After a wildly inconsistent and disappointing lock-out-shortened season, the Phoenix Coyotes will look to continue to build their roster through the draft. The 2013 draft is very deep even after the top prospects (Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin) are off the board. Over the next few weeks, Five for Howling will break down a handful of prospects that could be available for the Coyotes with their pick at number 12 in this year's NHL entry draft, and discuss how the players might fit with the team.
The sixth edition of the 2013 draft profiles focuses on a two-way centerman from the OHL. To see all of the previous draft profiles click here.
Today's prospect: Bo Horvat - C (London Knights - OHL)
Described as, "one of the most complete forwards in this draft," by Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus, Bo Horvat has been steadily moving up draft boards. At 6'0" and 203 pounds, Horvat is a physical two-way center who kills penalties and wins face-offs. What separates him from the pack is his offensive upside.
"Even when he shakes your hand, he's got big ol' mitts on him," London assistant coach Dylan Hunter told the London Free Press. "He has a heavy shot. It's a natural thing he's got. Sometimes, you forget his age. It's tough to knock him off the puck. It's crazy to see at 17 [now 18] because you usually grow into that muscle and he's already got that strength. The older he gets, he's just going to get stronger and it bodes him well for him at the next level."
He won't light the lamp as often as Nate MacKinnon or Sasha Barkov, but he provides enough offensive ability to be an effective top-six forward on most teams. Last season with the OHL Champion London Knights, the 18-year-old scored 33 goals and 61 points in 67 games.
Horvat also earned playoff MVP honors for leading his team to the Memorial Cup after posting 16 goals and 23 points in 21 OHL playoff games.
The Rodney, Ontario native was a point-per-game player in his five Memorial Cup games this season with five points, including a pair of goals.
Horvat shined brightly on a very good Knights team run by the Hunter's. That combined with a solid work ethic, are good signs that success is not too far away for him at the next level.
Central Scouting: 15th in North American skaters
Hockey Prospectus: 14th overall
International Scouting Services: 10th overall
Ben Kerr from Last Word on Sports compared his style to that of Patrice Bergeron with the ceiling of being a top six center.
Fit in Phoenix
As a strong, physical player in his own zone, Horvat's priorities fit those of the current Coyotes system under Dave Tippett. His offensive upside lends hope that the 18-year-old can develop into a 20-goal, 50-point scorer while maintaining his physical play and his defensive prowess.
The Coyotes also need someone aside from Boyd Gordon who can win a key faceoff late in a game or on the PK; Horvat could be that guy. He already wins the vast majority of the face-offs now, even against players two years older than him.