Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Paul Bittner (LW)
Height: 6’4 Weight: 204 Shoots: Left
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 26 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
A big one.
One of the largest forwards available at this year’s draft, Bittner — projected to play at 220 pounds at the NHL level — utilized his frame and physicality to score 34 goals in 66 games with the Winterhawks this season. While some of that production came from playing on a stacked line featuring league MVP Oliver Bjorkstrand and Winnipeg prospect Nic Petan, Bittner gave the trio some much-needed bulk, routinely using his size to 1) make space for Bjorkstrand/Petan, and 2) create scoring chances by fending off opponents and driving hard to the net.
“I see Paul as a power forward,” Portland head coach Jamie Kompon said, per the Grand Forks Herald. “He’s a very good skater for a big man. He has a long reach. He has a terrific shot. He uses his body and size very well.
“I see him in that power forward role as a top-six player.”
“Bittner is another big power forward that skates exceptionally well and has above-average offensive skills. He’s coming out of the ‘prospect factory’ that is WHL Portland, and his game has evolved over the past two years.
“We’d still like to see him become a little more aggressive and committed defensively, but a kid with his size and skating ability will be very enticing as teams gather for the draft on June 26. The game has become very fast, and Bittner’s ability to add offense and get in on the forecheck make him a quality prospect.”
NHL comparable: Chris Kreider
For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.