Weekly Question: What Can We Expect From Tim Stützle This Season?

How early can Ottawa’s best prospect start making an impact in the NHL?

If there’s one move the Ottawa Senators made in the last few days that has received universal praise from their fans, it would be their selection of German forward Tim Stützle with the third pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The pick was expected to be a slam-dunk, as it was clearly going to be either him or Quinton Byfield depending on who the Los Angeles Kings took second overall.

The Senators also took advantage of that certainty, enlisting University of Ottawa alumnus and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to pre-record a unique and unforgettable draft announcement:

According to Shawn Simpson, GM Pierre Dorion expects the Viersen, Germany native to begin the year in Ottawa playing on the wing, presumably the left wing given his handedness. This could be part of the reasoning behind the decision to not qualify Anthony Duclair.

Just because Stützle will be a winger at first, doesn’t mean he will be for his entire career; Colin White played on the wing during his first NHL stint in 2017-18, before moving to centre the following year. The added responsibility of an NHL centre can add to the difficulty level for a young forward, so playing him on the wing at the start can ease the transition to the big club.

What can fans expect from Stützle this season? He certainly projects as a first-line playmaking forward, given his fantastic skating, vision, and hands in tight:

Drafted players stepping directly into the NHL have had varying levels of success in the past. Looking at the the 2019 class, the top three picks, Jack Hughes (NJD), Kaapo Kakko (NYR), and Kirby Dach (CHI), all spent the full season in the NHL. None of them excelled offensively, and analytics imply that neither Hughes or Kakko were quite ready; based on Evolving Hockey’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) measurements, Hughes was better than only 11 percent of NHL forwards, while Kakko was better than only one percent. Dach was by far the most NHL-ready of the three, ranking in the 56th percentile.

It takes a special player to be able to earn consideration for the Calder Trophy the season after being drafted. Stützle’s got a tremendous amount of skill, but he probably won’t have the same support up front as say, Nico Hischier, on a 2017-18 Devils squad featuring Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri.

However, Stützle could still impress enough to earn a full-time spot in the middle-six while contributing 30-40 points, and maybe more if we see improvement from guys like Colin White and Drake Batherson. Stützle’s produced at a high clip in the top men’s league in Germany, and the delayed start to the season should give him some extra development time overseas.

Let us know what you think, what will we see from Tim Stützle in the upcoming NHL season?

How many points will Tim Stützle score this season, over an 82-game pace?

Less than 3070

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