concerning the nuances of the professional sport from them, however he additionally absorbed a ton of English. That can assist him ingratiate faster when he involves North America. He describes himself as shy, however that doesn’t imply he’s an introvert. Gross views him as somebody who isn’t the loudest man within the room however isn’t the quiet loner, both.
“He’s a superb workforce man,” Abstreiter mentioned. “He treats everyone the identical. He doesn’t suppose he’s one thing particular. He’s by no means too smug or places his ego in entrance. He’s very centered for his age.”
Stutzle has an actual shot to tie Draisaitl because the highest-drafted German of all-time at third total. It will be an upset if Stutzle will get picked earlier than man-child Quinton Byfield at No. 2, although. There’s a sure stage of strain that comes with being the No. 1 or 2 decide in a draft class, however it lessens when you attain No. three and down. Jonathan Drouin didn’t soar proper to the NHL. Nor did Dylan Strome or Pierre-Luc Dubois. So it wouldn’t be a giant shock if Stutzle will get yet another 12 months of seasoning. Together with his maturity, although, he’ll take his destiny in stride. He’s fast on the ice however affected person off it.
“The hype was loads this season in Mannheim, and I simply loved it, however we have to quiet down a bit of bit,” he mentioned. “My aim is to play within the NHL a very long time and win one thing. I haven’t reached something but. It’s important to keep on the bottom and be humble and work exhausting.”
That is an edited model of a narrative that appeared in The Hockey Information 2020 Draft Preview Challenge. Need extra in-depth options, evaluation and opinions delivered proper to your mailbox? Subscribe to The Hockey Information journal.
Tags: prospects, worldwide hockey, from the journal, nhl draftConnect: Concerning the AuthorMatt LarkinMatt Larkin is a senior author at The Hockey Information and has been a part of the workforce since 2011. He is your one-stop store for deep-dive participant interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy participant rankings, participant security and hair ideas. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey Information Stay and The Hockey Information Podcast.

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