When day 2 of the 2020 NHL draft begun at 11:30 am on Wednesday October 7th, the Canadiens were set to pick three times. At pick number 47 they decided to add size and strength in selecting Luke Tuch from the US National Team Development Program.
Brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward, Alex Tuch, Luke is a big winger with good two-way play but most importantly plays with a serious edge and excels at checking and bothering opponents.
While the 2nd round is an extension of the first and tends to see skilled players with good numbers get selected, Tuch didn’t have game-breaking statistics with the US development program in the USHL. Reason for that? He was asked to play a checking role with players of the same caliber in order to allow teammates higher up to get favorable zone starts and puck possession. If he had played higher up or given better offensive zone responsibilities he would have recorded more than 14 points in 19 games.
For a big forward he has really good skills. He skates well, has better hands than you’d expect, and owns a good release whether on the rush or in position for a one timer. He’s also a serious net presence and scored more than a few goals in and around the goalie’s crease. His play is mostly done on the wall and below the circle. He knows where he has to go to be dangerous.
While he can play the game with a certain level of skill, his bread and butter is his ability to play the power side of power forward. The tenacious winger has the pest aspect of Matthew Tkachuk and can add serious bite to every play. He manages to use his full frame to drive the net on a rush or control the puck on the boards and in tight. His use of his frame for offense and defense is what makes Luke an invaluable player to any team he plays on.
While used on a checking line with the US development program, Tuch will get the chance to move up the lineup when the NCAA season begins. He’s committed to Boston University of the Hockey East conference where he will be able to continue playing the power forward style of game he has excelled at while working on the skilled and offensive part which he did not in the USHL. Expect Tuch to produce at a better rate with good linemates. He can produce more than what the statistics show. He should have a positive progression in his first college season.