Photo Credit: Halifax Mooseheads
Robert Orr is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Beaconsfield, Québec. Beaconsfield is located on the West Island (Montréal area) and is south of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux and Pointe Claire.
While Orr has the same name as the hall of famer and Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr, they are not related. When the Halifax Mooseheads acquired Orr in a trade with the Saint John Sea Dogs, they mentioned in a press release that Orr was not named after the former Bruins defenseman. Instead, he was named after his grandfather.
Orr played youth hockey in the Lac St-Louis Lions organization. During his time with the Lions, he played alongside Markus Vidicek (2022 NHL Draft prospect), James Swan (2022 NHL Draft prospect), Christopher Duclair (2021 NHL Draft prospect and Anthony Duclair’s brother), Charles-Alexis Legault (2021 NHL Draft prospect), Brady James (2021 NHL Draft prospect), James Malatesta (2021 NHL Draft prospect), Dovar Tinling (2021 NHL Draft prospect) and Devon Levi (Florida Panthers prospect). The Halifax Mooseheads are a big fan of the Lac St-Louis Lions organization and brought Vidicek, Swan, James and Orr to Nova Scotia.
Initially, Orr was drafted by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the 2019 QMJHL Entry Draft in the fifth round. Before the 2020 QMJHL Entry Draft, the Mooseheads dealt a second round and a fourth round pick to Saint John for Orr. Orr had not played in a single game for Saint John as he spent the 2019-2020 season in the QMAAA (Ligue de hockey Midget AAA du Québec) for the Lions.
This season is Orr’s first season in the QMJHL and he has been one of the key contributors on the Halifax squad. In 31 games played, he has recorded 11 goals and 12 assists (data as of March 15, 2021).
D.O.B – September 1, 2003
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –176 lbs
Position – Center/Right Wing/Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Orr’s Style Of Play
Former NHL defenseman and Halifax Mooseheads head coach J.J. Daigneault has featured Orr on his top forward line throughout the season. There are a few games in which Orr has dropped to the second forward line, but the majority of the time, Orr plays on the top line with Elliot Desnoyers (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) and Zachary L’Heureux (2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect). When Orr is on the second line, Daigneault will move Jordan Dumais (2022 NHL Draft prospect) or Vidicek up to the top line.
While Orr generally plays on the wing in Halifax, he has shown throughout his midget and bantam days that he can be a dominant centerman. Orr is incredibly versatile and can be a good fit at center, left wing or right wing. Orr is a Swiss Army Knife.
In the offensive zone, he typically likes to take the center role even when he is playing on the wing. When he does not have possession of the puck, he loves to drive up to the low/medium slot and give his teammates an option at net-front. Due to his affinity for playing net-front, Orr scores quite a few deflection and rebound goals. But, his knack for deflection goals needs to be called out. Orr’s ability to predict shot paths and then use his stick to redirect the puck is quite strong. Not only does Orr thrive when redirecting pucks into the back of the net, but he is also solid at finding open ice down low. In the clip below, you can see Orr positioning himself close to the net in medium danger. He sees that the Cape Breton Eagles are drawn to the puck and ignoring him. That allows Orr to keep his feet moving and identify the ideal lane for his teammates to pass the puck through. With Orr finding that lane and collecting a cross-slot pass, he scores a quality goal and catches the Cape Breton goaltender and defenders off guard.
While Orr loves to be net-front, that doesn’t always mean that he is net-front. There are plenty of sequences where Orr positions himself along the half-wall. When he is playing along the half-wall, he constantly looks to get the puck into high danger. If he has two defenders on him and he sees a teammate busting through the seams and headed to high danger, he will buttonhook and complete a behind the back pass to get the puck to that particular teammate. Orr will constantly use no look passing to be as deceptive as possible.
In addition to no look passing, when in the slot, Orr will sometimes look to get into the high slot towards the perimeter and deliver tape to tape feeds to the doorstep. Occasionally, he will also utilize a backhand pass to get the puck net-front. His passing ability in the slot has led to quite a few Moosehead goals.
