Photo Credit: Robert Lefebvre/OHL Images
Scouting Report written by Austin Garrett
Owen Beck is a 2022 NHL Draft prospect playing for the Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL. The Port Hope, Ontario native has predominantly played as the Steelheads second-line center, and plays on mostly on the second line power play unit and on the second line penalty kill.
Beck was drafted as the 29th pick in the 2020 OHL Priority draft and plays predominantly on a line with the 7th overall pick from the same draft: Zak Lavoie.
D.O.B – February 3, 2004
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –190 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Right
Beck’s Style of Play
In the first month of the season and in the post-COVID OHL; Owen Beck was one of the first players that I gravitated to and fell in love with.
After nine viewings and four tracked games I feel very confident saying that if you’re drafting Owen Beck for his offensive talents, then you’re definitely in love with his transitional play and his ability to facilitate the puck with his controlled entries and exits. He processes the game so fast and so well, and can problem solve his way through transition obstacles better than almost all of the forwards I’ve watched in North America this year.
He thinks the game at a very high level, and combines that with a very quick first three steps, above average top end speed, and effective puck skill; he is able to maneuver around and through defensive structures in the neutral zone. Owen Beck simply will not dump-and-chase a puck, and does everything in his power to maintain control of the puck entering the offensive zone. Whether that’s carrying the puck on a 1-on-3 and nearly generating a dangerous shot attempt.
Or it’s utilizing the setter on the wall for a give-and-go.
Beck is the focal point and driver of moving the puck up the ice for his line on the Steelheads.
Beck is a masterful facilitator of transition down the middle. Through four games tracked Owen Beck is involved in 46% of all successful transitions for Mississauga when he is on the ice and his own individual success rate is right at 72%, which includes a game where he was successful on just 46% of his transitions. In summary: when Mississauga’s second line is really cooking it’s often because they’re running their offense through Beck.
His passing data is very similar to the transition data. Three of the four games he was between 69-74% of his passes completed with one game completing just 44% of his passing attempts. He still was able to complete a total of 65% of his passes. He passes to the dangerous parts of the ice about 22% of the time, and completes about 33.3% of those passes. His decisions are often methodical, with great vision and with pre-scanning of where the puck needs to go. His decision making with the puck is pretty conservative; he doesn’t make many risky passes nor does he thread a needle between multiple defenders. Given this fact; I’m impressed that he’s able to generate more than a fifth of his passes to the dangerous parts of the ice.
I think the most underrated part of his game is his puck skill. He’s able to manipulate defenders with his speed and lateral mobility, and is able to get around defenders both in tight area situations and when given a soft cushion by a defender. His ability to get around defenders with toe-drags, putting pucks underneath sticks, or between legs and continuing to move play to dangerous areas of the ice is impressive for a draft eligible player.
I wouldn’t say there’s a true negative aspect to his offensive game, however there are things that I’d like to see Owen Beck improve on to warrant optimism that he could be a top-6 player. He’s a facilitator in transition, but in the offensive zone I would like to see a bit more risk in his passing to get to dangerous areas of the ice. He attacks the dangerous areas very well with the puck on his stick, but will often look to go to the point or down low with his passing option instead of holding onto the puck for a second longer to try to open a passing lane in the scoring areas. He also can be a bit too unselfish and will pass pucks that require a chain-linked play when he has a shot opportunity in medium-danger areas of the ice. His shot isn’t a strength, but isn’t a hindrance to his offensive production either. In the game where he had putrid transition and passing metrics there wasn’t anything wrong with his process nor any concerns about skill. Oftentimes it was a mishandled pass in transition that caused the turnover and it was a game where he attempted a lot of dangerous pass attempts but only connected on one of them.
Owen Beck is the most defensively responsible player on the Steelheads. He is in constant puck support in the defensive zone and is fantastic at reading plays in the forecheck. He’s not a physical player, but he is very good with his stick along the walls to win puck battles and defends the opposing centers very well. He is quick to identify open forwards in front of his own net and doesn’t give up chances by puck watching players below the goal line.
His strength defensively lies at defending the blue lines as a forward. He’s a great backchecker with an active stick and able to pick-pocket players from behind, as well as knock down and control passes that opposing players put past him in the neutral zone. He’s hard on the puck and suffocates space quickly. Keeping constant pressure on puck carriers allows Beck to sport a very high defensive transition break-up percentage compared to his peers. His defensive game makes him very NHL projectable given that he’s able to handle the speed of oncoming rushes as well as generate turnovers in a multifaceted way. There’s a reason why, even against the top competition in the OHL, his line has a 67% Corsi through four games.
He can get caught down low in the zone generating a turnover and throw an errant puck up the wall, but it is rare that he is caught out of position or not able to neutralize forwards in the zone. As an F2 forechecker he can get outmuscled on the wall from time-to-time and allow the opposing forward to muscle the puck out of the zone on him. However, he is not physically underdeveloped and with slight improvements in strength I don’t see that being a problem as he progresses through the AHL/NHL.
I’ll start with the summary before going into a longer explanation: conservatively I think he’s a third line center who can positively impact transition numbers and generate more chances than his line will give up.
I think there’s a lot to unpack with Owen Beck, though. While his skill isn’t super flashy; it is highly effective. He processes the game so well and so fast that he’s able to move pucks to highly effective scoring areas quickly whether that’s on his stick or with a one-touch pass.
The elephant in the room is that the first line center on Mississauga is a 2022 draft eligible as well in Luca Del Bel Belluz. Owen Beck isn’t seeing the power play time that Del Bel Belluz is, nor does he have a line-mate that is as prolific a scorer as James Hardie. While this hurts his overall point production; I do think it has helped Beck develop as he’s the focal point of the second line.
One of the biggest parts of projecting Owen Beck will be the maturation of his ability to use his skill and speed to keep the puck on his stick when entering the offensive zone. A lot of the clips shown are with the puck on his stick, but what has not been shown is that a lot of his transitions are done with him giving up the puck to a teammate to enter the zone. I think for him to generate more offensive chances (and to generate a higher point production) he’s going to have to keep the puck on his stick longer so that he’s the primary setup man in a chain-link play and not the catalyst that jump starts it.
I’m personally a bit more bullish on Owen Beck than some. Players that drive play through entries/exits will always have a positive bias from me. I think there’s a possibility that he could reach a ceiling of being a two-way, second line center. Until he’s given the opportunity to have top-line minutes and given ample power play time it’s hard for me to really project what his offensive ceiling could be as I think he has the talent to be a top-end offensive producer in the OHL, but the opportunity to be one isn’t there.
There is a strong likelihood that Beck will most likely be a backend 1st round pick to the middle of the second round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him as one of the steals of the second round when it’s all said and done.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Austin Garrett. If you would like to follow Austin on Twitter, his handle is @BMaster716.
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