2020 NHL Draft Preview: Ryan O’Rourke, OHL Defenseman


In a previous article, we examined a player the Kings could be targeting for their second selection at the 2020 NHL Draft – meaning, after they take somebody in the No. 2 overall position. For context, MayorsManor editor John Hoven recently theorized LA will likely be drafting a defenseman with their next pick.

Hoven further emphasized this point during a Kings of the Podcast episode featuring an interview with General Manager Rob Blake. Using assets to move up is certainly a scenario the Kings will prepare for, yet there’s also chance a highly sought after player will unexpectedly drop into their grip.

RYAN O’ROURKE

Vitals

Date of Birth: May 16, 2002
Height: 6’2
Weight: 181 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defense

2019-20 Season

O’Rourke played the entirety of the 2019-20 season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. He scored 37 points (7 G, 30 A) in 54 games.

Top Dog

Much like the aforementioned Schneider, O’Rourke shouldered leadership responsibilities, donning the “C” as a 17 year-old captain. HockeyProspect featured a quote in their Black Book about it not being a good situation – Sault Ste. Marie did not have a wealth of youth nor were they a playoff team at season’s end. The scouting service also pointed out the young captain had a few games of over 28 minutes a night.

Soo Familiar

O’Rourke has ties with Los Angeles already, being a teammate of Kings’ third rounder from 2017, Matt Villalta. For the 2019-20 season, he partnered up with last year’s development camp invite, Billy Constantinou. Some other recognizable Greyhounds with Kings ties include Andrew Campbell, Jack Campbell, Jeff Carter, Dan Cloutier, Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky, Colin Miller, Jake Muzzin, Jordan Nolan, and Wayne Simmonds.

Playing With Power

O’Rourke closed the season with a modest seven goals. Four of those tallies came on the powerplay. Two of those goals with the man advantage proved to be game winners.

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

Last Word on Hockey, 38th. “O’Rourke’s size, strength and skating give him the potential to be a solid NHL defender. The lack of overall puck skills is a bit of a concern, but will not hold him back from making the league. It is more of the case that it’s unlikely he can grow into a #1 defenceman. Instead, O’Rourke’s ceiling, if he continues to develop, would be to be a complimentary piece on the top pair or a solid minute eater on the second pair. He will need some time and he has already made solid strides in the OHL. O’Rourke’s game is comparable to Trevor Daley, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.”

Future Considerations, 39th. They remark his foot speed and acceleration are his biggest causes for a downfall, but balance it out by saying his hockey sense is strong.

Hockey Prospect, 11th. They echo Future Considerations’ assessment, stating his hockey sense is strong and his skating needs further development.

See For Yourself

Below is a small highlight reel of some of O’Rourke’s plays this year.

Final Comments
The book on O’Rourke reads as “good hockey sense, but skating needs work.” The good news is skating is a skill which is most easily corrected. However, in the new NHL, an inability to develop this can be a major obstacle in at the next level.

Hockey sense and leadership are the intangibles which no organization would pass on. The responsible defenseman held his own in a less than ideal situation. Much like with the Kings taking Turcotte and Bjornfot last season, O’Rourke exemplifies personal accountability and responsibility.

He doesn’t wow the crowd with dazzling skills. Instead, the blueliner plays within his means, and he is willing to sacrifice personal accomplishments and numbers for what’s in the best interest of the team. The other good news is he would have a lot of time to marinate with the deep pipeline in Los Angeles, should the Kings opt to grab him with their pick after No. 2.

NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.

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Comments

  1. He sounds good.

    But if Joni Jurmo were still available at #35,
    I’d still take him over O’Rourke. Jurmo’s BIG, and FAST.
    Hockey sense and offense both seem to be decent.

    And . . .
    You can’t teach size and speed.