– Colby Saganiuk –
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite (T1EHL) | Forward | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible
Plainfield, Illinois| Feb. 5th, 2003 | 5-foot-6, 150-pounds
Colby Saganiuk is somewhat of a rarity in today’s game.
Despite being born in the United States and standing as one of his nation’s top 2003-born prospects for some time, Saganiuk has yet to commit himself to an NCAA program. Skating for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U16 Team of the T1EHL during the 2018-19 campaign, Saganiuk has continued to establish himself as a premier prospect defined by his high-end offensive abilities and consistent production.
Come the 2019-20 season, Saganiuk will have a wealth of opportunities presented to him with regards to his future in the sport. While the USHL and U.S. NTDP will certainly come calling, the native of Plainfield, Illinois could very well opt to play in the OHL if selected by a franchise which appeals to his desires.
- Skating Strength and Agility
- Puck Protection
- Shot Release
- Energy and Pace
Although his 5-foot-6 frame will be perceived as a negative by many, Saganiuk does not let his meagre frame inhibit his play by any means. In fact, Saganiuk has adapted his size to today’s game — centring his weight and gravity low to the ice in order to evade the checks of his more physically intimidating competition.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings
Tied directly to Saganiuk’s low centre of gravity is his unique skating stride. Featuring explosive strides and breakaway speed, Saganiuk displays fantastic edge-work and can alter his direction and speed with pace and a purpose — allowing the youngster to keep his defenders on their toes alongside due to unpredictable nature. In keeping his centre of gravity low, Saganiuk is also able to shed checks with greater ease while using his wide stance to protect the puck in a variety of situations.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles
In addition to his excellent shot defined by its quick release, Saganiuk is as energetic and determined as any player eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Not one to take a shift off, Saganiuk competes tirelessly on a game-by-game basis and can be looked upon by his coaching staff and teammates alike to drive his team’s offensive game.
Areas of Improvement:
- Defensive Positioning
- Energy Efficiency
While the energy which Saganiuk brings to the ice certainly stands as one of his most impressive traits, the youngster will need to learn how to conserve his power in seasons ahead in order to maximize his productivity and potential. Now, this is not to say that Saganiuk skates hard at times without a purpose, but rather that more direct routes to the puck and greater anticipation would reduce his workload while increasing the potency of his play in all three zones of the ice.
This focus on efficiency relates directly to Saganiuk’s defensive play as well, as a more focused approach and the ability to read the play before it develops will allow Saganiuk to position himself accordingly rather than skate with speed in a sometimes endless pursuit of the puck.
At the end of the day, Saganiuk is one of the most potent and explosive American-born players eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection — a reality which can not and should not be overshadowed by his 5-foot-6 frame.
Come draft day, Saganiuk could very well be selected in one of the first two rounds of the event — and especially so if he does not commit to an NCAA program. Although the option to play in the USHL or for the U.S. NTDP could lay on the horizon, Saganiuk’s explosive style of play could be a perfect fit for the OHL considering its on-going transition to a speed and skill style of game.
Much like Jeremy Wilmer of the North Jersey Avalanche, Saganiuk’s decision to play in the OHL could be swayed depending on the franchise which selects him. Considering the youngster hails from Illinois, the Saginaw Spirit, Flint Firebirds, or Windsor Spitfires could prove to be highly attractive options.