2009 prospects: Q&A with Taylor Beck

By Holly Gunning

Taylor Beck projects as a power forward in the NHL.  He’s a tough forechecker. His stats show him as an assist man, and he’s plenty creative with the puck, but Beck has a very good wrist shot as well. He’s fourth in scoring on the OHL Guelph Storm with 16 goals, 32 assists in 55 games and is +1. 

The 6’1, 205-pound Beck will turn 18 in May.  He is currently rated 54th by ISS, and 50th in North America by Central Scouting.

Hockey’s Future spoke to Beck after a road game.

HF: You have a good shot, but some describe you as a playmaker — are you becoming more of a playmaker over time?
TB: I try to get my shot when I have a chance but I also try to look for my linemates as much as I can. An assist is just as good as a goal for me.

HF: Do you feel that if you mix it up it keeps the goaltender guessing?
TB: Yeah, yeah, for sure.  Like if I shoot one and he expects me to shoot and I can give a guy an open net.

HF: You seem very hard on the forecheck.
TB: Yeah, I’m pretty hard on the forecheck. I go to the net pretty hard and have a nose for the net for sure.

HF: Beyond number, just playing-wise, do you think you’ve had a better second half of the year?

TB: Yeah, I’ve had a good start to the second half for sure. My numbers are coming, but my overall play is just as good if not better than the first half.

HF: In what way would you say your overall play is better?
TB: Defensive play, along the boards. The coaches trust me defensively, offensively.

HF: Have you talked to any NHL scouts this year?
TB: My agent (Newport Sports) usually deals with that. I don’t really talk to them face to face. I talked to a few at the start of the year (including Atlanta). Mostly after practice, asking my strengths and weaknesses, what I need to work on.

HF: Have they been telling you consistent things?

TB: I know my skating’s one of my things I need to work on and it’s certainly gotten a lot better. Hopefully just a little more and it’ll be good.

HF: What are you doing to work on your skating?
TB: I have a personal power skater who skates me at least once a weekend. That’s really helped me.

HF: That’s after practice?
TB: Yeah, during practice, before or after.

HF: You’re the only one who takes part in that?

TB: Usually I’m the only one, if not, two or three of the other guys.

HF: Have you tried the skating treadmill?
TB: I’ve been to one all summer at Brock University at St. Catherine’s near my folks.

HF: Did you think it helped you?

TB: Yeah, for sure. It’s really helped lengthen my stride, gotten me a lot faster for sure.

HF: Who was it that suggested you do the treadmill?
TB: I think it was my coach in minor midget actually. He wanted me to go do it with him and it certainly helped me.

HF: Have you been working on getting stronger too?
TB: Yeah, I’ve been working out, before practice, after practice, anything I can do to get ahead of the game.

HF: Have you maintained the same weight over the course of the year?

TB: Yeah, I came in at 205 and I’m still around 205. I want to keep around that.

HF: You’re lucky that being so young you were able to put on good weight.

TB: Yeah, I was real lucky. I have a strong-built family and that normally helps.

HF: Do you have brothers that play sports?

TB: I have one brother, he’s 22. He just finished playing hockey last year. He’s really helped me throughout the years.

HF: What level did he reach?

TB: Junior B and stuff like that. But he was a big help to me.

HF: Was your dad an athlete too?

TB: Yeah, he actually played in the minor leagues for the Boston Red Sox –Stan Beck.

HF: What’s the most adversity you’ve faced in your career? A time when you were the most down on yourself?

TB: (sighs) I guess coming into Guelph my first training camp, wondering if was going to make it or not. A lot of pressure on myself and that pressure helped and really paid off.

HF: Have you had any injuries in your career?
TB: No, not serious ones. I’ve been lucky, tap on wood.

HF: What was your most serious one?

TB: Probably just a pulled groin or something like that.

HF: Have you been at wing all year?

TB: Yeah, all year and all last year I played wing.  Big strong, go to the net winger.

HF: Do you only play right wing?

TB: Mostly right wing. I go left once in a while when coach needs me there.

HF: Who have your linemates been?

TB: I’ve been with (Michael) Latta for about the past month and we’ve been playing pretty well together. 

HF: In Guelph do you live with a teammate?

TB: Yeah, I’m with our assistant captain Nathan Martine. It’s really nice. He’s a veteran guy and it really helps.