Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Year GP G A PTS PIM +/-
2016-2017 70 30 57 87 79 36
Today’s Penalty Box Radio’s prospect report profiles Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind. In my opinion, of all the first-round prospects, Lind is the most likely to be selected by the Predators.
Lind has the versatility to play both center and wing. For a team like the Predators who are searching for a playmaker, Lind could be the answer. He jumped from 41 points in 15-16 to 87 points this year – ranking top-15 in the WHL in scoring — proving he puts a lot of emphasis on his offense.
Lind has great hockey IQ that he pairs with a good shot, making him someone the defense must watch at all times. He is good at using his speed to create separation and is a true puck-possession player. Lind has a reputation as one of the best passers in the WHL.
He would be a perfect fit in Peter Laviolette’s system as he is quick in transition and thinks quickly on the rush. The 6-foot-1 forward is great at seeing the ice and reading where his teammates are. For such a young player, he keeps his composure in high-pressure situations.
As great as he is offensively, he is lacking on the defensive side of the ice. He needs to develop the aggressiveness and edge to give him that well-rounded game. If he packs on a little more muscle, giving him increased upper-body strength, he could develop that physicality that would make him a load for opposing defenders to deal with.
What they’re saying about Lind:
“Kole shoots the puck really well. He gets himself into position in the offensive zone where he can receive the puck and shoot it. He skates well enough that he can create offence off the rushes. He’s grown his game and I think he’s taken more responsibility in playing a 200-foot game, which has allowed him to get some penalty kill time and be relied upon as a responsible guy on our team.” – Jason Smith, Kelowna Rockets head coach
“Joins the list of top forwards coming out of the Rockets organization like Nick Merkley (ARI) and Dillon Dube (CGY). He’s a playmaker who can also find the back of the net and isn’t shy about playing physical either.” – Jeff Marek, Sportsnet
“Lind brings a great amount of skill to the table and he’s got a projectable NHL frame that just needs a bit more meat on the bones. That’s an easy thing to accomplish in time and thanks to his ability to create chances and wire pucks into the net, he’s a likely first-rounder at this summer’s draft. For now, the focus is on rounding out his work.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“Good OZ net front presence. Improved his defensive game since start of season rounding out his complete game. Has the capabilities & just needs to find that consistent game in game out effort.” – Ted Barrie, ISS Scout
“Good offensive player. Moves the puck well. Has great hands. Needs to improve strength to excel at the next level. Will need to improve defensive positioning and physicality to round out game.” – Dennis MacInnis, ISS Director of Scouting
NHL comparison: Jamie Benn
Draft projection: Late first-early second