Film Room: Why Owen Pickering is one of the 2022 NHL Draft's most fascinating prospects
Three years ago, Owen Pickering hardly registered on the prospect radar. He was a 5-foot-7 ninth-round pick into the WHL. Then, he shot up to 6-foot-4, his stock in the prospect world elevating with it.
Along the way, Pickering maintained the skills often reserved for smaller defencemen: deception, agility and activation.
Now, Pickering is one of the 2022 NHL Draft’s most fascinating prospects, a rare low-scoring player who’s not only a justifiable top-15 pick but could even exceed his lofty draft slot.
The art of the retrieval
As the pace of the game has increased, retrievals have become a greater point of emphasis. Retrievals come in many forms: long, when the player skates back for an opposing team’s dump-in or clearance; short, when the player races a forechecker to a rebound or loose puck in the corner. NHL retrievals require agility, deception, awareness and physical skills. Most prospects only have one or two.
Pickering, generally, shows all four, often in succession. He doesn’t skate straight at the puck like many prospects; he angles his toes in the direction the puck’s headed. From there, he can continue around the net or cut back. Then, he looks over one shoulder, then the other, gathering information on threats and options.
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