This is the fourth article in our Oilers Draft Watch 2011 series.
Two years later, Goodrow is still a labored skater, with a lack of initial burst, foot speed and agility. We asked one NHL scout about Goodrow at the halfway point this season and his response was swift: "The skating's going to hold him back," was all he said.
That's Kirk Luedeke on Brampton Battalion winger Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow grew early and physically dominated other bantams, and that physical domination caught the attention of the Battalion who took Goodrow 17th overall in the 2009 OHL draft. He has yet to live up to his potential, however, as his game, and especially his footspeed have yet to catch up to his size. Now that he's playing against kids of the same size, his lack of speed has been exposed by the talent in the NHL. I spoke with a couple of different scouts and OHL observers and they all expressed the same sentiment: even with just average footwork, Goodrow would be a 35 goal scorer and probably a second round pick. After the jump, I'll explore Goodrow's game and his possible draft position and whether his skating will improve.
#23 / Left Wing / Brampton Battalion
February 26, 1993
|2010 - Brampton Battalion
Goodrow is ranked 116th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting behind a number of less productive forwards and a couple of outright goons. Why? In a November, Brock Otten from the always-wonderful OHL Prospects filed a scouting report on Goodrow and like Luedeke noted a number of deficiencies in his game:
His skating looks better, although his explosiveness will need to continue to improve as he tries to take the puck to the net, but doesn't have the separation speed to get by defenders. However, he needs to be way more physical and lost a lot of battles for loose pucks along the boards. This is something nobody wants to see of a 6'2, 210 lb winger.
The strange thing about Goodrow's physical deficiencies is that he was able to post some interesting statistics last year for the Battalion. Though he scored only 24 goals in 65 games, that was good enough to lead the Battalion, something that only five other draft -eligible OHL forwards were able to do: Peterborough's Matt Puempel scored 34 times, tying for his team's lead with Austin Watson, Gabriel Landeskog led the Kitchener Rangers with 36 goals, Vladislav Namestnikov led London with 30, Stefan Noesen led Plymouth with 34 and Nick Cousins led Sault Ste. Marie.with 29. Goodrow is in some outstanding company.
On a team level, Goodrow couldn't count on his teammates to get him cheap assists or easy setups. Brampton ranked 19th of 20 in goals for in the OHL during the regular season. After Goodrow's 24 goals, the next highest total was 20 by Ian Watters. Compare that to the Ryan Strome's Niagara IceDogs who had four players score more goals than Goodrow and six players top 20 goals. Shane Prince's Ottawa 67's saw five players score more goals than Goodrow and six players top 20 goals. Boone Jenner's Oshawa Generals had six players score more goals than Goodrow. Goodrow had no help in Brampton, to put it mildly.
It's also worth noting that Brampton was outscored by 24 goals in 2010-11 yet Goodrow was tied for 6th on the team in +/- at -4. Given that he was Brampton's main scoring threat, it's a safe assumption that he was facing top pairing defenders throughout the year and likely facing 19 and 20 year old wingers.
He's also willing to drop the gloves, but working my way through his bouts on YouTube, I noticed a terrible lack of balance when fighting. He should probably stop brawling and all the lesser lights in Brampton handle the knuckle work.
Statistically, there is something, though small, there. So is Goodrow worth a 5th or a 6th round pick, even with his skating issues?
"There's some unrefined potential with this kid," said a Western Conference scout who works Ontario for his club. "His dad played university football, so there are some bloodlines, and he's a pretty solid two-way guy. The skating's rough, but he's someone who you take later and that maybe with some good coaching he can become and effective grinder for you."
I spoke with a Western Conference scout who echoed a similar view on his skating:
"He's got a long way to go before he can skate for an NHL team, but it's all technical. He has a ton of natural athletic ability, but his starts and turns are so poor he can't use any of that athleticism. If he is drafted, that team is going to have him on a training program from day one."
I spoke with Brock Otten recently and asked for an updated scouting report on Goodrow. Brock's take:
Goodrow is a power forward project who has good hands and a very good shot, which he can release quickly, either off the wall or coming down the wing. He's a smart player too who knows where to go on the ice and is definitely a teachable player. But he is a project.
It seems everyone I've talked to says his skating is going to prevent him from making the NHL. What's your take?
He's going to have to improve his skating in every facet in order to improve his consistency offensively. He's also a guy who could benefit from being that power forward on a more consistent basis. Being consistent in using his size, driving hard to the net, and throwing his weight around.
With so many problems central to his game, how was able to score 24 goals and lead his team in scoring?
He does have a very good shot. His wrister is top notch. He'll come down the wing, use the defender as a screen and rifle one. He's also a very smart player and gets himself in good position to score and does pot goals around the crease off rebounds.
Can you think of a comparable player either by style or someone who had similar skating issues?
While it's an OHL comparison of recent years, Goodrow reminds me a lot of Garrett Wilson (of the Owen Sound Attack, and a Panthers draft pick) in his draft year. Wilson obviously developed very well so there is hope for improvement.
He was one of six draft-eligible kids to lead his OHL team in goal scoring and he was on a bad team. Is he able to create his own offense?
Scoring 24 this year for Brampton was no easy feat. They were not a good offensive team AT ALL. It's not like he played with a quality playmaker or a dynamic offensive player that he could feed off of. A lot of his goals were created by him. Which is promising.
He's just an inconsistent power forward really. That's like a lot of kids in junior hockey who play that game. If he played hard, physical, and in your face every game/every shift, we'd be talking about him as a possible 2nd/3rd rounder (even with the skating issues). Heck, Dalton Smith was drafted in the early 2nd and he's on par skating wise with Goodrow. Really it's a case of having a player who (at this point), does only a couple of things really well, but who has the potential to round out his game. Thus the project tag. He'll probably be a 30 goal scorer as early as next year. It's just a matter of whether the skating improves and the intensity becomes more consistent. If both improve, the NHL that selects him could be very happy with that they find. He's definitely a guy I wouldn't hesitate in using a mid to late round draft pick on.