When describing Peyton Krebs, many scouts talk about how the puck “seems to follow him.”
The same comment was made two years ago about Nolan Patrick, who was drafted No. 2 overall by the Flyers in 2017 and is still learning his way around the NHL as he tries to establish himself.
In other words, Krebs, an electric 5-foot-11, 181-pound center who could be one of the Flyers’ options when they select at No. 11 in the opening round of the June 21 draft, would not be a quick fix.
But he does have lots of potential, even if he did partially tear an Achilles tendon last week in an on-ice training session. Krebs underwent surgery Friday and is expected to be back early in the season.
Playing for a weak Kootenay team and serving as its captain, the speedy Krebs collected 19 goals and 68 points in 64 Western Hockey League games last season. A shifty skater with great puck skills, he has a knack for creating space for himself with his quickness and hockey IQ.
“He’s a high-character kid and a smart player,” said Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who heads the organization’s amateur scouting. “He plays a 200-foot game. He’s not the biggest body, but he’s got a great engine and he’s going to play” in the NHL someday.
Krebs impressed scouts with his performances in many of the physical-fitness tests at the recent scouting combine in Buffalo, where he finished tied for second with 15 pull-ups. He is also regarded as a leader and a great penalty killer.
Krebs, 18, was on Canada’s top line (with Dylan Cozens and Alex Newhook) in the Under-18 IIHF World Championship in April, putting up 10 points, including six goals, in seven games.
Before the injury, most mock drafts had Krebs being picked in the sixth-to-12th range of the first round, so some players would probably have to drop for him to be available to the Flyers at No. 11. His injury might affect when a team selects him.
Mike Morreale, a draft expert at NHL.com, thinks that Krebs will be available at 11 and that the Flyers will grab him. He called Krebs a player who “likes to use his speed and quickness to his advantage and also is tough to contain in one-on-one situations. Krebs is an elite two-way player who can excel as an offensive catalyst or in a shutdown role.”
Best-case comparison, said the Hockey News: Mathew Barzal, who has played two full seasons with the New York Islanders, compiling 85 and 62 points, respectively.