Photo Credit: Rena Laverty
By Scott Rosenhek
Second Round Spotlight is a new series of profiles for players that I would hope for the Canucks to select at 33rd overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Josh Norris is the first prospect among these profiles hailing from the storied U.S. National Team Development Program. This program developed Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and many other talented American players.
Norris is described as a big, high-energy player. He is committed to the University of Michigan, so he will require some patience in his development. If that institution sounds familiar, it is the same school 2016 Canucks’ draft pick William Lockwood attends. Josh Norris plays as the first line center on the Under-18 National team and is the alternate captain.
During this season in the program, Norris scored 27 goals and collected 60 points in 61 games. Of those games, 25 were played against teams in the USHL, where he scored 12 goals and 25 points. It is important to stress that this National Development team is like an all-star team, so it is expected that they dominate USHL competition.
Nonetheless, his point production his good as 2015 Ottawa first rounder Colin White produced at the same rate and he has seen success in the NCAA and World Junior tournaments. This season, Josh Norris participated in the Under-18 World Juniors, dominating with 7 points in 7 games en route to a gold medal.
Norris is very good at creating separation from other players on the ice to make plays. He uses his intelligence, stick handling and quick feet to his advantage in the offensive and defensive zones. Josh can play a physical game to retrieve the puck from the forecheck and can send powerful shots towards the opposition goal.
The University of Michigan is where Josh Norris will have to develop his offensive portion of his game. His strengths lie within his defensive play, excellent skating ability and on-ice hockey sense. If he can further develop these tools, Josh Norris has the potential to become a top six forward in the NHL.