Devils Draft Series: Tim Stützle, Elite Playmaking German Forward

Forward Tim Stützle is one of the top prospects in the upcoming draft. (Photo by: Jan-Malte Diekmann)

Profile

Tim Stützle is an 18-year-old German-born left-wing, who can also play center. He is listed at 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, and is a left-handed shot. Stützle has played all of his junior hockey in his native country Germany, which makes it slightly harder to gauge his production. In the final 2020 Draft Prospect Rankings, he is the first ranked European skater. He was also ranked first in the midterm rankings.

The Statistics

Stützle started his junior career as a 12-year-old in the Schüler-Bundesliga, where he played 61 career games and tallied 144 points (2.36 points per game). Others who also played in that league are Leon Draisaitl (350 points in 99 games, 3.54 points per game), Dominik Kahun (40 points in 81 games, 4.95 points per game), and Tobias Rieder (216 points in 64 games, 3.38 points per game). He then moved to the DNL, (German Developmental League), where he racked up 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 25 games. This translated 1.88 points per game ranks eighth in league history of players who’ve played a minimum of 25 games (founded in 2000). 

In the 2018-19 season, Stützle played in the DNL under-20, where he led the league in points per game (2.62) and was fourth in total points (23 goals, 32 assists in 21 games). Most recently, he played in the DEL, which is Germany’s top professional league. As a 17-year-old he tallied 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 41 games for Adler Mannheim. His .83 points per game average was 24th best in the league. This is extremely impressive given he was only 17 years old and going up against men twice his age. Worth noting, Adler Mannheim was the league’s second-best team.

Stützle also has played a lot internationally for Germany. He scored five goals in five games at the 2020 World Junior Championships. And overall, in a total of 39 international games, he has 58 points (22 goals and 36 assists).

The Scouting Report

Strengths

Stützle has a ton of strengths in his game. He is arguably the best playmaker in the entire draft. His passing abilities are top-tier, and couple this with elite stick-handling, he has no problem setting up teammates. These skills were confirmed by his solid production in the DEL, where he was only 17 years old and put up the 24th best points per game average. 

He is also a tremendous skater. His acceleration is great, which allows him to be elite offensively, as well as great in the defensive end. His high awareness, along with his great skating abilities results in solid defensive play, making him a complete two-way player.

A specific area of his game that impresses is the high acceleration and stick-handling abilities that allow Stützle to often breakout of defensive zones and enter the offensive zone with ease. This is extremely important in the NHL today.

Weaknesses

As for what Stützle needs to work on, there is not much. Weighing 187 pounds at 18 years old is not terrible, however, he is 6-foot-1 so more weight and strength should be added. Watching his film, you can see he is slightly prone to being knocked off the puck, and shies away from using his body defensively and becomes reliant on his stick checking. But this will improve as he gets older and stronger.

Also, in some cases, Stützle can become too reliant on his superb stick-handling and skating ability and he gets himself in situations he regrets. This can lead to the occasional turnover. But, overall nothing serious or alarming for a kid that will just continue to get better.

Projection

Stützle is a top-three prospect in this draft, and arguably the only one that may have a chance of dethroning Quinton Byfield for the second overall pick. He is one of the best passers and playmakers in the draft. Even better is he is not solely an offensive player, such as Alexander Holtz, as Stützle is extremely competent in his own end, making him a complete player.

With this said, expect Stützle to be off the board anywhere between picks two and four. This means the Devils will not have a shot at him unless the team trades up or is lucky in a prospective draft lottery. 

Fit With the Devils

As mentioned, the Devils will need some luck to snatch Stützle at the upcoming draft. If New Jersey is somehow able to draft him, the team would be getting one of the best players in the draft.

An added bonus is that Stützle is one of the few wingers at the top of the draft. A majority of the top forwards are centers, and as we know, New Jersey is in a bigger need of a winger than a centerman.

If the Devils are unable to land Stützle, which seems exceedingly likely, but are in love with the type of player he is, there is a great “plan-B”. A great consolation prize would be Lucas Raymond, as he and Stützle are eerily similar. Both are skilled playmakers who are more than competent in their own ends.

Ranking of Evaluated Prospects

1. Alexis Lafrenière (no profile will be released)

2. Tim Stützle (Today)

3. Marco Rossi (04/30/2020)

4. Jamie Drysdale (05/01/2020)

5. Lucas Raymond (04/28/2020)

6. Cole Perfetti (05/05/2020)

7. Alexander Holtz (04/29/2020)

8. Jake Sanderson (05/04/2020)

9. Yaroslav Askarov (05/05/2020)

Note

As more data and information gets released on prospects, I may change my above ratings to reflect. Also, you may notice Alexis Lafreniére was added but no profile was released. This is because given the Devils seemingly will not have a chance at the first overall pick, we do not feel there is a reason to write one for him.

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