2021 NHL Draft Prospect: Henry Nelson

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The Participant

Henry Nelson

Maple Grove(MN) Excessive College

6’1” 180 lbs.

Remaining NHL Central Scouting Rank: 96th amongst North American skaters

The Narrative

Henry Nelson is a product of Maple Grove Excessive College in Minnesota, and grew up within the Maple Grove youth hockey system as a part of a gaggle that’s at the very least within the working for one of the crucial proficient ever to return by Minnesota. Nelson grew up enjoying on groups with 2020 2nd spherical draft choose Brock Faber, together with projected 2021 draft picks Justin Janicke and Kyle Kukkonen. A 3rd defenseman, Cal Thomas, has dedicated to play Division I faculty hockey, and it’s possible a handful extra can even find yourself enjoying in faculty after junior hockey as effectively.

Consequently, Nelson didn’t at all times draw as a lot particular person consideration. However those that watched Maple Grove intently noticed a extremely proficient younger defenseman that would doubtlessly hear his title known as on this 12 months’s NHL Draft.

What I Like

-Good Skater

Nelson is an effective athlete with above common agility and stability. He appears to be like clean and fast on the ice, and in consequence, is in good place to make performs pretty commonly. His fast ft enable him to vary shot angles and get photographs round shot blocks and thru on internet.

-Good, possession-oriented recreation

Rising up enjoying with such a proficient group in Maple Grove, Nelson’s groups spent lots of time with the puck on their stick. As a gaggle, they had been distinctive at spreading the ice out and shifting the puck across the offensive zone. Nelson exhibits good sense in following the play and making himself accessible to catch passes in open areas, then shifting the puck successfully to teammates. It’s a talent that ought to serve him effectively as he progresses in direction of greater ranges of play.

-Will get Pucks on Web Rapidly

Lots of the offense that Nelson generates comes from his capability to fireplace fast, correct wrist photographs from the purpose. He’s bought an ideal shot launch that enables him to get pucks by and onto the online earlier than shot blockers and the goalie can get set, and he hits the online persistently.

Right here’s a superb instance of him exhibiting off his capability to maneuver with out the puck after which get pucks on internet rapidly from a highschool playoff recreation (#12 in white)

And here’s a clip from his transient time in Lincoln. Nelson is the left defenseman that can intercept a go in his personal zone, then ultimately choose up an help on a fast shot to the online:

What I Don’t Like

-Small observe report

Nelson performed highschool hockey final season, which is already a step down in degree of play from junior hockey. And he performed on a Maple Grove group that was loaded with expertise towards decent-but-not-great competitors, which meant he performed in lots of video games that weren’t that shut, and by no means actually examined him defensively.

After the highschool season, Nelson bought six video games in with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. However as a younger child thrown onto a group late of their season, Nelson didn’t see a ton of ice time enjoying behind extra established gamers. It was too small of a pattern measurement to attract many conclusions both method.

None of that is actually disqualifying by way of his draft prospects. It’s simply that it’s going to be a lot harder for scouts to get a superb learn on him that it could be for another prospects—though this draft goes to have way more extrapolation and guesswork than most because of the Covid pandemic.

One of many massive issues that saved Nelson from drawing extra consideration developing was that he was enjoying on a group with an distinctive defenseman in Brock Faber. Nelson was at all times thought of superb, however by no means fairly within the elite class that Faber was. After all, now that Faber has developed right into a prime NHL prospect, that possible solely helps Nelson’s case to be drafted.

Draft Projection

It’s unlikely Nelson goes within the prime two rounds of the draft. Except any individual noticed one thing they actually preferred, I simply don’t suppose he has the observe report to justify it. Something past that tends to be a little bit of a crapshoot—even moreso this 12 months with fewer video games performed, a lot of video scouting, and all the remainder of challenges introduced by Covid.

That mentioned, I do suppose Nelson is worthy of being chosen someplace. He’s been overshadowed for a lot of his profession because the third or fourth wheel on some actually nice groups, however I actually like his athleticism and skating capability and suppose these expertise are price taking a shot on. Within the later rounds of the draft, you’re in search of one or two translatable attributes and hope the remaining—on this case, the defensive maturity—comes alongside in a while within the course of. We’ll say third spherical is the ceiling, sixth-seventh spherical is the ground and fourth or fifth spherical is the more than likely.

Professional Projection

Nelson tasks as a puck-moving offensive defenseman. Greatest case situation, he finally ends up as a participant that may play on the ability play. However even when he can’t proceed to attain like he did towards highschool competitors, he may very well be a really dependable second or third pairing defenseman whose athleticism and hockey sense permits him to be efficient by way of sustaining puck possession for his group.

Timeline

Nelson is dedicated to play faculty hockey at Notre Dame. He might doubtlessly play there subsequent season, however between the unusual pandemic season final 12 months, and largely simply enjoying highschool hockey, it’s extra possible, and possibly extra useful, that he performs subsequent season within the USHL. That may give him the chance to see extra ice time and play an even bigger function for his group, particularly offensively. Notre Dame is a good match for him as a result of they play a really tight, accountable kind of defensive recreation, which might be the realm Nelson wants to enhance essentially the most.

Nelson is probably going a prospect that’s going to wish some endurance. He’ll be the kind of late spherical {that a} group can draft and let marinate for 3 or 4 seasons earlier than seeing what they find yourself with.

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