Jeff Hawkins The Hockey Writers
Josh Norris – 2017 NHL Draft Prospect Profile
2016-17 Team: U.S. National U18 Team (#14)
Date of Birth: May 5, 1999
Place of Birth: Oxford, Michigan
Ht.: 6’1” Wt.: 192 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect is eligible for 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- Craig Button: 21st (March)
- ISS: 23rd (May)
- NHL Central Scouting: 34th (Final)
- NHL Central Scouting: 46th (Mid-term)
- Bob McKenzie: 60th (Mid-season)
- Jeff Marek: Don’t Sleep On (October)
The No. 1 center and alternate captain for the U.S. National Team Development Program during 2016-17, Josh Norris strung together a collection of consistent performances, totaling 60 points in 61 games. Described as a high-energy, two-way forward, Norris solidified his status as a high-end NHL prospect.
Responsible on the offensive and defensive ends of the ice, Norris’ skating ability helps separate himself from the pack. Reaching his top gear within his first few steps, Norris is capable of creating space with lateral and change-of-pace moves and a high hockey IQ. Armed with a dangerous shot and grit, Norris makes his presence felt when forechecking opponents, creating turnovers, puck handling and finding open spaces for scoring chances.
Excited to sign my NLI to officially become a Wolverine! #GoBlue @umichhockey pic.twitter.com/7qgRkxNHY5
— Josh Norris (@joshnorris10) November 15, 2016
Norris is committed to play for the University of Michigan next season. The U-M campus is about an hour drive from his home in Oxford, Michigan.
Norris can play a finesse game, remaining patient while he carries the puck and searches for passing lanes, and he can play a physical game, going hard into corners to retrieve loose pucks and defending his team’s zone with in-your-face tenacity.
NHL scouts contend if Norris continues leading by example, he could develop into a trusted, two-way player at the next level.
Norris’ father, Dwayne, was a former NHLer who also played professionally in Germany and starred at Michigan State University.
NHL Draft Projection
Norris is projected by many NHL insiders as a late first-round to second-round prospect. He is known for his clutch play, like scoring the game-winning goal for the U.S. Men’s National U18 Team’s quarterfinal win over Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship on April 20.
“He’s a good-sized forward that skates well. Josh is a two-way forward that we are excited to have join us.” – Red Berenson, former coach of Michigan men’s ice hockey team
“He can hammer a puck. He can skate. He’s got a great first step. He competes, and he’s coachable. He’s got a lot going for him. I think he’s got a great deal of God-given talent. He is a heck of a kid and extremely coachable. Those items right there lead up to a player who has some ability and a bright future.” – John Wroblewski, coach of the U.S. NTDP Under-18 squad
- Stronger skater
- Hard, accurate shot
- Work ethic
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive skills
Equipped with mature two-way skills and extreme patience with the puck, Norris has demonstrated a knack for making the right play at the right time. With the right development at the next level, Norris has the foundation to grow into a top-six NHL center who can also be trusted on special teams.
Risk – 2/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 8/10
Josh Norris scored a goal as the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team defeated Finland, 4-2, in the gold-medal game of the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship April 23. He also scored a goal during the 2016 U17 Five Nations Tournament. During 2015, Norris scored two goals among six points in six games at the World Under 17 Challenge and registered six points, including three goals, in two games at the U17 Four Nations Tournament.
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