In terms of forechecking, it’s the one element where Orr is a bit weak. He constantly looks at his opponent’s skates on the forecheck and mimics each movement, but that also means that if he can not garner speed then he is always a step behind. When he is in position to deliver a bodycheck along the boards, he doesn’t have the upper body strength to follow through on the check.
In the defensive zone, Orr has good positioning. He typically sits along low danger and tries to keep the cycle along the boards in low danger. But, when the puck shifts from the right side to the left side, he will adjust like most wingers do and cover the slot in an insurance capacity.
In terms of gap control, Orr can be a little inconsistent. There are moments where Orr provides strong gap control on the opposition’s defenders and keeps them at bay on the point. But, then there are moments where Orr will drift a little too far out to the blue-line, which gives his attackers too much open ice if they are sitting along the half-wall.
In terms of pursuing the puck, Orr will be very aggressive to the puck if there is no Moosehead in position. I’ve seen instances where Orr spots a forward on the rush and immediately lengthens his stride to help boost his acceleration. He will turn on the jets and go from the offensive zone blue-line to the defensive zone to play the puck.
Orr is extremely strong in transition. Once he collects the first pass from the defender, he is ready at the hip.
In the neutral zone, he has a mixed bag of tools to generate zone entries. Sometimes, he will dump the puck into the offensive zone and he has shown that he can beat the defenders to the puck when he dumps it in. He will also deliver tape to tape diagonal feeds as soon as he crosses his own blue-line. Orr will identify a teammate close to the offensive zone blue-line and feed a diagonal pass to them for a zone entry. In addition, Orr will utilize the boards and dump the puck off the boards for one of his teammates to collect in the offensive zone. That’s a good way to sell that the Mooseheads might be dumping the puck for a line change. Orr loves to be deceptive, so it makes sense that he would look to dump the puck off of the boards to initiate a rush. Plus, he will also utilize behind the back passing when two attackers are putting on pressure and he spots an open teammate with a clear path to the net.
The biggest challenge for Orr is stick-handling and puck movement. Over the course of my viewings, stick-handling and puck security issues kept popping up. His stick-handling under pressure is not strong. Orr’s upper body strength is not where it needs to be from a reach perspective, so he is more susceptible to turning over the puck when he tries to play the puck further out. In addition, while Orr loves to be deceptive, he does struggle with puck manipulation. Orr has a harder time at drawing attackers towards him.
Orr needs to develop better puck security and ensuring that the puck is always on his stick blade. But, with that being said, there certainly are times where he struggles at capturing the puck with his stick blade. Sometimes, Orr will end up collecting a pass with his skate and not his stick blade. As you can imagine, collecting the puck with your skate versus your stick blade will ultimately slow you down as you strive to go net-front.
From a skating perspective, Orr has quality leg extensions to generate acceleration and is a straight line skater. But, he is not the fastest skater on the ice. He does utilize crossovers before lengthening his stride, but he doesn’t use crossovers every single time. Yet, with that being said, there are times where his speed is rather inconsistent especially on the backcheck. There are times where he is far more aggressive and faster to the puck and others where he appears to be coasting.
Aside from acceleration and stride length, it is worth noting that Orr’s skate placement is never too far apart. His mobility is sound. But, he does have some mobility issues with his edges. Occasionally, his edge placement will not be parallel and you will see one skate perpendicular to the other. Also, I have noticed that there are instances where Orr is far more confident in his crossovers to help turn versus using his edges. But, I’m not concerned about Orr’s edgework. Edgework can be improved on.
Pierre Engvall, Left Wing/Right Wing, Toronto Maple Leafs
While Pierre Engvall is slightly bigger than Robert Orr, Engvall strong transitional playing style and affinity to go to net-front reminds me quite a bit of Orr. At this point, it is hard to predict whether or not Orr’s offensive production will be stronger than Engvall’s. The biggest factor for Orr’s production will have more to do with who is on the line with him. If he is on a team with weaker depth, his production might take a hit.
Top Nine NHL Forward
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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