NAME: Tanner Molendyk
TEAM: Yale Lions (CSSHL)
DRAFTGEEK RANK: 4TH
|SKATING: 4.75||SKILL: 4.25||SHOT: 4.5||SMARTS: 4.75||PHYSICAL: 4.25|
The Yale Lions defenseman posted 55 points in 27 regular season games this past season, Tanner Molendyk was also named CSSHL defenseman of the year and was named a top player at the Bauer Elite, John Reid, and the NWCAA Flames tournament…. Everywhere he played a game he ended up with an accolade. Tanner Molendyk is a fleet footed cerebral two-way defenseman with loads of naturally gifted tools. Molendyk has a compact and stock built physique, he’s not the biggest player in the world but his core strength and speed allow him to bully his way through anyone he so chooses to. To start Molendyk’s skating is superior to any other defenseman that we have seen at the Bantam level except for Matt Lindgren. He’s got dynamic footspeed and a powerful stride and step. Can quickly pick up speeds through his crossovers and adjust his lane of attack confidence in his feet and agility. A very intuitive offensive strategy, Molednyk likes to ramp up the pace of the game when the puck touches his stick, quickly reacts to everything around him, he gets his feet moving, picks up his head, and locates the exploitive spots on the ice that he attack. Tanner Molendyk’s puck management is superior to others, he’s always in control of the game and the puck. His ability to see the ice and can execute on his reads effectively. Deceiving with the puck, Molendyk likes to mix in some fake stick handles or head fakes in order to get plays going one way and then attack in the opposite direction. Has the shutdown defenseman potential to, he was always against the other team’s top players. Maintaining a tight gap with oncoming forwards and using an active stick to poke pucks off of blades before the puck reaches his own blue line. He does this by cutting off the ice with his angling, anticipating where the play is going, and finding a way to get the puck off the opposing player stick and on to his before quick slashing back up ice in attack. It’s all one natural fluid motion for Molendyk. In his defensive end Molendyk has that great understanding of the game along with his skating he can find and swiftly jump into passing lanes and cause a turnover. He manages the pressure he is applying so intuitively that he can bait mistakes off guys or land crushing checks if it reaches that point. Offensively Molendyk is cerebral, he’s able to quickly pick up the puck at the blue line and generate an offensive chance. He knows what he is doing with the puck as soon as the puck touches his stick, he’s already seen where everyone is on the ice, he sees where he needs to put the puck, he sees the lane that is afforded to him, and he will either execute on his quickly or use his footwork on the blue line to either open a wide gap or create a better angle. Everything off his stick is delivered with the velocity of a shot, his passes are hard and crisp and difficult to handle some times. Molendyk does everything to a legit elite extent and he’s one of those rare defenseman that you can put out in any and all situations and he will succeed. A cross between Ryan Murray and Ty Smith is the best comparable to what Molendyk could end up being, that number one defenseman at the WHL level.