The 2023 NHL Entry Draft is rapidly approaching, and it’s time to look at who the Blue Jackets could pick with their second round pick (#34 overall) on Thursday, June 29.
So we know the Blue Jackets are coming out of the first round with a center. But with their second round pick, all bets are off. With Kekalainen spending a lot of first round draft capital on defenseman in recent years, why not take another swing at the position of greatest need, and take a chance on another center prospect, Bradly Nadeau.
Nadeau is a small-ish, right-handed centerman with a shot like a rocket launcher. He arguably has one of, if not the best shot in the draft class. He is skilled with the puck on his stick, and has a knack for changing the angle and timing of his release to beat opposing goaltenders. His shot is definitely something that will translate to the NHL level, and is considered by some to be pro-ready at age 18.
He’s committed to the University of Maine next season, following in the footsteps of one of my favorite childhood players, Paul Kariya. Both players starred for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before heading to Maine. If he can have half of the career that Kariya did, he’s going to be a solid player for whoever takes a chance on him.
While his shot is pro-level, he will – like most young prospects – need to fill out his slight frame, and get used to the physicality that the next levels of hockey will come with it. He has a high ceiling if everything can come together for him in his development, and is worth a look early in the second round.
Team: Penticton Vees (BCHL)/University of Maine
Date of Birth: May 5, 2005
Birthplace: St-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick, CAN
Weight: 161 lbs
Ranked #31 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #35 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #35 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #39 by FLOHOCKEY/CHRIS PETERS
Ranked #42 by DAILY FACEOFF
Ranked #35 by THE HOCKEY NEWS
Ranked #31 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #27 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #46 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #17 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #37 by HPR/SHANE MALLOY
Ranked #45 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #43 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #34 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #32 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Nadeau wrapped up this past season in the BCHL with the Penticton Vees, where he absolutely dominated against his peers, putting up 113 points (45g, 68a) in 54 games, good for 2.1 points-per-game. He did not slow down whatsoever in the playoffs, tallying another 35 points (17g, 18a) in 17 games en route to his second straight league championship.
“Nadeau is a pure goal scorer. His shot is outstanding. His one-timer is particularly effective and one of the best in this draft close. He also has an excellent wrist shot. Nadeau has a quick release. Combined with his powerful and accurate shot, it can fool goalies and allow Nadeau to score from further out. He also has soft hands, marrying them with his excellent skating in order to create offence. Nadeau can make plays at top speed. He is not afraid to take the puck to the front of the net and can score in tight with quick hands. He pounces on rebounds, one-times passes from teammates, can deke a goalie in tight, as well as score on a deflection.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
“He sees the ice at a high level, making a lot of seam passes and making tough passes on the move. On the power play he can make a lot of plays, but it’s his shot that’s a real weapon. He has an excellent one-timer that projects to beat NHL goalies from distance.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic