Moose Jaw Warriors/WHL
Related: Adam Fantilli
Brayden Yager was a prominent figure on a talented Moose Jaw team in 2021-22, notching 34 goals and 25 assists in 63 regular season games before adding seven more points in 10 postseason contests on his way to earning CHL Rookie of the Year honors. He led all WHL 16-year-old players in goals, points, and game-winning goals (6) while finishing with a share of the lead among his age group in PP points (11). He went on to star at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer, finishing tied for second in the tournament scoring five goals and four assists in five games to help Canada earn a gold medal. In 7 games this season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Brayden Yager put up 3 goals and 9 points and looks to have a strong campaign heading into his draft year. Although Yager is far from a finished product and will need time to develop his game, he is a highly skilled offensive threat with elite shooting ability and great hockey sense, and could eventually grow into a top 6 goal-scoring forward.
Physical Play Below Average
Offensive Play Excellent
Defensive Play Great
Hockey Sense Excellent
1. He drives possession at a high rate and is dangerous from all over the offensive zone due to his elite shooting ability and hockey sense.
2. Yager is a threat off the rush because of the way he constantly scans play, identifying lanes ahead of time and attacking where the opposing defense is most vulnerable.
3. Provides value on the defensive side of the puck, effectively supporting play in all three zones and utilizing his quick hands to come away with his fair share of contested pucks.
Areas of Improvement
1. Yager is a fine skater but he is still a bit rigid and his lack of ankle flexion can limit his agility and short-area explosiveness.
2. He will have to continue to add strength as he matures.
Yager has a well-rounded and dynamic offensive toolkit but it is his pure shooting ability that often stands out. He drives possession at a high rate and is dangerous from all over the offensive zone with a snap-release wrister that comes off his blade with force and deception. Brayden just feels threatened whenever the puck is in open space or around the net and has a good sense of timing for attacking the weak spots of the defense. Yager also works well off the puck to get himself free in open space around the net and has a good sense of timing for attacking downhill or to the back door. He has good vision and moves the puck efficiently but he is more of a facilitator than a pure playmaker, relying on his processing speed and anticipation rather than imaginative or creative passing plays. Although he isn’t an outstanding skater, he has the ability to back defenders off and change gears to create space when he gets a head of steam in transition, allowing him to utilize his deadly wrist shot. An NHL comparable for Brayden Yager is Nathan MacKinnon, whom he models his game after, though he does not have the game-changing speed that MacKinnon does. There is room for improvement in his skating, and he will have to continue to add strength as he matures, but his hockey sense, puck skills, and elite-level shot give him the potential to grow into an impactful top-six scorer who brings a solid two-way game at the NHL level.
Skill: Highly skilled goal-scoring forward with elite shooting ability and great hockey sense
NHL Comparable: Nathan MacKinnon
NHL Potential: Top 6 Goal-Scoring Forward
|2020-21||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||24||7||18|
|2021-22||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||63||34||59|
|2022-23||Canada U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||5||9|
|Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||7||3||9|
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