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2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Carson Lambos can be a great value pick late in the first round

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A difficult year has set him back

Winnipeg Ice v Everett Silvertips Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images

We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24), so it’s time to start researching the prospects likely to be selected in the first round. The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold three picks in that round: #5, #24, and #31.

Carson Lambos

Position: Defenseman
Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Date of Birth: November 5, 2002
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 197
Shoots: Left

Rankings

Ranked #16 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #33 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #22 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #11 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #15 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #28 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #12 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #11 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #18 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #17 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #28 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #21 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #20 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #3 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY

2019-20 Stats

Games Played: 57 (WHL)
Goals: 8
Assists: 24
Points: 32
PIM: 32

2020-21 Stats

Games Played: 19 (2 WHL, 2 Liiga, 13 U20 SM-sarja, 2 U18 SM-sarja)
Goals: 2
Assists: 12
Points: 14
PIM: 10

AD

First, I can’t start this without commenting on Lambos’ name. I can’t see it without thinking of the Kenan Thompson character in the SNL sketch “Friendos”:

LAMBO

A year ago, Lambos was considered one of the top prospects in his class. A delay to the start of the WHL season forced Lambos to travel to Finland for playing time, where he bounced among the top league (Liiga) and the U20 and U18 leagues. Injuries limited his playing time once he returned to Canada for the abbreviated WHL season.

His falling stock means he could still be on the board when the Blue Jackets pick at #24. The old scouting reports mean we could get a top ten talent there in the late first. That’s a fantastic value pick. Even if his ceiling is on the second pair, that fills a useful role in the pipeline.

Scouting Reports

Lambos has good speed and excellent edges, and is able to pivot quickly and escape pressure at a high level while staying with fast forwards defensively. Lambos is hard to play against and regularly punishes opponents physically. Offensively he’s not flashy but has some strong elements with the puck. He makes a good first pass, and shows good flashes of offensive-zone vision and puckhandling. In a sentence, Lambos projects as a “hard to play against” second-pair defenseman who may not be a great power-play guy in the NHL but he could be on the second unit. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Lambos is a potent shooter with the skill and instincts to manipulate defenders and improve his shooting location. With and without the puck, he activates from the point, becoming a passing option and a scoring threat. He fakes shots and passes, waits for the defender to commit, then bursts into the space he created. Constant head fakes add another layer of deception. - EliteProspects

He’s athletic, he’s confident on the attack, he puts himself in a lot of transition sequences, he’s sturdy in engagements, his point shot pops, and he’s a heady playmaker who is capable of beating the first layer of pressure to make something happen. He doesn’t have any one dynamic quality that mirrors the defencemen ranked in front of him but it’s not hard to imagine him becoming a relied-upon all-situations defender. The risk, obviously, is that this year slows his trajectory. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

There really is a lot to love about Lambos’ game. His combination of size and strength really showed in the WHL this season [2019-20] — his adjustment from minor hockey looked almost seamless, and he didn’t struggle much against older and more experienced offensive players. He’s a reliable pillar in his own end, reads developing plays well, and is almost never out of position. His gap control is excellent, and Lambos will use his body to force opponents to the outside, and can keep up with them thanks to his strong skating.

Lambos is also an excellent puck mover — whether it’s hitting his teammates with outlet stretch passes or rushing the puck up the ice himself, Lambos has the vision and puck control to get it done. He won’t overcommit to plays and allow himself to get out of position, but also isn’t afraid to walk the blueline and fire pucks at the net. Lambos is always aware and engaged in developing plays in his own end, and his ability to anticipate plays allows him to make the proper adjustments defensively. - LaurenKelly24, Raw Charge

Highlights