Sam Steel

Darren Walker

Steel is a high-IQ, zero-hesitation, puck-possessor who thinks at a high level and elevates his teammates’ play. He is noticeably one of the smoothest and skilled passers available in the draft. His great peripheral vision and instincts allow him to jump on opportunities and find his teammate’s vacant stick blade. He loves to carry the puck and is a very skilled stickhandler. As a smaller guy, Steel tends to play on the perimeter a lot, reducing his effectiveness as he could be a real handful if he regularly took the puck into the trenches. To complement his great cognitive and playmaking game, he also has a shot that is nothing to scoff at. Steel continually changes his angle with his shifty play and has a quick release, making it a difficult for goaltenders to pick up. He is not a guy who anyone would classify as elite defensively, but he is reliable and can be counted on to help out. He keeps his stick in a good position to pick up errant passes or control puck movement. Steel gets low in his own zone to provide net-front support and makes himself an open option on the breakout. His awareness is pretty good, although there are times a quick play by the opposition will catch him off guard. He is very small, but engages in board battles, digging for pucks, but not being very physical in doing so; instead, he relies more on his stick. He’s more of a puck-focused, push-and-shove guy instead of one who lines up to hit his opponent. Steel is effective in creating offense, using his great agility and speed to make plays. He is the Pat’s top-line guy, and we see a potential top-six NHL contributor if he can improve his strength.  (May 2016)