NHL draft tracker: Sam Steel, Regina Pats

Kelly Friesen
Regina Pats centre Sam Steel is a potential 2016 first-round pick. (Keith Hershmiller)
Regina Pats centre Sam Steel is a potential 2016 first-round pick. (Keith Hershmiller)

Regina Pats centre Sam Steel grew up in a hockey household in Sherwood Park, Alta. He spent countless hours learning the game and enhancing his skills on his father’s high-end backyard hockey rink with his older brother Patrick Steel, who played Junior ‘A’ with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles.

“I’m definitely from a hockey family,” says Steel, who is ranked 29th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting Service. “I grew up with a big backyard rink and used to skate on it all the time. I started playing hockey at like three years old and it’s a game my family loves.”

In the Queen City, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Steel has been fortunate to be surrounded by many elite scorers. He has laced up the skates with the likes of Calgary Flames first-rounder Morgan Klimchuk and 120-point scorer Adam Brooks.

“I’ve been lucky to play with lots of skilled forwards in Regina,” says Steel, who possesses elite playmaking abilities and a high hockey IQ. “Guys like Morgan Klimchuk and Braden Christopher last year and Cole Sanford and Adam Brooks this year. I see how they work and prepare around the rink and it helps me understand what it takes to play at that level.”

Steel, 18, elevated his impact level in his second WHL season. On top of showcasing a more polished game, he netted 23 markers and 70 points in 72 matches after tallying 54 points last season.

“As a whole, I think it could always be better, but it went well,” he says. “I improved this year and in total had a better year than last season.”

Steel went on to play a vital role in helping the Pats knock off the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. He helped create countless scoring chances while posting four goals and nine points in five contests.

“I love playoff hockey and it doesn’t take much to get me up for it,” says Steel. “The whole team had a good round against Lethbridge and we worked well together.”

1. Is it your goal to become a first-round pick in the 2016 NHL draft?

“I’ve been trying not to think about the draft during the year. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens. It’s a huge accomplishment to be drafted, but I see that as just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to get there. It’s just a step in the process.”

2. Do you have a favourite NHL player?

“I wouldn’t say I have just one player. I like lots of players, and especially Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk.”

3. Do you have a favourite NHL team?

“The Edmonton Oilers because I grew up around there and used to go to games growing up.”

4. Do you have a favourite TV show or movie that you like to watch on road trips?

“For TV shows, I recently finished watching Breaking Bad. It’s a great show that I really enjoyed watching.”

5. If you weren’t focused on hockey, what other sport would you pursue?

“That’s tough to say. I’m a fan of basketball and baseball, so probably one of those sports.”

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen