The competitive, skilled forward has the ability to impact the game in various ways, something the Senators covet in their draft picks
Team: USA National U18 Team
Physical Profile: 5’10”, 174 lbs
Consolidated Ranking: 12
2021-22 Stats: 56 GP, 28G-42A-70P, 156 SOG
Frank Nazar is one of the most dynamic players in the 2022 Draft, his skating combined with his relentless motor make him a threat on both ends of the ice, leaving his mark on each and every game he plays in.
While the Senators have made it evident in the past (especially in last years draft) that they prefer to take players with size, however, what Nazar gives up in size he makes up for in compete level. The 18-year-old forward isn’t afraid of the dirty areas on the ice and likes to attack the inside rather than relying on making plays from the perimeter, something that should be beneficial at the pro level.
Elite Offensive Toolkit
Nazar brings a lot to the table on the offensive end, he displays great vision, consistently finding his teammates in favourable positions on the ice, whether in tight areas or in transition. The skilled winger tends to have his head up at all times with the puck, constantly looking to make a play, best displayed in this clip below:
The University of Michigan commit instantly looks for the next viable play after recovering his own rebound, he quickly scans the ice before firing a no look cross-seam pass to his teammate for the goal. There aren’t many players on the Senators roster who bring the offensive toolkit that Nazar displays, especially at the right-wing position.
Goal scoring is also not a problem for the exciting forward, he boasts a quick release that can deceive goaltenders, with his willingness to get to the middle of the ice too, Nazar poses a wide variety of problems for opponents in the offensive zone.
Strong Transitional Play
On top of all Nazar’s enticing attributes is his skating, which makes him one of the better prospects in the entire draft in transition, carrying pucks through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone with ease, using his great edges and maneuverability to put defenders in a bind. This doesn’t just impact the offensive end of the ice, with Nazar’s tremendous speed he has the ability to pressure puck carriers and occasionally force a turnover. When Nazar does make a solid play in the defensive zone he can immediately flip the script and start creating offensively through transition:
Much like Senators speedsters Alex Formenton and Mathieu Joseph, Nazar puts opposing defenders on their heels when he skates through the neutral zone, with or without the puck. D.J. Smith’s forward group still lacks the desired speed that most top teams in the NHL have, adding a speedster such as Nazar will only open up more opportunities for teammates, forcing opposing defencemen to be wary of getting burned.
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Potential fit in Ottawa?
Nazar is exactly what the Senators need more of in their system, despite having a relatively deep prospect pool, the team lacks high-end talent, adding the competitive forward would further bolster their system and gives them a potential top-six forward that could step into a prominent role in a few years.
If the Pierre Dorion & Co. decide to keep the 7th overall pick, it will be crucial for the team to target high-end skill with their selection, with less of an emphasis on “toughness” and “grit”. Despite not being overtly physical or big, Nazar’s compete level and willingness to go to the front of the net should be appealing to the Senators amateur scouting staff.
If the Senators select Nazar at 7 it would be a promising sign for the direction of the organization and their player evaluations.