Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: C Adam Ruzicka

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

Today we will look at another center option in Slovak Adam Ruzicka of the OHL Sarnia Sting.

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Name: Adam Ruzicka

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1999-05-11

Height, weight: 6’4”, 209 lbs

Team, league: Sarnia Sting, OHL

Stats (from 







#51 by Future Considerations
#37 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: Top-six center

Draft Range: Top 50

Scouting report

"A big bodied center that can be a beast on skates… a prototypical power forward frame, excellent puck control…has good puck skills…loves to control the puck on his stick carrying it with a calm confidence…very strong and with his impressive reach is almost impossible to knock off the puck when he wants to keep possession…not the most explosive skater and often seems to float around, but his top speed is real solid and he is near to impossible to stop once in full motion…creating chances for his teammates with skilled passes…has a really hard slap shot and accurate wrister…uses his body along the boards and throws some big hits…loves to create offense with his speed, hands and hockey sense…needs to cut down on the fly-bys and implement more starting and stopping on the puck to become more effective… battles for the pucks, plays responsibly in the defensive zone…has some definite room to grow in his play but could be a real stud once he reaches his full potential.  (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Adam Ruzicka is Slovakia’s most promising prospect in this year’s draft, and he has a chance to make it into the first round, especially after a strong showing at the under-18 world championship. Ruzicka has an excellent frame and possesses all the tools you want to see in a power-forward-type NHL center.

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At 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds, Ruzicka is incredibly hard to knock off the puck. When he gets it in the offensive zone, he can seemingly skate around with it as long as he wants, always putting his body between the opponent and the puck. With his long reach and strong grip, there often seems to be no way to knock it loose.

But, Ruzicka has more than just an outstanding frame. He possesses a quick release on a heavy, accurate wrist shot, and can fire slap shots at the net as well. Thanks to his quick hands and mobility, he carries the puck with confidence while keeping his head up to make plays. Ruzicka loves to shoot, but also displays strong vision that allows him to play dangerous set-up passes.

Overall, Ruzicka is a well-rounded power center who can create danger in multiple ways.


There are mostly two things worth criticising about Ruzicka. One, his skating and two, his defensive play.

Ruzicka has solid speed and excellent mobility for his size, but he seems to have just two gears. Either he hovers around the ice looking for openings — which is positive — or he has the puck and tries to carry it to the net no matter who or what is in his way. If he can find ways to be more deceptive, for example slowing down and then taking off with a quick acceleration, he could be much more effective.

As to the defensive issues, Ruzicka mostly struggled to adjust to the North American game and the play away from the puck. He needs to improve his defensive awareness and support in the defensive zone, and is not outstanding on the backcheck either.

Final Thoughts

Let’s speculate. If the Canucks go with a defenseman in the first round — and this is a legitimate option with Miro Heiskanen’s outstanding U18s — they will be looking for a center in the second round. Here, they could well prefer a 6-foot-4 power forward over a smaller two-way guy like, say, Canadian Jaret Anderson-Dolan.

The Canucks already have a top-six, two-way center in Bo Horvat and probably want someone with first-line offensive upside. Ruzicka has a lot of work to do, which is why he is ranked outside of the first round by all scouting services, but he certainly has high offensive upside.

If Ruzicka uses the 2017-18 season to improve his two-way game, there is a good chance that we could see him in the NHL by 2019 or even in 2018. His massive frame should allow him to move up to the pros quickly. But, that first part of improving his two-way game and rounding out his toolset will be extremely important along the way.

Next: 2017 NHL Draft Profile Overview

The under-18 world championship made me a Ruzicka fan and I would love to see him drafted by Vancouver at 33.