Up next is soon-to-be-former Barrie Colt, Tanner Pearson. If there was ever a shining example of development at the minor level, it would be Pearson. Having been eligible for the NHL draft in both 2010 and 2011, and going undrafted each time, Pearson is looking to capitalize on a stellar 2011-2012 campaign in which he racked up 37 goals and 91 points in 60 games before his season came to a premature end due to a broken fibula in March.
Pearson also gained some experience in the spotlight when he appeared at the 2012 World Junior Championships with Canada with six points in six games. The third overall scorer in the OHL this year will surely see his fortunes improve when the draft rolls around this year.
Weight: 198 pounds
Position: Left Wing
Born: August 10, 1992
What People In the Know Know
Tanner Pearson was my teammate at the World Juniors. He has a heck of a shot and can shoot the puck real hard. He had a pretty good year this year, and he’s pretty dangerous in the scoring areas.
It’s players such as Pearson who make scouts bolt out of bed with a cold sweat. For two years, he could have been had with a late-round flyer. now, he’ll likely go in the second round or even the first if a team wants him badly enough. Much of Pearson’s success with the Barrie Colts and the Canadian junior team can be attributed to finally getting serious about his career last summer and devoting himself to improving his conditioning.
That gave him the extra step he needed to keep up with the likes of 2011 first-rounder Mark Scheifele. It’s no coincidence he improved on his 2010-2011 numbers by 49 poitns.
“He pretty much made you take notice of him,” said one scout. “He adapted his game and showed a good defensive side to his game at the world juniors. Now it’s a question of whether you think he has no more room to improve or he’s a late developer.”
One take on the Barrie Colts left wing’s upward arc is that it’s just a reminder success for a young player doesn’t move in a straight line. Some take longer to decide to go all in on pursuing a hockey career. Something clicked last off-season after Pearson, who had a decent first season, saw his teammate and Kitchener, Ont., buddy Mark Scheifele go seventh overall in the NHL draft. Instead of treating his summer like, well, summer, Pearson hitched his star to a (future Winnipeg) Jet and went to work.
Pearson is ranked 25th amongst North American skaters by Central Scouting and, as stated above, looks to be a late first or early second round pick.
He clearly has the scoring ability that would appeal to the big clubs, the question is if he can keep up the work ethic that he displayed in his 19-year-old season. Was it a sign of a growing maturity or a flash in the pan? A very bright flash, mind you, but potentially a flash nonetheless.