Prospect Profile: Naill Crocker

Name: Naill Crocker

Team: Delta Green (CSSHL)

Position: Forward

Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia

Height/Weight: 6’2 162lbs

Hand: Left

WHL Draft: 

DraftGeek Rank: 29


 

Areas of Strength

  • Net Front Presence
  • Board Work
  • Skating

Areas of Weakness

  • Blue Line Possession
  • Polishing Skills

Report: Niall Crocker is an impressive player to watch, he plays such a niche sort of game and he is so willing to earn his points through a massive physical workload that we are willing to bet on his playing in the WHL at the age of 16. He’s a unique player who knows his strengths/role and plays to them. Crocker is a big kid, at 6’2 162lbs, he’s a strong individual who delivers stapling hits with authority every chance he gets. A long rangy physique, Crocker has a galloping stride but above average straight line speed. A relentless fore-check, has the speed to win footraces to the puck or lanes a heavy hit on the defenseman retrieving the puck, his pressure on the fore-check is tight and often impossible to skating unless your Mats Lindgren. Plays a team first game, puts himself in shooting lanes and knows what he needs to do in the defensive zone. While he does play low as a winger, receiving pucks on the breakout, he stops his feet and needs to take a second to survey where he wants to move the puck which can lead to a turnover along his defensive wall. The real cake to his game however comes below the hash marks in the offensive zone. Not only is he an aggressive fore checker but he also has the ability to create scoring chances. Slows down the pace of the game below the goal line, has outstanding vision deep to recognize a team mates driving to the net and finds his team mate with passes to those dangerous areas. Hits his team mates with unsuspecting passes from near the post or behind the net. Imposing his frame to shield the puck under pressure and control it up the wall. It’s very interesting to see how Crocker plays as he has the feet and skill to gain clean zone entries, often attacking down the wall before curling up and delivering a passive pass to a skilled team mates following behind, he then goes straight to his position in front of the net. It’s similar to a center in the NBA, get possession low and kick it out to a point guard then hang under the rim, well Crocker does something similar but instead of the rim he plants himself in front of the net. His massive frame not only screens goalies but also overpower defenseman attempting to box him out. Has the eye hand coordination to bat down shots from the point or find loose rounds around his feet. Whilst in front he will often communicate with the puck carrier letting him know his options. This may be the niche to his game but he does have a snappy quick release on a high velocity shot that he will use in odd man situations. Overall Crocker plays hard and is a robust individual. He can rush his decision making and needs to learn how to gain speed through the neutral zone and not slow his feet down. Promising player who will surely play in the WHL one day.