Weight: 188 pounds
Date of birth: March 5, 2000
Hometown: Campbellford, Ontario
Position: Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 1, 17th overall, 2016 Priority Selection (Kingston Frontenacs)
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 132nd overall, North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: 109th overall, North American Skaters
Where London Knights’ winger Nathan Dunkley gets selected at the 2018 National Hockey League Draft is one of the more interesting things to watch in June when NHL Teams assemble in Dallas to make their selections.
While Dunkley has climbed 23 spots from NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings to their final rankings, ending up 109th among North American Skaters, there are some big discrepancies from their ranking and where some of the public rankings have him ranked. Including yours truly.
Look no further than TSN Bob McKenzie and his list, which is based on surveying 10 NHL Scouts. “Bobby Mac’s” list has Dunkley 71st on his mid-term rankings which include all skaters and not just North Americans. Breaking it down further, Central has Dunkley ranked 34th among OHL players while McKenzie has him ranked 17th. It may be a case of Central Scouting’s continuing bias towards bigger players. Then again, maybe not.
Dunkley played his Minor Midget AAA hockey during the 2015-2016 season with the Quinte Red Devils. In 34 games with the Devils, he amassed 24 goals and 23 assists. He would add another goal and 4 assists in 5 games at the OHL Cup.
OHL Central Scouting’s report on Dunkley read as follows:
Nathan has a very strong and low center of gravity which makes it very difficult to knock him off the puck. He is a powerful skater with a very strong 10-foot game which allows him to gain a step on players in every zone. Nathan is a skilled center that is good offensively in every aspect. He sees the ice well and can beat players one-on-one. He shoots the puck well and has scored a lot of nice goals this season. He is like a bulldog on the ice and will fight through anything to score a goal.
Dunkley broke onto the OHL scene a season ago with the Frontenacs and had a good rookie season. He appeared in 58 games for the Fronts and scored 6 goals while adding 25 assists. He was very effective in the playoffs scoring 4 goals and 3 assists in 11 games.
He got off to an excellent start this season posting 13 goals and 20 assists in 31 games. The Frontenacs began to load up for a postseason run and on January 4 Dunkley was dealt to the London Knights along with a pair of draft picks for Cliff Pu.
Dunkley would finish the season appearing in 29 games for the Knights posting 8 goals and 16 assists making his season totals 21 goals and 36 assists in 60 games. He finished 9th among draft-eligible players in assists, 8th in plus/minus, 3rd in faceoff percentage and 3rd in shooting percentage. Those are some pretty good finishes.
Dunkley’s skating ability doesn’t get the credit it deserves. He is a strong skater with excellent mobility and excellent speed. He also has very good hands and stick handling abilities when in top flight. He gets in on pucks in the offensive zone and is very good on the forecheck. He also doesn’t shy away from the physical game and is willing to make contact despite the size difference he encounters.
Dunkley is an accomplished two-way player who uses his excellent speed to regularly be the first player on the backcheck. He has an excellent work ethic and uses that as much in the d-zone and the neutral zone as he does in the O-zone.
Dunkley has good vision and hockey sense. He can slow the game down while maintaining possession and can wait for options to develop. He is especially effective with the man advantage where he has more time and space to make plays. He also has a decent shot but could stand to improve on it and is willing to crash the net and pounce on loose pucks – which shows in his high shooting percentage.