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2021 NHL Draft Profile: Zach Dean

Most scouts like the package Dean brings in terms of talent and drive, but they’d like to see it on display a little more often. Still, there's a lot of skill to build around with the Gatineau forward.
Zach Dean

BORN Jan. 4, 2003, Grande Prairie, Alta.

2020-21 Gatineau POS C

HT 6-0 WT 176 SHOOTS L

INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES No. 46

Most scouts like the package Dean brings in terms of talent and drive, but they’d like to see it on display a little more often.

Playing for a middling Gatineau team in the QMJHL, Dean had some uneven efforts. “I saw some ‘A’ games and I saw some ‘D’ games,” said one scout. “He’s a completely different player when he’s driving the play. He’s an above-average competitor who is really diligent and really smart. When he’s competing and skating hard, he gets an extra half-step. I find everything about him a little better when he’s engaged and competing.”

Despite the lack of consistency, Dean is intriguing enough to go either late in the first round or early in the second, depending on the needs of the team that selects him. And that will also play a factor in how he projects as an NHL player. Some scouts see him as a second-line center, but more see him as a third-liner. “He’s a smaller forward, and he doesn’t have a lot to play with in Gatineau,” said another scout. “His numbers aren’t as good as you’d like them to be for what he shows. He has kind of a feisty game, and he can get around the net. He’s a skilled kid.”

BEST CASE | Alex Killorn

This excerpt is from The Hockey News' Draft Preview issue. Purchase a digital copy of the issue here or subscribe to The Hockey News here.

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