Sidelined Series: Ty Voit
The cancellation of the Ontario Hockey League’s 2020-21 season left many draft-eligible players with nowhere to go. Sidelined is a new series from Kyle Watson and Dylan Galloway, head Eastern scout at FCHockey, in which they will examine those players and how they might have progressed in their draft year.
There are few players from this year’s crop of OHL players eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft that were hurt more from the season being cancelled than Ty Voit.
The Pittsburgh, PA native was the Sarnia Sting’s leading rookie scorer and settled in nicely with the team by the end of the 2019-20 season after showing some nerves early on. He had begun playing with purpose: he was more confident with the puck on his stick and had worked out a lot of the jitters he was showing in his first few games.
Voit was on a steady upwards trajectory when the season ended prematurely. His ice time had increased and he was receiving power play usage.
After finishing last in the Western Conference, the Sting were primed to take big steps forward had a 2020-21 season happened. Jacob Perrault and Jamieson Rees were expected to be two of the best players in the league and Voit and goaltender Benjamin Gaudreau would have become vital parts of the team. Sarnia also picked third in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, taking highly skilled forward Max Namestnikov.
Standing at just 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds as a rookie, it is almost certain Voit has put on some muscle since we last saw him. This has been a common theme amongst those sidelined this season: they spent all the time they would’ve been playing hockey in the gym.
Considering the development arc he was on last season, Voit likely would have made leaps and bounds as a sophomore. There have never been concerns about his skill or ability, but some of the issues that plague young players were present in his rookie season.
Those could have been eradicated had he not been sidelined this year.
In going back and watching tape on Voit, I was reminded how much I enjoy his game and how highly I thought of him in his D-1 season. As in the last Sidelined instalment on Connor Lockhart, Voit’s draft stock I think would have been highly elevated had he been able to play a full season. The particular reason I think this for Voit is that he had remarkably similar numbers to Lockhart with eight goals and 20 assists on the season and I think with some added bulk to his slight frame and some further development of his game he would have seen an explosion in points in his draft year.
Helping that cause is his play with Perreault late in the 19-20 season. Had those two continued playing together and developing their games they would have been an extremely dangerous combination for Sarnia.
As mentioned above, Voit is a shifty winger whose excellent edgework, great mobility and above-average speed give him the perfect tools to be highly effective through transition and an offensive catalyst whenever he’s on the ice.
In the video above, Voit displays a lot of what makes him great. His initial exit pass misses its mark in this instance and almost results in a turnover, but he makes this play routinely and this is a somewhat rare issue. Once in the offensive zone, Voit goes deep, gets involved in the play and has great positioning — hunting the puck and picking it up when it comes loose. He then displays some great skill stacking by utilizing that great creativity and communication between his hands and feet. He finds space, keeps his head up and puts himself in a great spot to make a play while drawing opponents to his position. His pass leads to the goal.
This is his 10th game of his OHL career, and against one of the best teams in the CHL. His poise and presence of mind in combination with the skills he’s displaying in the above clip were evident throughout his rookie season. With his diminutive size, these are all aspects he will need to continue to display at high levels to be effective in pro hockey.
Speaking of his size.
I wanted to highlight this video because of how well Voit handles himself while under intense pressure from a significantly bigger player. He keeps great balance with a wide stance after SSM26 starts to water ski behind him. With great physical pressure, Voit is able to still carry the puck through the middle of the ice and into the offensive zone and then make an effective pass and sets up a scoring chance for his team.
Often with smaller skilled players, most of the worry is about those players not being able to handle the physicality of driving the net and competing for space in those centre lanes.
This is just one example of Voit going to the net and shovelling home a goal. He only had eight goals, but overall the games I watched I was surprised at the number of times Voit drove to the crease to fight for loose pucks. This goal is also another example of the smart way that Voit uses his edges to attack space and create offence.
I like Voit’s ability to utilize, but not overuse, the 10-and-2 skating style. He can switch into it effortlessly, opening his hips, and is extremely effective at using this in a timely way. Some players can use this skating style as a crutch and turn into one-trick ponies, but Voit uses it intelligently in my viewings.
Voit’s ability to read the play and utilize his mobility to find space in the centre of the ice was evident in almost every game I watched from him. His problem-solving skills are fairly high-end as he can move into and through traffic and find a highly effective play that helps his team.
Here’s another example of his quick hands combining extremely well with his mobility.
Not only is Voit mobile but his ability to attack different lanes and still generate speed with his crossovers really makes him a threat on the rush. In the above sequence, his team is changing and I would have liked to have seen him recognize this and hold the puck deeper in the offensive zone while his team came back to help him. Having said that, the skill to be able to attack the net on a 1-on-5 is promising and the more mature and patient plays will come with experience.
On the topic of maturing his game, I think the biggest area of growth for Voit is the defensive zone.
As a winger, he doesn’t have a ton of responsibility in the defensive zone, and Voit does have the work ethic to get back on the backcheck and disrupt his opponents. But under sustained defensive zone pressure, Voit often floats quite high in his own zone and I found he stays fairly tight to his own boards quite often. I’d like to see him get a bit deeper and try and close off passes to the point a bit better with some smarter stick positioning.
The other addition to his game that will come with maturity is physical development and overall strength.
As I showed in a video above, Voit actually handles himself fairly well when under physical pressure. In addition, all of his other skills often keep him out of those situations. This also isn’t a player who is afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice. He spends a lot of time in the centre lanes and many of his chances on net come from driving to the crease.
I did find that when he did come up against a defender with good gap control and stick positioning, he lacked the ability to push his way to the net. He relies very heavily on the quickness of his hands, but when it comes to changing gears and beating opponents to the outside while leaning on them with good body positioning, he often was angled to the outside and kept to less dangerous areas of the ice.
Overall, I love the way Voit can take the puck through the neutral zone and really attack the center of the ice as a small player.
His mobility with his quick hands makes him a thrill to watch and with some added muscle and quickness I think he could an incredibly effective playmaker in the middle-six of an NHL team. I would look to take a chance on Voit in the mid to late second of the draft.