|6’0”||185||4-25-2004||D||L||24th 2020||36 N/A||CANADA|
|2019-20||GTHL U-16||Toronto Jr Canadiens||31||6||7||13|
|2020-21||OHL||DID NOT PLAY|
The Guelph Storm have a few players at this point projected to go in the first two rounds of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and Defenceman Michael Buchinger is one of them. Most independent scouting services have him pegged as a late second rounder.
Buchinger is a smooth skating two-way defender. His mobility is a plus as he has great movement east to west, pivoting to skating backwards, great edgework and an ability to turn on a dime. However, I believe he needs to work on his first few steps. He can lead the breakout with his skating or a first pass, but that added speed would give him an edge.
I believe Buchinger thinks the game at a very high level. He sees the ice extremely well and processes the game quickly. He is creative with the puck and has an ability to set up high danger scoring chances for his teammates. That ability makes him dangerous with the man advantage. He can quarterback the powerplay however, he lacks the velocity or heaviness with his shot from the blueline.
I’ve been impressed with Buchinger’s competitiveness. He works extremely hard and won’t give an inch. Being outworked doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary. He had a bit of a growth spurt, being listed at 5’9” with the Jr Canadiens, so he always had to put in a better effort than his opposition. But I am happy to see he still values that work ethic after his physical growth.
I know there are those that deem Buchinger as one of those “doesn’t excel at any one thing but does well at everything” type players. I have a hard time agreeing with that. I think his willingness to put in the work, coupled with his high hockey smarts gives him an edge.
His defensive game is a work in progress – and we say this with just about every blueliner at this level. That said, the effort is there, the understanding of where to be and when to be there is evident, and his knowledge of the system the Storm employ and his execution is noticeable.
There are some good OHL defencemen available in this draft class. But I believe there is a clear top level and then a second level. Buchinger for me falls into that second group.