At The Canuck Way, we are profiling the top prospects in the 2019 NHL Draft. Up next, we’re comparing Peyton Krebs to Bo Horvat.
With the 2019 NHL entry draft little over a month away, it is time to begin examining some of the players that could have their names called by Vancouver Canucks jersey here in June. We began by taking a look at potential 10th overall selection Trevor Zegras, and now it’s time to dissect another possible 10th overall pick in Peyton Krebs.
Krebs was born Jan. 26, 2001 in his hometown of Okotoks, Alberta. He plays primarily on the left wing but is a capable centreman as well. Krebs is a slightly undersized forward, standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing in at approximately 181 pounds.
As a result, he lacks the physical element that many hockey players enjoy but makes up for it through intelligence and drive. The Canuck Way projects him to go 12th overall to the Minnesota Wild, but the Canucks would not at all be remiss in taking him at 10.
Krebs is most definitely an offence-first player. This past season, he posted 19 goals and 49 assists for a total of 68 points with the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. He has pass-first mentality, leading to him getting considerably more assists than goals.
Krebs has the skill necessary to be an elite scorer that could fill a left-wing position next to Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, and his playmaking instincts would adapt to their scoring ability nicely.
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While his wrist shot is sharp and accurate, his slap shot and one-timer could be more powerful.
Krebs’ skill and playmaking ability are enabled by excellent skating. The young forward has an extraordinary ability to regulate his speed and swiftly change directions.
Should Krebs not have enough space to pull off a deke or dangle, he can either accelerate or slow on a dime to give himself space. Krebs can use this ability to cut to the net very effectively.
The only knock against Krebs’ offensive game is his relative unwillingness to shoot the puck, but with work, that could improve over time.
Krebs’ defensive ability is also excellent, if in need of slightly more improvement than his offence. He is adept at breaking down passing lanes and can quarterback a strong penalty kill. He is known for creating turnovers which he can then transition into the offensive zone.
However, Krebs lacks the physical strength of other players, meaning that it can be difficult for him to check effectively along the boards. His minus-50 cannot be ignored, either. It should be noted, however, that this number is fairly skewed by Kootenay’s position as the worst defensive team in the league, but it’s less than ideal for an NHLer nonetheless.
The crowning jewel of Krebs’ game is all in his mind. He has one of the best hockey IQs in the draft, up there with Jack Hughes. He can foresee a pass well before the fact, allowing him to get in position to make an exceptional play.
This is the kind of unique quality that would fit very well with Pettersson and Boeser. Krebs is highly driven to be the best player possible and will work tirelessly to improve every aspect of his game. Therefore, flaws such as hesitance to shoot or lack of shooting power are likely to be overcome and are of little concern.
Krebs is an effective two-way forward who is considerably potent in the offensive zone but capable of defending his own goal quite effectively. His hockey IQ is through the roof, meaning he can produce very efficiently, and he has demonstrated that he will work hard to improve any aspect of his game necessary.
He is also a strong leader who captained Ice through a terrible season. Admittedly, Krebs will never reach the heights of a Hughes of Kaapo Kakko. He projects to a reliable top-six role on any team and can be expected to peak at around 60-70 points per season in his prime.
If this description sounds very familiar, it is because Krebs has almost the same scouting report as Bo Horvat. Last season, Horvat put up 61 points for the Canucks for a new career high. For many of his 27 goals, he was able to use quick hands to cut to the net and score
. What Horvat has become most acclaimed for is his ability to improve every aspect of his game over time and his leadership. When drafted in 2013, the most significant knocks against him were his skating and defensive play. He worked tirelessly to improve both aspects and is now one of the Canucks’ best skaters. He has also demonstrated his leadership ability and is likely to be the next team captain.
Horvat’s career appears to be the trajectory for Krebs, and if so, the Canucks would be lucky to have him playing the left wing alongside Pettersson and Horvat. His play would boost his teammates to new heights, and if they get the chance, general manager Jim Benning and the front office should absolutely call Krebs’ name in June.