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Maybe Later: Zach Solow

Remember the 2015 draft? The glorious year of swinging for the fences on undersized prospects. In particular, do you remember Adam Brooks? The plucky undersized, overaged center who seems to be adapting to the AHL. Well, here’s his Florida doppelganger, Zach Solow.

Who is Zach Solow?

Let’s start with the things that immediately drop him down the draft rankings, he’s 5’9 (although 183 lbs) and he’s 19 years old (November birthday). For many of you this has already eliminated your interest in him, but please keep in mind that this is a player who has already past through the draft once. We’re not talking about being interested in him in the first four rounds, we’re looking at him as a late round option.

Additional to vitals mentioned above, Solow is a right handed center from Florida who will be entering his second season at Northeastern University this fall. Previous to that he put in a couple of seasons in the USHL.

Where is Solow Ranked?

He straight up isn’t ranked. NHL Central Scouting has him listed as their 204th best North American skater. If no Europeans or goaltenders were taken through the entire draft, Solow would still barely be picked in the seventh round. He didn’t fare much better last year, but to my casual, amateur eyes he seemed worth the gamble on a third round or later pick.

What the Numbers Say About Solow

From Prospect-Stats.com

Not a whole lot in the way of numbers here, but in the context of being a freshman in Division I, these numbers show promise. No one is going to mistake Northeastern University for a top program, but it’s not without its share of late round draft picks developing there and Solow will have a chance to play a significant role as some of these players graduate.

What’s Been Written About Solow

From Silver Seven Sens:

n addition to leading the USHL in points (69) and assists (51) as a first-time draft eligible forward, Solow also put up 4 points in the World Junior A Challenge and secured a position at Northeastern University next year. Solow was one of only 20 players to be above PPG in scoring, and finished second to consensus T10 pick Casey Middlestadt in PPG. Importantly, Solow also ranked 13th in adjusted primary points per game among ALL draft eligible players this season.

From Draftsite:

A fireplug with his hockey IQ, speed, and nice hands. Always in flight, his lower center of gravity and balance give him leverage against the taller opponents in corner and wall battles for the puck. A good passer off both sides of his blade, and very light on his edges. Reads the ice well. Has strong snap shot and camouflages his deceptive release. Committed to Northeastern University.

The Eye Test

Why the Leafs Should Draft Zach Solow?

For a lot of us who go largely by the stats, especially when it comes to prospects, Solow is a name that sticks out. He was putting up numbers similar to Casey Middlestadt last season, and he was a top 10 pick and Solow went undrafted. Add into it that Solow is apparently Mr. Locker Room, and has the personality that teams flock to, it seems even stranger that Solow will be going through his second draft day. As far as I can tell, the knock is that Solow doesn’t have a certain skill that makes him standout. He’s just a small guy who plays the game smart. That kinda reminds me of Connor Brown.

While it seems that we are 2 or 3 years removed from teams having Solow tour around and make a decision where he’s going to sign as a college free agent, it seems that a low investment like a 7th round pick to get Solow into the system is worth it. The upside for Solow is that he continues to use his head to defy scouting expectations of him, and is capable of establishing a hockey career either in the NHL or AHL, both places where a scoring center can be a useful guy to have around. While it is still more likely than not (because its true of most players) that Solow wouldn’t pan out, going with a low risk, high reward offensive prospect seems to make more sense than whatever it is the Leafs have been trying to accomplish in the later rounds of the past couple of drafts.

MLN Draft #Content

Draft Articles Who to take at 25th Overall Maybe Later
Case for Trading Up Calen Addison Blade Jenkins
Case for Trading Down Ryan McLeod Mac Hollowell
Case for Picking 25th Jonathan Tychonick Zach Solow
Case for Trading the Pick
Leafs Geeks Draft Preview

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