Photo from Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Was Tyson Foerster this year’s most impressive draft riser? He’s definitley in the running.
Most public pre-season draft lists didn’t have Tyson Foerster ranked – or if they did, it was outside the top 100. Many scouts didn’t have much of a book on him. A 23-point rookie season left a lot to be desired, especially given how impressive he was with the Barrie Colts’ AAA minor midget team prior to the OHL draft in 2018. It was clear there was a pure level of skill that he didn’t showcase as a rookie, so a big sophomore campaign was in order.
Fortunately, he lived up to the expectations. Foerster exploded with 36 goals and 80 points as a sophomore, good for third among U-18 OHLers. Foerster’s primary points-per-60 of 1.02 was good for sixth among draft-eligible OHLers while finishing 33 points clear of the second top-scoring Colt.
Tyson Foerster had six points in the Barrie Colts 7-3 win over the Mississauga Steelheads last night. Foerster has 4G & 4A for 8 points in 4 games (tied for 5th in the OHL). Expect to see Tyson at the 2020 CHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton on January 16th. @tfoerster8 #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/tOmPPhJEqV— Ryan McArthur (@ryanpmcarthur) September 29, 2019
So it’s safe to say Foerster improved his fortunes, but that was more in line with what was expected of him when he was a third-round pick at the 2018 OHL draft. Foerster had 61 points in his minor midget AAA season and was one of the most impressive forwards at the OHL Cup to finish off the 2017-18 season thanks to a nine-point effort. One tthing was clear: Foerster, a big, skilled winger, knew how to create offense. He finally earned the praise he deserved, flying up the NHL’s Central Scouting Rankings from 41st among North American forwards at the halfway point of the season to 21st in the final rankings, and teams looking for a smart winger capable of hitting 40-50 points in the NHL some day could even consider him in the top 20.
Foerster showed true promise in 2019-20, so let’s take a closer look at why that was the case:
D.O.B – January 18, 2002
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 6’1
Weight – 194 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Right
Foerster’s Style Of Play
When the puck hits Foerster’s stick, watch out. With a strong, accurate release, Foerster possesses one of the most dangerous wrist shots among draft-eligible OHLers, and a high-volume shooter at that – his 3.63 shots-per-game was good for fifth among 2020 draft prospects from the OHL and his 149 even strength (sixth) and 71 power-play shots (first) made him a league leader. Equally as impressive, Foerster’s 19 primary assists was good for fifth behind a host of first-round prospects this year.
Like most notable goal-scorers, he’s proficient around the net and has no issue finding the right spot to plant himself in front of the crease to put pucks in the net. According to InStat, Foerster has a 60.3 percent success rate from the high slot, but Foerster’s a high-percentage shooter from the faceoff dots, too. His 59.6 percent shot attempt success-rate on the left faceoff dot is a big jump over Quinton Byfield’s 51.7 percent, while Cole Perfetti finished at 55.4 percent.
Why does this matter when the likelihood of a goal is limited? That’s usually true: six of Perfetti’s 37 goals came from the outside while Byfield found the back of the net just four times. Foerster had 10 goals from the perimeter – around 28 percent of his goals – but he still hit the net on 73 of his 122 attempts. Compare that to fellow Colt Aidan Brown, who had 19 goals to sit in team scoring (at 20 years old, nonetheless), and he connected on 38 of his 53 attempts – a better overall percentage, but with just one goal and much fewer shots. For further reference, Jack Quinn, who led all draft-eligible OHLers with 52 goals, had just four goals from the perimiter despite hitting the net on 75 shots (more than Foerster) on 120 attempts (fewer) – but nobody was better at capitalizing in the slot than Quinn. What does this tell us? It shows that, when compared to the OHL’s top prospects (sorry, Brown), Foerster is what’s considered a “confident” shooter and can be trusted in key scoring roles at the next level.
Specifically, when looking at the charateristics of Foerster’s shot, it’s his quick release – on a snap, slap or wrist attempt – that stands out among the rest of the OHL’s top prospects. When pulling off a one-timer, he tends to do so with fantastic accuracy, even when aiming from the off-wing. Once he gets the release off, you know exactly where it’s going – but it’s often too fast to get in the way. When you give him room on the power play, he’ll rip slap shots on net like you see from Alex Ovechkin, and that’s scary when you take into account how powerful his release is. And while he’s definitely a sharpshooter, Foerster loves to get creative when making passes and has the hands to keep up with the quick pace of a play. Scouts aren’t worried about his offensive abilities – he has all the makings of a 50-goal scorer in the OHL next season, but he just needs the help around him to achieve that.
There aren’t many complaints about Foerster’s game in the defensive zone. At tthe very least, he’ll cheat a bit closer to the blueline to get an edge on a defender on the reverse scoring chance, but Foerster is rarely out of position when utilized in tight siutations and has solid defensive zone awareness.
One of the biggest knocks on his overall game – and a reason he isn’t ranked higher on public draft boards – is his skating. It’s not bad, per say, but it’s underwhelming. He’ll often get beat in short burst situations due to a low acceleration speed and mid-range top speed. He can hold his own against other top players in this regard, but it’s what’s really seperating him from an extra 10 draft spots, given the speed posessed by many first-round prospects. That was especially noticeable at the CHL Top Prospects Game, and while he was one of the game’s top players, he lost his fair share of battles trying to gain control of the puck. His current speed is managable, but taking it to the next step will open up many more opportunities.
Radek Dvorak, RW (Various NHL teams)
Dvorak was never a big point-producer in the NHL, but he was a reliable two-way forward that teams could easily count on to be an effective secondary scorer. Dvorak had a powerful shot that he wasn’t afraid to unleash from anywhere on the ice, matching Foerster’s biggest strength. Dvorak hit the 50-point mark on a handful of occasions, and that’s a realistic expectation for Foerster after a few years of further development.
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