Weight: 167 Pounds
Date of birth: June 20, 2002
Hometown: Aurora, Ontario
Position: Center/Left Winger
OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2018 Priority Selection (Flint Firebirds)
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
|C Prospect||C Prospect||LV||
It’s been a path worth watching as Barrie Colts pivot Evan Vierling has his sights set on the National Hockey League Draft (whenever that may come). Vierling, the second overall pick of the Flint Firebirds at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Draft, played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the York Simcoe Express during the 2017-2018 season (OMHA Minor Midget AAA Champions). In 33 games, he amassed 27 goals and 36 assists and added 4 goals and 6 assists in 6 playoff games.
Vierling and the Express went on to the OHL Cup where Vierling scored 5 goals and 5 assists in 6 games. It was Vierling’s second appearance at the tournament with the Express, posting identical numbers during the 2016-2017 season.
Here is what OHL Central Scouting had to say about Vierling:
Evan is a smooth skating centre that has very good offensive instincts. He is one of the nicest skaters in the draft, plays a good 10-foot game, has a long, powerful stride and is very agile on his skates. He has a great skill set and can makes plays at full speed. He is a smart player that understands the situations of a game and makes very few mistakes. He plays a simple but effective game. Evan was a big part of the success his team had in the second half.
Vierling appeared in 60 games during his rookie OHL season with the Firebirds. He scored 6 goals and assisted on 21 others. He would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 where he had a leadership role and in 6 games scored twice and assisted on another.
This season was somewhat of a challenge for Vierling. He began the year with the Firebirds scoring 2 goals and 8 helpers in the first 15 games. But Vierling wanted to be closer to home and went back home to Toronto while awaiting a trade.
On January 7, that trade finally came to fruition as the Colts send Tyler Tucker and Riley Piercey to the Firebirds for Vierling and a pair of draft picks. Vierling told CTV Barrie “This is the team I looked up to, so it’s cool to play here.”
The trade paid dividends to both Vierling and the Colts. Vierling appeared in 28 games following the trade scoring 12 goals and 22 assists. He went pointless in his last 5 games with the Firebirds, He was held off the scoresheet in his first game with the Colts (did he need to shake off some rust?) but then recorded points in 13 consecutive games. He was held off the score sheet just 5 times in 27 games and back-to-back just once. And despite playing just 28 games with the Colts, his 34 points ranked 6th in a Colts uniform.
A season ago, the knock on Vierling was a simple one: while he showed he had some skill, too often he stood still and lacked consistency from shift to shift. I think his brief time with the Colts can lay that to rest.
Vierling is a two-way pivot who is more of a playmaker then a goal scorer. While he did have a 12.2 shooting percentage overall (14.6% with the Colts), he did start shooting more with in Barrie (2.9 shots per game) then Flint (2.2 shots per game). He is however, more dangerous setting up teammates. He is a highly skilled passer who is dangerous from the hashmarks with an uncanny ability to find teammates on the back door.
Vierling is a very good technical skater with a smooth stride. He doesn’t have explosive speed and lacks a separation gear, but if he can continue to work on those traits, there is no telling how far he can go. Combined with his confidence and vision and ability to transition and maintain puck control, he can be even more dangerous.
Right now, Vierling projects as a third liner that won’t hurt you defensively and provide a bit of offence. His ceiling may be that of a second liner who can run your second powerplay unit from the half wall considering his playmaking abilities and how dangerous he is with space. I think his game is better suited down the middle rather then on the wing.