Weight: 197 pounds
Date of birth: May 13, 2001
Hometown: Markham, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 4, 63rd overall, 2017 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: C Prospect. Mid-term: 183 NA Skaters
Sudbury Wolves blueliner Liam Ross played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Mississauga Reps during the 2016-2017 season notching 4 goals and 8 helpers while appearing in 32 games. He added a goal in 8 games at the OHL Cup as the Reps went on to win the Championship. The Wolves would select Ross in the 4th round, 63rd overall at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
Ross would enter his rookie season with the Wolves a year ago and play in all but 8 games. He scored 4 goals and assisted on 5 others in those 60 contests. He upped his offensive output this season with 7 goals and 22 assists while appearing in all 68 games. He added a helper in the Playoffs, as the Wolves were eliminated in the second round.
Ross is an intelligent two-way defender whose defensive game is already ahead of the development curve expected at this stage. However, his upside is directly linked to just how high his offensive abilities can take him.
The general consensus is that Ross’ skating is just average. He has a short stride that prevents him from generating a quick first step. That quickness is lacking moving east-west as well.
That said, Ross makes up for any skating deficiencies with high level hockey IQ. Defensively, he keeps his gaps close and uses a long reach and active stick to break up plays. He angles opponents off extremely well but adding more physicality to his game would make him even more effective. He needs to become quicker in his puck retrieval and skating out of his own zone, but he does make a very good pass to transition to offense.
Offensively, Ross will take some chances. He won’t always take risks, but is adept at knowing when to pinch and has some success when doing so. His vision is very good and he identifies them quickly and is able to deliver a perfect pass. He possesses a deceptively heavy shot from the point and is able to get it through traffic and on target more often then not.
I’ve said it before and it is worth repeating when discussing Ross: I’m not worried about skating as I was just a few short years ago. There are so many quality skating coaches out there and the list of players who have improved their skating is a long one.
As long as the player has a willingness to put the work in, it shouldn’t be a problem. There’s nothing seen from Ross that suggests he wouldn’t put in the effort.