Weight: 178 Pounds
Date of birth: January 25, 2001
Hometown: Caledon, Ontario
Position: Center/Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 6, 109th overall, 2017 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: Not ranked. Mid-term: 164th North America
One of my favorite things when it comes to National Hockey League Central Scouting’s lists is when a player doesn’t make either of the Players to Watch Lists and all of a sudden appears on the mid-term rankings, especially when it comes to diminutive players like Daniel D’Amico of the Windsor Spitfires.
It’s not as though D’Amico didn’t have a body of work to look at when looking at pre-season players to watch. And the fact that he was a sixth-round pick at the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection should not be taken into consideration.
D’Amico played his minor midget AAA hockey during the 2016-2017 season with the Toronto Marlboros. In 32 games he posted 18 goals and 15 assists and was one of the leaders on the squad. At the OHL Cup he added 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
Last season, D’Amico made the Spitfires roster out of camp and would play in 59 games, scoring 12 goals and 7 assists. He would also play in 6 playoff games for the Spits scoring once and adding 3 helpers.
D’Amico would make big strides in this his draft season. He appeared in 67 of the 68 regular season games and notched 21 goals and assisting on 25 others. In the 4 games loss at the hands of the London Knights in the opening round of the playoffs, he would add 3 helpers.
Among draft eligible players, his 21 goals were 10th in the league. D’Amico also holds the second longest point streak among draft eligible players, producing 14 points in 20 consecutive games from December 31, 2018 to January 20, 2019.
There are still plenty of folks in the hockey world, and this could be said about NHL Central Scouting as well, that endear themselves to “bigger bodies”, and the fact that D’Amico stands just 5’9”, well, that’s going to cause him to fall into the later rounds of the 2019 Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia come June. I’m not even sure where I will slot D’Amico come June as I finish my rankings.
At that size, you would look to skating as one of the more important things D’Amico needs to have. He doesn’t possess elite speed; his first steps are not explosive and he doesn’t have a separation gear. That said, pure effort, extraordinary work ethic and excellent hockey IQ is what puts him in areas that makes him dangerous.
Once D’Amico gets into those areas, he releases his shot quickly and accurately, something I see as underrated in his game. Overall, he had a 14.9% shooting percentage. He shot 27.3% from the high-danger zone areas, 20% from mid-danger area and 9.4% from low-danger areas.
D’Amico also has good vision. Not only does he anticipate very well which allows him to get into areas for scoring chances, he sees the ice well that he can make a very good pass to set up teammates. On the powerplay, he is more of a shooter then a playmaker with the extra space, finding the open ice to get off his shot.
Defensively, D’Amico’s game is about where you would expect it to be at this level. He understands where to position himself, how to defend with his lack of size, and is pretty good at clearing his zone. He can kill penalties and has shown he can be an offensive threat down a man.
D’Amico can play both center and wing but faceoffs are going to need some work. As he moves forward in his career, I think his game is better suited for the wing, especially with his lack of size.