Slater Koekkoek, Defense (Left) Peterborough Petes, Ontario Hockey League 6'2" 184 Pounds, 2/18/1994
May have the highest ceiling of any defensemen in the draft...has excellent size and a frame that can support more mass...very mobile skater, strong on his edges, and has good first step explosion...very tenacious presence on the ice, making him a hard player to go up against...makes crisp tape to tape passes...very adept at skating the puck up the ice and making intelligent reads...great work ethic...battles for position in front of his net...has a heavy shot that gets through to the net...until his injury he was logging over 30 minutes a game for Peterborough...positioning and gap control can be inconsistent, but can be corrected through coaching...shoulder injury and subsequent surgery has caused him to be a forgotten player...was willing to wear a harness and play through injury, but was shut down as The Petes got torpedoed by injuries...great character...played in all situations, and on both special teams units...can play any role given to him willingly...willing to engage physically...moves the puck very well...strong vision...needs to step up at own blueline more consistently...behind in development curve due to lost year.
Why Koekkoek at 7?:
Dan: Because we all want to buy jerseys that say "Koekkoek" on the back, and the puns about going "coo-coo for Koekkoek" would be too irresistible. In my travels for Future Considerations I've gotten to meet and befriend a scout for Peterborough, and in a discreet Wild fanboy mode (ulterior non-FC motives) I vetted him out on Koekkoek. Now, I'm aware of the inherent bias here, but he compared him favorably with Jacob Trouba- while they have elements of their games in which one is better (defense, puck moving, offense, etc.) he felt that Slater is as good, if not better than Trouba presently, and long term. He described Koekkoek's willingness to play through the shoulder injury, but when he got dinged and Matt Puempel went down with a concussion, they decided to shelf Koekkoek for the year- he's a likely first rounder anyways, so there was no sense in possibly jeopardizing next season trying to be a hero. The shoulder injury, and how it healed, was the topic du jour during the 26 combine interviews on Koekkoek's docket a week and change ago. Now, about the kid- there's the work ethic, character, and desire to play against the best; in one of the videos posted he describes leaving Ontario to play for the fabled Notre Dame Academy in Saskatchewan in his early teens because he felt it was a better level of competition. He's acquitted himself quite well in international tournaments, and desperately tried to ready himself for the most recent U-18's before medical staff 86'd that notion. In a way Slater Koekkoek's been a forgotten man, since he's missed almost the entire year, but when you really dig into who he is as a player and a person, I think he's got really intriguing potential; the highest in the Draft Class some say- and Minnesota's philosophy means that they'll do what they can to get every iota of it out of him. Besides, how cool is a name like "Slater Koekkoek"?
Nate: It would be the first true challenger Cal Clutterbuck has had since taking the "great Wild name" crown. I can see the "Koo-Koo and Cal" shirts being made already.
As far as Koekkoek goes, he's like Morgan Rielly in the sense that there isn't much to go with this season because of the injury. Unlike Rielly, there's no rhyme or reason to where the Peterborough defenseman will go or even what type of player he is. Going through the experts and talking to people who have seen him has given a wide range of opinions on Slater - anywhere from a top-five pick to an inconsistent defensemen with potential. At the very least, Koekkoek is a two-way defenseman who skates well and has many intangibles this organization fancies.
Would I take him at 7? No. Would I be surprised if Minnesota took him at 7? No.
Previous 7 for #7 Profiles:
Other Koekkoek Interviews:
Kirk Luedeke (Hockey Journal)