One of the reasons I like to look at the context of a player's season is because it helps answer some questions about their statistical performance. It helps explain some of what you see when you watch them play as well. This is also why it's useful to see the same player in different contextual situations, so you can see how their stats/eye test changes.

Liam Greentree is an interesting example of this. Last year as a 16 year old rookie in the OHL, he was playing on the third best team in the league. This year, he played on the second worst team in the OHL, while also playing on Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky, and was part of the CHL Top Prospects game. That's a bunch of different situations to watch him perform and get a better idea of how and why he's a good prospect.


  • Position: Right-Shot Winger
  • League(s): OHL
  • Height: 6'3"
  • Weight: 215 lbs
  • Birthdate: January 1st, 2006

Here are his draft rankings, as of writing this:

  • Bob McKenzie: 17th
  • Will Scouch: 16th
  • Elite Prospects: 15th
  • Scott Wheeler: 19th
  • Future Considerations: 14th
  • Dobber Prospects: 11th
  • McKeen's Hockey: 17th

So, about all that context. Last season Greentree was a rookie on one of the OHL's top teams. He finished third in rookie scoring with 25 goals and 45 points. That was enough to earn him an invitation to Canada's roster at the Hlinka Gretzky in the summer. He played three games for them with a more limited role, but caught the eye of a few scouts in the bits that he did play.

Greentree then returned to Windsor for his OHL season, where he finished second in U18 scoring with 36 goals and 90 points in 64 games – doubling his point total from the previous season. He also led his team by 34 points. The increase is more impressive when you consider that back in January, Windsor traded away virtually all of their older, better players as part of their rebuild. Greentree stuck around, and after all those trades he was named team captain. He participated in the CHL top prospects game, where he looked like one of the best forwards – he scored one goal and had a few other excellent chances.

In May, Greentree was on Team Canada for the World U18s and won the gold medal with them. He was used in their bottom six and didn't look like one of the team's best, but was still effective in the role he played. He averaged around 12 minutes per game, but was not used a lot in the semi final and final where Canada really shortened their bench.

Greentree being named captain, leading an OHL team in scoring by such a large margin, and being the top producing U18 forward in the league is impressive in its own right. The fact that he did it all with not much help around him makes it all the more so to me. He was always on their top line, top powerplay unit, and I didn't watch him enough to tell if he was on their top PK unit as well but he was at least used pretty regularly – he finished second on the team in shorthanded points with four assists.

From Mitch Brown's CHL tracking project:


I'll spoil the bit about Greentree's biggest weakness – it's his skating, specifically his footspeed in terms of acceleration. The reason why I want to mention that is because it helps explain the importance of his strengths, and likely why he got so good at them.

Let's start with his shot, which seems like the biggest offensive weapon he has in his arsenal – in terms of projectability to the NHL, that is. He has a really good wrist shot that has a quick release, good accuracy, and tons of power. Being his size has its advantages in this regard. He also has a pretty good slapshot or one-timer for on the powerplay, and an underrated backhand shot I'd say. In other words, his shooting can be very versatile for him. While he does shoot a lot, his approach is often to shoot as much as he can from the middle of the ice rather than just firing it from anywhere – even if he can beat junior goalies from tougher angles.

From Austin Broad at FC Hockey:

Greentree is a highly-skilled forward with an elite shot and impressive physical traits. His shot is the most impressive thing. He has a great release and can generate a ton of power from obscure angles making him a scoring threat from anywhere on the ice.

What helps Greentree's shooting is how he sets himself up for it. With the puck, he is one of those guys who I've seen scouts say could stickhandle in a phone booth. He has very tight control of the puck, and it allows him to hold onto the puck longer and create openings to shoot or pass it. But beyond just stick handling, Greentree has a Knies-like ability to protect the puck and use his size and reach to put defenders on his back and make it impossible for them to get it off of him. Then it's just a matter of having good timing, creating openings with his hands so he can make his move with the puck into the center of the ice where he can create more dangerous scoring chances.

From Brock Otten at McKeen's Hockey:

What truly separates Greentree from the pack and makes him a candidate to be selected inside the lottery are his puck skill and creativity. He routinely makes defenders miss and is always looking to attack inside the dots. His puck protection skill is excellent as he moves between his forehand and backhand, putting would be defenders on his back or in his dust. Even without elite separation or dynamic skating ability, Greentree is able to consistently miss sticks and evade pressure helping him to create scoring chances.

Having the physical ability to stickhandle the way he does is only one half of what makes Greentree so dangerous and effective with the puck. The other half is how quickly he processes the game and react to it. This is what helps him deal with a higher pace of hockey despite not being physically as fast on his feet. Quick hands and a quicker ability to read and react as the play develops is why he's so exciting as a prospect with his skating issues. He has developed a large bag of tricks that he can pull from depending on how the other team tries to defend him.


So let's talk skating. While it's true that Greentree's feet can be slow and heavy at times and he lacks the ability to really separate from defenders once he gets past them, I don't want to overstate things. His skating isn't so poor that it seems like he's a longshot to make the NHL at all – he's a better skater than Noah Chadwick, if we want to use a frame of reference. It doesn't hold him back from already being a dominant offensive force in the OHL, but the speed of the game in junior is much different than the NHL.

Improving his mechanics and explosiveness is something that Greentree will have to achieve as much as he can, regardless of how quick his hands are or how fast he can think on the ice. The more he can improve it, the better his odds are of becoming an impact forward in the NHL because every other building block for a solid NHL foundation is there. He can handle the puck, shoot the puck, and think the game as well as anyone else his age already.


There is some precedence for players like Greentree succeeding in the NHL, including at a high level. One of the more recent and well known success stories for a big, skilled forward with skating issues in junior is Jason Robertson. It was the main reason why he fell to the second round in his draft year.

It is worth noting that Greentree's production did slow down later in the season. At one point he was on pace for 40+ goals and nearly 100 points. Call it fatigue from a long season where he played every game, combined with the pressures of being the guy on his team that teams could focus all their attention on, but that is something to keep in mind when considering his final rankings vs how he was ranked earlier in the year when he was much hotter.

As of writing this, Bob McKenzie's most recent draft rankings had Greentree at 17th overall. But that was in the new year, while his final rankings won't come out until shortly before the draft itself. I can't wait that long to write most of my draft profiles, but I wouldn't be surprised if Greentree's skating issues and late season slow down means that some other guys who were hotter late in the year pass him.

If that does wind up happening, we can expect to see Greentree pretty close to the range of picks where Toronto currently has a first rounder. Given how much Toronto loves prospects that have elite hockey minds and work on building the rest of their game, I can see them being intrigued by the potential of working on his skating mechanics and power to turn him into an unholy terror of a power forward. If he could improve it enough, you have a Knies-like player with even more skill.

Thanks for reading!

I put a lot of work into my prospect articles here, both for the draft and Toronto's prospects. I do it as a fun hobby for me, and I'd probably do it in some capacity even if PPP completely ceased to exist. But if you like reading my work, some support would go a long way! I pay for a few streaming services (CHL, NCAA, USHL, the occasional TSN options for international tournaments that are broadcast) to be able to reliably watch these prospects in good quality streams. I also pay for some prospect-specific resources, such as tracking data and scouting reports from outlets like Elite Prospects, Future Considerations, McKeen's Hockey, and The Athletic.

Being able to get paid for this helps me dedicate more time and resources to it, rather than to second/third jobs. And whatever money I make here, a lot of I reinvest back into my prospect work through in those streaming and scouting services. Like I said, I'd be doing whatever I can afford for this anyway, so any financial help I get through this is greatly appreciated!

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