NHL Draft Preview: Eli Zummack & Hudson Elynuik
Forwards Eli Zummack and Hudson Elynuik are two more Chiefs that may hear their name called in this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft, joining expected first round pick Ty Smith and Czech defenseman Filip Kral.
This year marks Zummack’s first year eligible for the draft, while Elynuik will re-enter the pool after he did not sign with the Carolina Hurricanes, who picked him in the third round in 2016.
Zummack was acquired by the Chiefs in a January 2016 trade with the Red Deer Rebels and made his WHL debut the following season. The Kelowna, B.C. native has blossomed into a key cog in the Spokane lineup as a reliable two-way center, able to create offense while taking on difficult defensive assignments.
Zummack nearly doubled his rookie stats during a breakout sophomore campaign, scoring 15 goals and adding 26 assists for 41 points. He earned a five-game point streak book-ending missed time due to injury from Jan. 10 – Feb. 20 and scored multiple points 11 times, including three three-point efforts. Zummack was outstanding in the playoffs, adding five points (2G-3A) in the Chiefs’ first round series against Portland.
He was named the Chiefs’ Ken Rabel Most Sportsmanlike Player for the second consecutive season after picking up just four penalty minutes all season (he has 10 in 108 career games).
Zummack is a smart, two-way center who plays a 200-foot game and is reliable in all zones. He displays a high hockey IQ and puts himself in good areas to score, particularly on the power play. He is on the shorter side at 5-foot-9 but weighs in at 175 pounds, allowing him to play much larger than his height would suggest.
NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters): 184th
Future Considerations: 182nd
The Hockey Writers (mock draft): 175th
Zummack could hear his name in the final rounds of the draft.
Elynuik wrapped up an outstanding Western Hockey League career with his best season offensively, scoring a career-best 86 points including 31 goals. He added seven points (3G-4A) in seven playoff games. He recorded multiple points in 23 games, including four games with 4+ points and a five-point effort (1G-4A).
For his career, the Calgary native played 280 regular season games (245 as a Chief) scoring 84 goals and 223 points, adding 269 PIM. Elynuik ranks 38th in franchise history in games played, 22nd in points (220) and 18th in assists (137).
Elynuik was drafted in the 3rd round (74th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina but did not sign an Entry-Level Contract, so he is eligible to be drafted again this year.
Hudson’s father, Pat Elynuik, was the 8th overall pick in the 1986 draft by Winnipeg and played over 500 NHL games.
Elynuik stands at a towering 6-foot-5 and uses his length to his advantage in the offensive zone. He has excellent hands, especially for someone with his size, and showed consistent improvement in his shot during his junior career. He shows an ability to see the ice and set up teammates for easy goals. His length is disruptive on the forecheck, creating turnovers and slowing the opponent’s breakout.
Elynuik could hear his name called in the later rounds.
Follow the Draft
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft will take place in Dallas on June 22 and 23. The first round will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT (4:30 p.m. PT) on Friday the 22nd, while rounds 2-7 will take place beginning at 10 a.m. CT (8 a.m. PT) on Saturday the 23rd.
TV: NBCSN (Friday; coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT) / NHL Network (Saturday; beginning at 8 a.m. PT)