Another member of the Avalanche’s 2018 draft class, Tyler Weiss might be the most skilled if not most fascinating prospect. Selected at 109th overall in the fourth round, Weiss is the only American of the draft class but along with Sampo Ranta is also following the college path and playing in the NCAA next season.
Born on January 3rd, 2000 in Raleigh, NC, Weiss joins Nikolai Kovalenko as the second Avalanche prospect born in the Tar Heel State. Weiss is a 5’10.5 and 151 lbs left shot left wing with great speed and skill, he just has to overcome his size and smaller frame to put on weight to be effective at the professional level.
Weiss has a story that makes him easy to root for. Growing up in a non-traditional hockey market and without any family connections in the sport Weiss and his family had to make sacrifices so he could keep pursuing hockey. The story has made national rounds at this point that Tyler’s brother Ryan gave up hockey so that the family could afford for Tyler to keep playing.
After needing to travel for hours on the weekends to other states in his youth hockey days, Weiss left home at 14 years of age to play in Toronto. He joined a great development program with the Don Mills Flyers in the Greater Toronto Hockey League and spent two seasons there. As a first round selection at 15th overall in the 2016 OHL draft, there was hope that Weiss would join the Sarnia Sting and the CHL route. He was also drafted by the Chicago Steel in the USHL draft.
Weiss made his decision and joined the US National Team Development Program in the 2016-17 season. With the Under-17 team he scored 29 points in 56 games, which was good for second on the team of and outscored other well-known American top prospects such as Oliver Wahlstrom and Jake Wise. In his second year with the NTDP on the Under-18 team Weiss had a smaller role on a lower line and only put up 31 points in 58 games, which may have contributed to a lower draft ranking.
At international events he shined as well in particular in the Under-18 Junior Championship with four points in seven games including a goal as seen below. The US team went on to win the silver medal in defeat against Finland. He also was a key contributor when the NTDP won gold for the US at the Five Nations tournament in Feburary. Weiss was not invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase camp but has two years of WJC eligibility remaining and a good start to his season could still get him a look in December at the selection camp.
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) April 28, 2018
Weiss was firmly on the draft radar but a wild card as to where he might get selected. NHL Central Scouting had him ranked 90th out of North American skaters and TSN’s Bob McKenzie had him 91st. On other popular independent lists Weiss was as high as 59th including 66th for Corey Pronman at The Athletic and as low as 146th. So his eventual selection at 109th was well within expected range.
At the combine Weiss interviewed with 22 teams but none of them were the Avalanche so he was surprised when Colorado called his name. His measured weight of 151 lbs was the lowest of the 104 attendees at the combine. Despite his size Weiss performed well in the testing at the combine. He finished top 25 in several tests including the vo2 max output, which is a test of endurance and also in the long jump, which measures explosive power.
Draft day was a bit of a trying time for Weiss. First his flight to Dallas encountered a mechanical problem in-flight and the plane had to return to Raleigh and the Weiss family couldn’t arrive until the next day. Also, there was the disappointment of being passed by his hometown team the Carolina Hurricanes at 96th and 104th overall. But the Avalamche turned that around soon after when they called his name at 109th overall.
At development camp Weiss at times looked his size and age but also flashed the skill and magic hands he possesses. He has good speed and has all the tools but will need to bulk up on his smaller frame. He looked especially good during the game like situations where he had the chance to really show off his vision and creativity as seen below.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) June 29, 2018
As far as Weiss’ timeline to professional hockey, he stated to the York Daily Record that the Avalanche envision him on a three-year path but he has a goal to make it sooner.
“The timetable the Avalanche have me on is like three years,” Tyler said. “My personal goal is two years. They told me I have all the ability to play in the NHL, I just need an NHL frame. For two to three years, the gym needs to be my life.”
Weiss will begin his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha this fall after originally committing to Boston University. The college path is a good choice for him as he can take the extra time to work on adding weight. If he’s able to do that Weiss may be able to enter professional hockey sooner than expected.
A look at Weiss in action with the NTDP provided in shift by shift fashion by Rudo3