NHL Draft: Kyle Topping

Name: Kyle Topping

Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Position: Center

Height/Weight: 5’11 185lbs

Hand: Left

NHL Draft Ranking: N/A 

Western Prospects Ranking: 50th

Estimated Draft Position: Camp Invite


 

Areas of Strength

  • Versatility
  • Handle Speed Game
  • Patience w/ Puck

Areas of Weakness

  • Lacks Ideal Height
  • Individual Prowess
  • Physical Side

Report: Many expected Kyle Topping to have been drafted in the 2018 NHL Draft, but after getting passed over in his first try Kyle is back to prove that he has the makings of valued NHL prospect. Topping came back for his third season with the Kelowna Rockets where he produced 69 points in 68 regular season games, good enough to lead the Rockets in not only points but also in assists. Topping spent a majority of the season playing alongside Nolan Foote and Leif Mattson, the line produced a combined 195 points over the regular season and were the go-to scoring option for the Rockets. Whats interesting about Topping is how he’s adapted year by year he spent a majority of his first draft eligible season playing alongside Kole Lind and Dillon Dube or Nolan Foote, sticking on that top line during the 2018-2019 season while also suiting up on the teams top power play and penalty killing units.

The best way to compare Kyle Topping’s game is to metaphorically call him a clump of clay, Topping is able to mould and adapt to every different situation during the game. Whether that be playing on the first line with scoring forwards, or conservatively defending the lead with defensive minded players, the versatility that comes along with Kyle Topping is what makes him so valued in the WHL. Despite being slightly under six feet Topping relies on a wide base, broad shoulders and a smooth powerful stride in order to control the puck through heavy pressure, exhibiting impressive confidence with his willingness to drive though the middle of the ice in possession and slip his way through tight quarters to elude heavy pressure spots in the offensive zone. Topping makes up for his lack of creativity with the puck with level headed composure and cocky patience, whilst in control with the puck Topping’s ability to allow execution lanes to open up for him and being able to finish the play with pin point timing displays the high hockey IQ that he possesses. Though he’s not regarded as a volume scorer, Topping’s slick stick allows him to release the puck with quick reaction timing, not only being able to snap/one-time/wrist shots dynamically but also doing the same with his passes to throw off opposing minds. Topping’s greatest tool however is the 200 foot game that he plays, a new-aged transitional centre that plays the two-way game responsibly and with maturity. Showing lots of polish, calmness, and competitiveness, Topping is the sort of player that you want on your team, knowing that he can step up in any situation and show good body language consistently makes him an easy coaches favourite.

Potentially transitioning from juniors to pro’s over the next couple years should not be a problem for Topping, the clay mould to his game will allow him to fit in any role necessary for his teams success. Topping has improved the physical side of his game but needs to continue working on it in order to stand out at the next levels. Given that Topping is re-entering the draft and played on a weak Kelowna Rockets team last season, it’s likely that he will not be drafted for the second time but Kyle is definitely worth a camp invite as he plays a polished brand of hockey that is easy to like.