(Photo Credit: Terry Wilson Photography)
Tyler Tucker is an 18-year-old defenseman, standing 6’1″ and weighing in at 203 lbs. He’s a stay-at-home type with a simple approach. Responsible, competitive, physical. He bolsters these attributes with great skating and a solid outlet pass.
While not being known for his offensive contributions, I still recommend watching this video. It’s certainly a flash of offensive upside in his young career. I’ve shared this before in my “2018 Draft Selections to Prospect Camp” article, and I’ll share it again. He scores 2, including the OT game winner.
Consistent offense hasn’t come with Tucker’s game yet, and that’s okay. That isn’t really Tyler’s game. Tyler projects to be a great compliment to an offensive defenseman, who would benefit from having a sturdy partner protecting their own zone. Sure, Tucker can put in the odd screened shot or garbage goal, as seen above, but Tyler Tucker’s presence will be felt in a different way. He’d surely be the secondary threat from the blue line, but a primary threat in his own zone.
As for us locals that attended prospect camp, we didn’t see everything Tucker can do. Tyler wasn’t exactly showcasing all of his talents. Obviously, it’s not in his best interest to lay somebody out at one of these development camps. They say it’s frowned upon.
Tyler Tucker is always looking to throw the body. He’s a bruiser, he knows it, and the opponent feels it. His grit and strength that he brings to the game is a benefit to any organization and it gives a level of freedom to his more offensive minded teammates. Tyler has his teammates backs and never backs down.
The Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada native was drafted 200th overall in the 7th round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Blues. It was a decision that provided a balance to the organization’s youth on defense. Here are his stats, courtesy of EliteProspects.com.
As you can see, point totals aren’t exactly a good representation of Tucker’s game, but I think the Blues were brilliant to select him with their last pick of the 2018 draft.
The Blues had already drafted 3 forwards. Dominik Bokk (25th in 1st round), Hugh McGing (138th in the 5th round), and Mathias Laferriere (169th in the 6th round). St. Louis brought even more balance to the coming youth, selecting goaltender, Joel Hofer (107th in the 4th round). One other defensemen was selected by the Blues. Scott Perunovich (45th overall in the 2nd round). He is a smaller, more agile, offensive-minded defender. All of which are covered in the piece I mentioned earlier, “2018 Draft Selections to Prospect Camp“.
This 2018 draft class is a nice melting pot of skills if you ask me. Tucker, by far, is the biggest physical presence of the group, and he has plenty of time to grow, physically and mentally. Surely, he’ll be focusing on improving the offensive side of his game, and only time will tell what kind of player he will develop into. Let’s not expect a big transformation, but embrace his strengths.
Tyler isn’t a defenseman that will frustrate you in your own zone. Colton Parayko is a big guy, but he doesn’t really throw his weight around out there. I can see how that may frustrate some fans, but that’s just not the way Colton plays. I’m personally okay with that, but Tucker’s approach is different, and he likes contact, a lot.
Here’s an example
What a hit!!! Tyler Tucker of the Barrie Colts absolutely levels Ryan Merkley with a huge open ice hit last weekend at the Barrie Molson Centre. Why would anyone cut into the middle of the ice with @TylerTukr19 out there?!?! #GoodnightMerkley #TuckerBomb pic.twitter.com/yuKtU0ZLg8
— Ryan McArthur (@ryanpmcarthur) March 4, 2018
Don’t let Tyler Tucker catch you with your head down!
Disciplined by the OHL
A big part of the maturity process with Tyler will be knowing when you can lay out the opponent. This is the difference between being a hard-hitting defenseman and being a goon. You have to know the line. You aren’t any good to your team sitting in the press box. The Blues are a franchise that doesn’t get suspended with the last one coming in the form of a Ryan Reaves board in February of 2016. Tyler has to improve this part of his game.
— Very Barrie Colts (@VeryBarrieColts) September 18, 2017
Let’s bring some former Blues into discussion. I’d put Tyler Tucker in the category of a young, learning, Roman Polak when it comes to his physical approach. I think it’s possible we can compare Tucker’s defensive technique to that of a young, learning, Barret Jackman, and the closest comparison in style to a current Blue would have to be Robert Bortuzzo, in my opinion.
He’s not afraid
Here’s a video that proves it. While he ends up losing this fight, let’s keep in mind that he chose to take on 20-year-old, 230 lb, 6’7″ Logan Stanley (one of the biggest and toughest in the league). Tyler made a huge statement to his teammates, and to the Barrie Colts organization that night.
This is one of those players who’s contributions don’t always show up on the score sheet. Considering the projected roles of the defensemen in the Blues’ system, Tyler Tucker is unique, and a smart addition to the defensive depth. I’m excited to follow his development, and will be pulling for offensive upside, but I’m not going to expect it by any means. I think his identity as a player is pretty much well-established, and that he can build upon that. Any offensive improvements will simply be a plus.