When you look back on any NHL draft with hindsight, there are always those players that we see and wonder “how did he fall into the second round?” Ty Dellandrea is going to be one of those players.
If Dellandrea were playing somewhere other that Flint, I suspect there would be a lot more interest in him as we move into this summer’s draft process. Unfortunately, being the best player on a really bad team often leaves you overlooked. The former 5th overall selection in the OHL Priority Selection draft finished his 17-year old season with 59 points in 67 games. He scored 27 goals - good enough for 5th among draft eligible OHL forwards - while playing on the worst offensive team in the league.
For some, the point total might leave a little to be desired, but it’s hard to over state just how terrible the Flint Firebirds were this season. They had the lowest goal output in the OHL while giving up the most against - by an incredibly wide margin. Dellandrea had a very bad 35% GF, but he was still positive in relation to the rest of his team. He was a man on an island most night during the regular season. His tremendous performance at the U18 tournament last month gave us a glimpse of what Dellandrea can do with talent around him. He finished with five points in five games while playing mostly out of position.
Dellandrea is a two-way center with a lot of offensive skill and an ice awareness that allows him to play in every situation. The biggest hole in his game is that he’s not strong enough, but he’s 17-years old and that is an issue that is easy to fix.
In terms of skating ability, Dellandrea is one of the best in the draft. He has a quick first step that allows him to get a jump on defenders and the top-speed necessary to pull away from them. He works well on his edges, but could stand to work on his balance - that should come with more strength.
He’s plays with the defensive responsibility that teams need to see if they’re going to keep a prospect at center going into the NHL. He supports his defenders well and is always working down low in his own end, the way a center is supposed to. On the penalty kill, Dellandrea uses his stick and body positioning effectively. He is often breaking up passes and blocking shots. He shows the ability to read the puck movement well enough to make a play on the puck whether it’s to clear the zone or try to create a shorthanded rush. Helping his defensive strength is his ability in the faceoff circle. No draft eligible CHLer won more faceoffs than Dellandrea did this past season.
From an offensive perspective, Dellandrea has a very good wrist and snapshot. When he doesn’t have the puck, he has the intelligence to find the holes in attacking zone and put himself in position to create scoring chances - unfortunately, he didn’t have many teammate with the ability to find him often enough. Dellandrea isn't afraid to fight for the puck down low, and he’s got the hand eye coordination to poke the puck free from scrums - something that comes in handy when going up against much stronger defenders.
Probably a byproduct of the lack of talent around him, Dellandrea does his best work with the puck on his stick. He has the speed to be very effective in gaining the zone wit control to set up his team’s offense. More often than not, Dellandrea creates his own offense. He is a high volume shooter, finishing second behind only Andrei Svechnikov in shots per game among draft eligible OHLers.
What the scouts are saying
“Brings a perfect mix of skill and grit to the ice, Dellandrea has all the tools to be a pro in the very near future. Offensive instincts are off the charts, and he competes at a very high level, sacrificing his body to make a play. Potential top-25 pick in 2018.” -Future Considerations
“If there was one prospect who i was actively rooting for from a fan’s perspective, it was this two-way center whose solid season in terms of draft rankings has gone relatively unnoticed. Dellandrea is a big kid with above-average puck skills, but there’s a lot more to his game than just scoring. Positioning for forwards is something often overlooked, but Dellandrea is one of the smarter centers in that regard.” -Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
Backside finish by @tydellandrea completes what was already highlight worthy #NHLDraft prospect perseveres for his 2️⃣5️⃣ of the season and #OHL Play of the Night for @FlintFirebirds. pic.twitter.com/tlHVM1i6lP— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 4, 2018
Where he might get drafted
The most likely scenario is that Dellandrea falls into the early second round. That said, with a group of prospects in the 23-35 range that seem somewhat interchangeable, it wouldn't be surprising for a few teams to have him higher on their draft board than most. He’s young, but his game has the potential to mature quickly. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him make the jump to the NHL after only one more year of development, assuming he can mature physically and put on the necessary muscle.
He’d be the perfect fit for a team that it looking for organizational depth at center.
Projection: 25th overall