Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #11: Luca Munzenberger

Bruce Curlock
7 months ago
A German compatriot to Leon Draisaitl comes in at #11 as Luca Munzenberger enters the countdown.
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Nationality: Germany
Date of Birth: November 24, 2002
Drafted: 3rd Round Pick, 2021 
Height: 6’2″ / 189 cm
Weight: 201lbs / 91 kg
Ranking last year: Honorable Mention
Right off the bat, this is the player that is the hardest for me to evaluate and consequently will likely be the most controversial player in terms of ranking.
When you look at Munzenberger’s stats, you are not going to see very much. In fact, you will see point metrics roughly equivalent to Nikita Yevseyev despite playing in an inferior league. Yet, I have Munzenberger two slots ahead of Yevseyev in the prospect countdown. So what gives? Mostly this is more gut instinct on a player than anything. For Munzenberger, he plays with a very weak team in a very strong conference.
In the 48 games Vermont has played in the Munzenberger era, they have won exactly 11. The overall totals are no less depressing with the team winning 19 of 72 total games. The team has scored at a rate of 1.8 goals per game while being scored on at a rate of 2.9 goals per game. This is not a good program, so it is tough to assess a player in that environment.
What do I see with the player that makes me optimistic? For starters, he is a big man on defence who can wheel very well. This clip is a great illustration of what Munzenberger does very well. He’s a big, highly mobile, aggressive defenseman. He starts by reading that he can hold the blue line because he has excellent support. Then he makes a great interception of the puck. Then watch his transition skating. His first two steps are really strong propelling him away from the defenders and into a net attack.

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Here is another example of the skating ability of Munzenberger and the part of his game that I think can develop, which is his offence. First, look at the power in his stride as he accelerates through the neutral zone. He makes a nice lateral attack going from inside to outside and then back. Then watch the little backhand pass at full speed into a tight window. That is good puck-skill stuff right there.

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The reason I am higher on Munzenberger than his numbers would suggest is that I think he has this bit of offence in his game. It’s not like it wasn’t there previously. Look again at his junior scoring totals. They are very strong for a young defense-first defenseman. Then Covid-19 hit and he lost a season of development in my opinion. Also, his coaches agree. Both with the German World Junior team and in Vermont, Munzenberger plays the powerplay. Look here at a pretty routine goal, but still on the powerplay.

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If Munzenberger can develop this element to his game further this year, he will certainly be a prospect to watch when he turns pro.
Oh, and that is one more thing. Munzenberger is still only 20 years old. There is lots of time for his game to develop. The key here is the Vermont program. It hasn’t been good. It will not be very good again this year with the head coach leaving and Alex Bump, a really good freshman, asking out after previously committing. Munzenberger will have to slog through mostly with a lower-end talent pool. If he can find some offensive chops this year, we may have the makings of a new “Leftorium” again with him and Yevseyev.

Previously in the countdown

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