Lanky, physical centers seem almost like a contradiction. Centers in the NHL are carved out of marble. Minor league centers are filled out and, while not as flashy or skilled as their NHL counterparts, are as grown up and ready to hit as they'll ever be. But when you get into the lower levels of hockey, into the young and raw players, you find centers like Tyler Busch. He's raw, skinny and will drop the gloves if he has to.
Playing Style: While he was playing for the Lloydminster Bobcats Midget AAA team of the AMHL, Busch played the role of pest and playmaker simultaneously. In his last season in Lloydminster, Busch had 16 assists in 33 games while also racking up 74 penalty minutes. The 16 assists were a decent number as he's still developing. He's skinny now at 174 lbs., a year after that magical PIM fueled year.
Busch moved up to the Spruce Grove Saints of the AJHL and his assist numbers stayed at 16 over 50 games at the higher level versus tougher competition, but his penalty minutes dropped to just 61. He also increased his goal total to 13 from 8 during his last season at Lloydminster.
But those penalties were still there, showing that Busch is still mixing it up and not shying away despite his slight frame at 6'2 174 lbs. That's what gives me the most hope with Tyler Busch. He is extremely raw with a lot of growing up to do, but he's naturally big, not afraid to mix it up and is showing more skill as he gets older. That's the kind of growth rate and potential you want to see in a later round draft pick. You're not picking sure things that late; you're taking fliers. Busch is the perfect flier to me. He's big, with vast amounts of untapped potential and he's showing improvement so it's not all based off projection. And worst case, you have a Sean Avery type of player who can play in your Bottom 6 while annoying the other teams top players.
He even dropped the gloves in the AJHL last year against a guy who outweighed him even though Busch was 4 inches taller. And that's the story of Tyler Busch. He's got a ton of untapped potential, but even if he doesn't grow exponentially as an offensive player, he can still play in your Bottom 6. He'll mix it up with the other team, take a hit, dish 'em out and prove that grit that coaches love so much. Just imagine his game when he gains 20 lbs.
NHL Central Scouting Ranking: 168 among North American Skaters.
Family Background: Tyler seems to be the first in his family to be playing at the professional level, but since he's from Lloydminster, Alberta, this is the part of the profile where I make fun of him for being a Flames or Oilers fan. Turns out he's a fan of the Oil:
None of these things happened.
When is He Coming to Columbus: He'll be joining the Buckeyes in 2015-16 per his own Twitter bio.
Who is Tyler Busch?: Besides being a super skinny, potential laden center who's a fan of the perennially terrible Oilers, what else do we know about Tyler Busch?
He's happy to be coming to Ohio State:
Very thankful for all of the support over that past couple days, really excited about becoming a Buckeye— Tyler Busch (@BuschLeague10) December 17, 2013
He's a fan of a pizza chain selling ribs. I hope he never meets anyone in SEC country:
Boston Pizzas new ribs commercial #ribnecks— Tyler Busch (@BuschLeague10) June 25, 2013
He speaks truths we can all get behind:
Essay < ripping pucks— Tyler Busch (@BuschLeague10) June 7, 2013
And I'm just gonna put this here again since I love this tweet ever so much:
Draft Prediction: Someone with his size and potential should be drafted by a team looking to potentially hit a home run with a later round pick. I think Busch will go in the late 5th-early 6th round area.