2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #27: Tanner Pearson
Position: Left Wing
Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Date of Birth: August 10, 1992
Place of Birth: Kitchener, ONT
Ht: 6'0" Wt: 198
2011-2012 Regular Season Stats:
Tanner Pearson has pretty eye-popping numbers for the Barrie Colts, helping them to the most improved record in the CHL this season. He finished third overall in the OHL in total points. Yet, he slipped a bit from the mid-season rankings--three spots--to finish the year as Central Scouting's 25th-ranked North American skater. Why? Well, for one thing, he tailed off in the second half in terms of points, after at one point leading the league by quite a large margin. He also ended the season by breaking his fibula in the last regular season game, missing the playoffs.
Most importantly, however, is that he didn't debut in the OHL until he was 18, has played just two years there, and will turn 20 before the upcoming season. Pearson was a 14th Round OHL Pick, spent two years in Junior B, and went undrafted by the NHL in both 2010 and 2011. Yikes!
But, he's making a case for "better late than never" after having a tremendous year for Barrie this past season. He is one of those heady players who always makes solid passes, and who seems to have the puck follow him around. His positioning is sound, and though it's taken him some time to really "get it," he seems to be a legit NHL prospect. His only downside right now as a late-first or early-second round guy is that he's already two years behind most of the people he'll be drafted with.
While his pace has slowed slightly, Tanner Pearson continues to be an offensive threat every night. A classic late bloomer, Pearson found chemistry early in the season with the rest of his team and has not looked back since. Pearson thinks the game on an extremely high level; he consistently makes great decisions with the puck and is able to thread passes through traffic with ease. He also does a great job in putting himself in great position, he is a player who the puck just seems to find time and time again. While Pearson will be eligible for his 3rd time this season, he has emerged as a legitimate NHL prospect and with no glaring weaknesses in his game, he’s earned his spot in our rankings.
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
Pearson would bring some offensive savvy to the top six if he continues on the track he's established in the last year or two. He's not the biggest or fastest guy, but he seems to always make the right decisions with the puck, and he showed an ability both to score as well as set up teammates this season. The Jackets are in need of someone who possesses both of those skills in one package. If he could be had in the second round, that would be the earliest the Jackets should consider taking him, however. He's a guy like Boone Jenner was last year who might just be a good get in that early second round area. That said, some mocks have him going as late as the mid- to late-40s on the draft board.