Throughout the year, Fighting Hawks forward Chris Wilkie steadily improved. Wilkie is a fast forward with a decent shot and outstanding sense of where to be on the ice. The Omaha,NE native had a nine point season in 32 games. While the Florida Panthers’ sixth pick has a great shot,he often did not find himself able to fire many shots on net as he finished the year with a mere 45 shots on goal. One reason for this is Wilkie’s height at 5′ 11″. He routinely lost puck battles in the corners this year to more physical players. While UND alums like Rocco Grimaldi have proven that height does not always matter, they did so with a consistently high motor,and through adding strength each year. Wilkie still has plenty of time improve his strength and overall motor to help win more puck battles.
Look for Wilkie to improve dramatically this year, as he will receive more power play time, and have another full summer at UND under his belt.The Panthers prospect improved dramatically from his second to third year in the USHL scoring an additional 19 points (55 point season).Look for the same to happen this season. Wilkie will score at least 19 more points than last year.
As Wilkie develops, his high skill and outstanding shot will be seen as his ice time increases. Wilkie has a ceiling of a top six forward who can put the puck in the net after blazing by defenders with his outstanding speed.If the Panthers pick can have a 40-50 point season this year the Panthers should come knocking.If Wilkie does not reach 40 points look for him to spend at least one more season with the Fighting Hawks. Florida has a ton of outstanding wingers in its system and one day Wilkie will join that group.He still has some work to do. At his best, Wilkie could one day play a style of game similar to future Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis.