The Nashville Predators have the #17 choice in the NHL Draft. Riley Tufte is one of the possible choices.
The Nashville Predators will be looking to see if this Minnesota native who is headed to play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season. He will probably still be around when their choice comes up. He plays Left Wing and is ranked anywhere from 17th to 22nd by the draft rankings.
He started the season at Fargo and struggled and controversially went back to Blaine High where he scored three points a game. After putting up amazing numbers at Blaine High he played back at Fargo in the USHL and looked like a new player. He certainly could use a little more seasoning at either the college or juniors level but has nice size and great hands.
Riley Tufte Statistics
Position: Left Wing
Size: 6’5″, 190
NHL Player Style: Rick Nash
Probability of Success: Fairly likely. Great hands but not a big body guy. He has both size and good reach and sweet hands to make plays with. Needs more upper level competition.
Analysis: From NHL.com:
"“I don’t see him being a guy that’s going to be a huge pounder and the prototypical power forward, but I see him understanding how to use his size more and make that a part of his game because he’s going to have to to be a successful player in the NHL,” NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory said. “There’s going to be that sweet spot somewhere in between that skilled and power forward for him in my mind. Maybe it’s a Rick Nash-type of player where he has unreal hands for a big guy but can eventually understand he’s using his size because it can give him such an advantage.”~David Gregory"
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Riley Tufte has been described as the best raw talent to come out of Minnesota in decades. When he returned to Fargo after going back to Blaine High School, he moved up seven spots on one scouting services board.
Ben Kerr had this to say in this article at Last Word on Sports:
"Riley Tufte is an excellent stick handler. He uses his long reach to keep the puck away from defenders, but can also stick handle close to his body to navigate through traffic. Tufte is highly skilled with an excellent wrist shot and quick release. He also has a good snap shot and slap shot. His passing skills can be refined slightly as he has grown accustomed to doing it all himself at times. This probably comes due to the way he has been able to dominate at the USHS level, and should be able to improve playing with better teammates and against better opponents. Tufte has excellent size, coming in at 6’5″ tall. While he’s not a big hitter, he uses his size to win battles along the boards, to protect the puck in the cycle game, and to establish position in front of the net. He can provide an effective screen, and also tip in pucks, as well as pounce on rebounds. Given his size, he could stand to add some muscle to his frame to be even more effective when he begins facing bigger and tougher opposition. – Ben Kerr"
If Tufte can fill out that 6.5″ frame and continue to know how to use his body in the tough places he could be a force in the NHL.
It wouldn’t hurt the Nashville Predators to get a little more height and size in their wingers and Tufte would certainly fill the bill in that area.
Check out our other Prospect Reports:
Keep an eye out for more Draft Prospect reports on the Nashville Predators. They could look at any position, but we feel that a forward is the best bet.