2018 NHL Draft Profile: Liam Kirk

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Born: January 3, 2000

Height: 6’2

Weight: 159 pounds

2017-2018 Team: Sheffield Steelers

Liam Kirk is an intriguing prospect out of the United Kingdom. He currently plays for the Sheffield Steelers in the EIHL, and put up decent numbers in his first full season in the league. Kirk had nine goals and seven assists for sixteen points in fifty two games with the Steelers. As a young player playing against men for the first time, Kirk did really well. He has a gift for scoring goals, and his shot is surprisingly good. It’s very quick, and his release is near perfect. He’s a typical sniper who needs to get a bigger role in a men’s league.  He’s an interesting prospect because he’s playing in a men’s league at a young age, and he’s doing a pretty solid job. One thing I like about Kirk is that he can play either center or the wing, and there’s not much of a difference in how he plays either position. There’s a lot of untapped potential in his game, but he’s more of a project than anything else. Kirk lacks a lot of foot speed, and skating is definitely an issue with the young forward. He doesn’t have a whole lot of leg strength, which is the cause of his lack of speed. An off-season of NHL training could help him grow into his tall frame a bit and develop the strength he needs to be successful at the pro level. Liam Kirk is one of those prospects that has a lot of potential offensively but is fairly raw in every area of his game. He has a good shot and can make plays in the offensive zone, but there’s definitely the concern of whether or not he’s able to play defense effectively.

Liam Kirk has a great shot for someone his age, and he’s not afraid to use it. He can thread the needle with his shots, and they have the tendency to sneak past defenders and goalies. Kirk has excelled in tournaments as well. He’s played in D2 U18 and U20 tournaments this season, and has been a point per game player in both. Kirk had seven points in five games during his U18 tournament, and had fourteen points in five games during his U20 tournament. These stats show that he’s much better than where he’s playing right now, and should benefit from playing against better competition. He could take the Texier route and transition to the Liiga. While it’s still a men’s league, the Finnish Liiga is much better than the EIHL, and he’d play against or with other NHL prospects. He may start the season in the Liiga’s U20 league, but even that might be better for him than the EIHL. Playing at a higher level would force him to train harder, but it’s not a concern. Kirk is stronger than a lot of the players his age in these tournaments, but that won’t be the case if he does make the transition to a stronger league. He’ll have to work hard to get stronger and quicker, and it may take some time. He’s got potential to be a professional player, but it may take a long time. The NHL is a bit of a stretch for him, but it’ll take at least four or five years before he gets a chance. If a team takes a chance on him, it’ll be after the fifth round. He’s a project for sure, but there’s potential in his game. If he exceeds expectations, he could be a good professional player. I’ll need to see him against better competition before making any guesses on his NHL potential, but for now I’ll say that he could be an effective AHLer.

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