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Entering the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Kocha Delic was already considered one of the better offensive players of his draft class with an ahead of the curve defensive responsibilities already in his game. The Sudbury Wolves were able to get him in the second round – 28th overall – at the draft.
But I want to begin with his skating. Delic has some impressive first steps and is able to get to top speed quickly. And while his top speed isn’t elite, it is good and I can only imagine it getting better as he adds some needed lower body strength. But his mobility in top flight is impressive. Strong edges and lateral movement enable him to take on defenders in one-on-one situations.
I view Delic as more of a playmaker than a goal scorer although his stats show that scoring goals is not a problem for him. I think Delic has a very high Hockey IQ and he processes the game quickly and has shown some impressive anticipation. He can also slow the game down, buy his teammates some time to get into open lanes and he more often than not finds them.
For a rookie, Delic was fine on faceoffs at 50.4%. On the powerplay, he was more of a setup guy than a shooter and many of nights the puck ran through him. He also got some time on the penalty kill and also shown he could create offense a man down, but I do wonder how much of that PK time was due to Sudbury being such a young team.
I want to go back to the defensive part of his game that was talked about in his draft year. Delic had some early season troubles adjusting to the faster OHL game and the bigger players. But credit to him, he worked hard to get his game in order – his work ethic is off the charts – and he was one of only two Wolves players to finish as a plus player – Plus-6 – on a team that collectively finished a minus-74.
At 5’10 Delic is obviously not the biggest player, but he loves to try and get in on the forecheck. He could stand to add a little more physicality to his game by taking out his man, and that may come as he adds more bulk. So, how does this translate to the NHL? I think the skating and the hockey IQ and a developing defensive game is enough to get him to the NHL and carve out a fine career. I don’t know that the offensive game will totally translate for him. He could be a fine third line pivot who is defensively responsible and can chip in a bit on offensive if his development curve continues to develop.
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