For as long as hockey has existed, there have been small, undersized players that have found a way to change the game like very few can. Theoren Fleury, Glenn Resch, Martin St. Louis, Johnny Gaudreau, and Tyler Johnson–they’ve all been told they were too small, too short, and just not big enough for a sport of giants; but they never listened. Call it heart, call it willful ignorance, or thick skin, these players defied the odds in a league with an archaic belief that size matters; and they did it well.
Despite the 2005 rule changes that created an opportunity for smaller players to excel, and the fact that young players like Gaudreau and Johnson are coming onto the scene and being big time contributors, small, undersized players are still severely devalued. It is still somewhat of a rarity to see a small player taken in the first round. Much has been made of Mitchell Marner’s size concerns, but he’s still 5’11!
This week, the Hockey’s Future’s Top 5 takes a look at the Top 5 Undersized (5’9 and under) prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft.
Honorable Mentions: Denis Malgin 5’8’’, Kiril Kaprizov 5’9’’
Who do you think is the best undersized player in the draft? Are small players devalued in today’s game? Have any cool growth spurt stories? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.