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Tanner Molendyk



Scout: Mitch Peach

2023-11-26


D
Nashville Predators
24 Overall by the Nashville Predators (2023 NHL Entry Draft)

Skating:

Tanner Molendyk is an incredible skater. He's very fast which gets him out of trouble a lot. He has great crossover work which allows him to explode to top speed quickly. His speed is a weapon both on offense and defense. He effortlessly beats guys on offensive rushes and gets himself back into position with that same speed. Definitely his best asset.


Passing/Handling:

Molendyk is also a smooth yet crafty puck handler. His speed allows him to beat most guys on the outside but often he head fakes or dangles inside and beats defenders or does his patented semi-circle to either deceive defenders or protect the puck. He has a nice crisp pass to his teammates in which they arent always ready for. Molendyk has an affinity to make the "epic" play in the form of a video game between the legs move or the long stretch pass and more oft than not it doesn't work and results in a giveaway. However as the season progresses I noticed he dialed this behavior back.


Shooting:

Molendyk is a very average shooter. I mean he shoots often but they are usually wrist shots from the point floated in for a tip. I was not wowed by any particular power or accuracy of his wrist shot and though he rarely uses the slapper, it appears heavy but inaccurate. Definitely an area to improve on but Molendyk will put lots of shot stats on the board.


IQ (Vision, Anticipation, Panic/Poise):

Molendyk is a smart player. He always seems to be in the right position to pick a pass, knock a puck away, intercept a pass and break up a play. You can attribute some of that to his skating but he is smart. He sees his path to the offensive zone and knows the time to go. He picks his spots well usually though the odd time he does try too hard to force a play and it has led to chances for his opponents. He doesnt panic. Molendyk is most confident with the puck on his stick. He can have a guy right on him and he just doesnt panic. His skating and his hands typically get him away from anyone trying to take the puck off him.


Forechecking:

Though Tanner Molendyk is a defenseman this is where his game shines the most. He is the play driver for the Blades. He is the quarterback of their offense and his team knows it. He winds up in his own zone and will drive the puck in often getting a shot, or making a play leading to a scoring chance. Molendyk is constantly looking to get low in the offensive zone even when noone is covering his point. Often he looks like a 4th forward. But it is very exciting to watch because everytime he gets the puck in his own end he creates something exciting even if it gets broken up. Very dynamic and aggressive on the forecheck.


Defense:

At the beginning of the season Molendyk looked like he couldnt be bothered to play defense. He seemed totally disinterested in the very notion of it. But as the season progressed there are the makings of a relatively decent defenseman here. I'd still say its probably his weakest asset simply because of how offensively minded he is, however his speed and good positioning allow him to play the position quite well. It appeared he reigned himself in to make smarter choices and play more defense. He gets the job done but it will never be his calling card.


Best Asset:

Skating, Offensive Acumen, Dynamic Offensive Rushes


Biggest Concern:

Defense


Top Tier/Role Potential:

Tier 1 - 60+ Points/Average BASH - Top 4 D - PP1 QB


Justification for Top Tier Assessment:

Molendyk has PP1QB written all over him. If he can reign in his defense a little bit he should be easily able to be a top 4 pairing D with PP1 time. The mix of his skating and skill and his ability to create offence definitely gives him a high ceiling.


50th Percentile Tier/Role:

Tier 2 - 40-50 Points/Average BASH - Bottom 4 D - PP1 QB


Justification for 50th Percentile Tier Assessment:

Most likely Molendyk settles in as more of a powerplay specialist who gets bottom 4 minutes but plays top PP simply because of his offensive abilities.


Stylistic Comparable:

Tyson Barrie


Scouts Final Thoughts and Additional Stats/Info:

Molendyk doesn't hit much but he will get you decent blocks and a ton of shots. All that aside this is a very exciting prospect who has a real shot on Nashville to take over the PP1 when he is ready for the NHL. He is such a good skater that I do think his skills will translate to the NHL as his game is built around his speed and skating. He needs to work on his defense but I do think his ability to create chances and his offensive merits along with the first round pedigree will give him ample opportunity at the NHL level.


Games Scouted:

2023-09-30 - Blades vs Tigers


2023-10-01 - Blades vs Hitmen


2023-10-04 - Blades vs Oil Kings


2023-10-07 - Blades vs Pats


2023-11-10 - Blades vs Broncos


2023-10-11 - Blades vs Oil Kings


2023-11-24 - Blades vs Thunderbirds


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