Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Justin Sourdif.
Selected 3rd overall in the 2017 WHL Draft, Justin Sourdif had 23 goals and 46 points in 64 games as a 16-year-old on a strong WHL club, the Vancouver Giants. He also added two goals and six assists for eight points in 17 playoff games. Sourdif started his second season with a spectacular end-to-end goal. It was the start of what would be a strong season for the Surrey-native. Sourdif scored 26 goals and 28 assists for 54 points in 57 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2017-18, Sourdif led the BCMML in scoring and was named the league’s player of the year. He also led Team British Columbia to the gold medal in the WHL Cup.
Sourdif has also been strong at the international level. He put up one goal and four assists for five points in five games at the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. His performance helped Canada to a silver medal. He also put up one goal and two assists in six tournament games playing for Team Canada Red at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
Justin Sourdif Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born March 24th, 2002 — Surrey, British Columbia
Height 5’11” — Weight 173 lbs [180 cm/78 kg]
Sourdif is an outstanding skater. He has excellent top-end speed. His skating is explosive, as he can accelerate and reach that top speed quickly. He also has an excellent first step. Sourdif can use his ability to change speeds as a weapon, speeding up or slowing down to create space from a defender. He pairs this with excellent agility and edgework. His ability to change directions on a dime also helps to make him dangerous in one-on-one situations. Sourdif’s stride is powerful and a low centre of gravity allows him to fight through checks and makes him tough to knock off the puck. This also helps him to win battles on the boards and in front of the net. This is an area of Sourdif’s game will get even better as he matures.
Sourdif pairs his strong skating with soft hands. He can make plays with the puck even while moving at top speed. This helps him to create space off the rush or working off the boards in the cycle. He is dangerous when facing defenders in one-on-one situations. If he catches them flat-footed, he can get around them and take the puck to the net. Sourdif is willing to take the puck into the dirty areas of the ice in order to make plays. Sourdif protects the puck well down low, extending plays and waiting for teammates to get open. When they do, he can make tape-to-tape passes through tight areas. Sourdif has good vision and anticipates the movements of his teammates. He is especially strong on his skates for his size.
Sourdif can also play the role of a sniper. He has a very quick release on his wrist shot and snapshot. His quick hands allow him to change the angle on the shot before letting it go, testing goaltenders. The shots are also very accurate and powerful. Sourdif has a knack for getting open without the puck and getting into scoring areas. His quick hands help him to bang in rebounds or get deflections close to the net. Sourdif is a hard worker, who never quits even when he is faced with a bigger and stronger opponent. He chases down loose pucks, battles along the boards and is effective on the forecheck.
Sourdif also plays well in his own end of the ice. He brings his relentless energy to the backcheck, supporting the defence down low, and effectively applying backpressure in transition. A quick stick knocks the puck away from opponents and can intercept passes. His positioning is solid and he reads the play well. He shows signs of being extremely coachable as his defensive game continues to improve. Trusted by Giants coaches, Sourdif is one of the team’s key penalty killers and is also used extensively when protecting the lead in a close game.
Projection and Comparison
Sourdif can become a solid two-way winger in the NHL, playable in all situations. He will be the type of player who coaches love, and give big minutes too. There are some questions about how high end his offensive skills are. He’s looked good at the WHL level, but may project as more of a 2nd line winger than an elite top-line player. Still there is value there, and he could even improve more with two more years in the WHL. Sourdif’s game is reminiscent of T.J. Oshie, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Justin Sourdif that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Justin Sourdif Main Photo:
KELOWNA, BC – DECEMBER 18: Justin Sourdif #42 of the Vancouver Giants skates with the puck against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on December 18, 2019, in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)