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McLaughlin has an outstanding wrist shot and a quick release. He can beat goaltenders with his shot off the rush, and from the top of the faceoff circles. He also has an excellent one-timer. If there is a criticism though, he sometimes becomes overreliant on his shot, trying to force things from too far out or bad angles if his team is down. McLaughlin has the height and the hand-eye coordination to get to the front of the net and be a menace in tight but needs to work on his muscle mass. He can be pushed around a bit too much, and this will be an issue at higher levels.
McLaughlin will be well-served to go the NCAA route with the University of Minnesota. Fewer games and more time available for the weight room should help him to bulk up. He will also get the opportunity to work under Bob Motzko, one of the country’s best coaches and should learn how to be consistent night in and night out. – Last Word on Hockey
A midseason coaching change really gave scouts an opportunity to see what McLaughlin’s full game looked like. He began next to fellow NHL-hopeful Jack Dugan and the two did not struggle to make magic happen as their chemistry carried them to success early on. After being split up, it was on McLaughlin to find a way to be successful away from his preferred running mate. It took some time but he did show his mettle and began to regain his scoring touch.
His adversity this year forced out a pretty impressive two-way player and while I’m not going to say he’s a lock to excel in defensive roles moving forward, his success there this year suggests there might be a more intriguing all-around player than previously expected. He’s a slick offensive player with a deceptive shot, which he has great confidence in. He has a competitive mentality but he’s a guy who can get down on himself when things aren’t going his way and check out mentally.
Opinions on McLaughlin vary a great deal but I see him as more of a late-second round prospect and that’s where Colorado will have a selection to use. If he’s still around, his good size and shooting ability complemented by strong skating would suggest a decent connection between team and player. He certainly has the talent to be a difference maker if his offensive game continues to grow and the college game will give him a chance to find his role in a tough environment. He’s a very interesting player and with picks at 47 and 58, Colorado could certainly do worse although it’s questionable whether McLaughlin’s upside is high enough to justify a top-60 selection. Should he be there in the third round, I’d be much more comfortable with the Avalanche selecting him there.
#92 Future Considerations
#40 McKeen’s Hockey