Previous Rank: #21
With the very unlikely exception that Ryan Olsen is instead sent back for an overage season, Olsen has officially graduated to professional level hockey.
Olsen's team, the Kelowna Rockets, finished 1st for the entire WHL in the regular season. While Olsen's 64 points in 71 games is nothing extraordinary, Olsen did place second in total points on the best team in the doub.
Olsen is known more for his defensive game than his offensive game, with his team giving him lots of defensive zone and penalty kill minutes. Olsen centred the team's second line, played on second power play unit, and top penalty kill unit.
His success this season lead to an Entry Level Contract in early December. He was also given a taste of pro-life, practicing with the St. John's IceCaps after the Rockets were eliminated in the conference finals.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Olsen has a number of desirable elements to his game. He is big, smart, poised and willing to battle. He is strong defensively and he moves well. He has a number of nice tools, but he has never been a dominant player. I am curious to see how he looks in his first year as a pro. Olsen's junior team, the Kelowna Rockets, was very much about system play and a shared workload. Olsen was leaned on for his defensive play. Will that trend continue? Will he be freed to contribute more offensively? Olsen has some upside, but likely projects at a depth player at the next level.
Olsen could end up being a steal as a 6th round pick. Turning pro this upcoming season will present a challenge for the center. Will he rise through the bottom 6 of the Icecaps or stick in the bottom six like Austen Brassard and Adam Lowry did in their rookie seasons?
A personal favourite of mine, Olsen continues to impress in person as he’s stood out to me at every Development Camp I’ve attended. This year was no exception. While his ceiling may not be as high as some, I’m convinced that his floor will be a solid bottom-6 NHL centre. I look forward to seeing what he can do at the next level.
Olsen is a fun player to watch. He can crash and bang, while thinking the game well enough to chip in some support offense. He plays defensive zone assignments like a pro, which makes people love him. There are some concerns though in a player who has never surpassed a point per game pace, but he is still a player with some promise.
2013 Top 25 Under 25 - #21 Ryan Olsen