Tyler Nanne is probably ones of Steve Rohlik's highest upside recruits, and certainly his most famous, since he took over the head coaching position from Mark Osiecki after the 2013 season. The defenseman was one of the finalists for the state of Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award, which has been given out to the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Paul Martin, Brian Lee and Nick Leddy within the last 15 years. He comes from one of hockey's most famous families and, most relevant here, is eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft as he turned 18 on March 17.
But being well known and in the running for a famous award mean very little when it comes to a professional sports league's draft. So where is he projected to go and what kind of player is he?
Playing Style: Per Jeff Cox of SBN College Hockey, Nanne has "has elite-level agility and a surprisingly heavy shot for his size." However, the problem with Nanne is that he is only listed at 5'10, 175. If this screams Brian Rafalski lite to you, I would not blame you at all. Rafalski was a smooth skating, offense first defenseman who rang up 50 points four times over his NHL career. However, like Rafalski, NHL teams as well as scouting services do not seem to be in love with fair Tyler so far. Despite his supreme agility and uncommonly heavy shot, he still is only projected to go between the 4th and 7th round of the NHL Draft according to Central Scouting's rankings due to his slight build.
This is exactly the type of player you bank on though later in the Draft. When you're a good team drafting at the end of every round or really any team trying to find inefficiencies in the Draft to make the most out of your later round picks that usually have about a 12% chance of playing in the NHL, there are certain types of players you should go after. Scorers who are smaller is probably on the top of that inefficiency list. Nanne is as good a bet as anyone to outplay his draft spot. He's played forward in high school and that agility combined with his shot and forward instincts should at least give him a puncher's chance of scoring at a decent clip professionally.
NHL Central Scouting Ranking: 118 among North American Skaters
Family Background: Nanne is a member of one of the most famous hockey families in the United States. His grandfather, Lou Nanne, played college hockey at the University of Minnesota, played for the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL, was the Head Coach of the North Stars in 1978 and the General Manager from 1978-88. Lou lobbied to have Herb Brooks, then the University of Minnesota Hockey Coach, hired to coach the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey team. He also famously leaked the Minnesota Wild's intentions to not be outbid in the 2012 Zach Parise sweepstakes (they were not) after having dinner with Wild owner Craig Leipold. My New Jersey Devils fandom has not recovered.
Tyler's brother Louie was a 2012 draft pick of the hometown Minnesota Wild and has committed to play hockey for RPI for the 2014-15 season while his cousin Vinni Lettieri plays for the University of Minnesota, both per SBN College Hockey.
When Is He Coming to Columbus: Per both EliteProspects and College Hockey, Inc., Tyler will join the OSU hockey team for the 2015-16 season.
Who is Tyler Nanne?: Now that you know Tyler Nanne the player, you should probably also take a look at Tyler Nanne the person, to see if he's the type of player you'd want your favorite NHL team to select in the Draft.
So what do we know about Tyler?
He's excited about Ohio State:
Congrats to one of my best buddies on committing to OSU! Been playing together for 10 years now and can't wait to spend 4 more! #Buckeyes— Tyler Nanne (@Tyler23Nanne) May 8, 2014
He likes to dance:
I need to DANCE tonight!!!!!— Tyler Nanne (@Tyler23Nanne) June 1, 2014
He has questionable weather opinions:
Nothin beats Minnesota summers☀️— Tyler Nanne (@Tyler23Nanne) May 23, 2014
And he has the highest success rate of all time in the #BucciOvertimeChallenge because he only picks one team instead of one player from each team:
#bucciovertimechallenge pic.twitter.com/WNDJkSUYPx— Tyler Nanne (@Tyler23Nanne) June 2, 2014
Draft Prediction: Nanne should go somewhere toward the bottom of the 4th round or top of the 5th round. I can't see NHL teams letting a potentially exceptional offensive defenseman drop that far.