Prince George Cougars/WHL
Related: Matthew Wood
Riley Heidt is one of the premier skaters in this 2023 class. He has extremely great edges and accelerates very quickly in all zones. Heidt excels with the puck on his stick when he’s using his skating ability to create separation from defenders. He’s the go-to center for the Cougars in the faceoff circle, and is energetic and creative with the puck on his stick, especially in transition. Heidt is able to process the game at a high rate and has the skill to execute with pace and create offense for himself and his teammates. Due to playing in a smaller market and not getting the same love as his WHL counterparts, Connor Bedard and Brayden Yager, Heidt plays with a chip on his shoulder to prove doubters wrong. Heidt had a solid performance in the 2021-22 season, putting up 58 points in 65 games, but it is nothing compared to the season he is going to have in 2022-23. Heidt already has 15 goals, 49 points in 34 WHL games with the Prince George Cougars, and he also was a big contributor for Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, tallying 6 points in 5 games. Heidt is a gifted yet hard-working center with a strong hockey sense, who projects to be a solid second-line center in the NHL. He is currently ranked outside the top 15, but if he has a fantastic year, things could change.
Physical Play Average
Offensive Play Great
Defensive Play Great
Hockey Sense Great
1. Riley Heidt has extremely great edges and accelerates very quickly in all zones, excels with the puck on his stick when he’s using his skating ability to create separation from defenders.
2. He’s the go-to center for the Cougars in the faceoff circle and is already a strong two-way player thanks to his competitiveness and awareness.
3. Can process the game at a high level, and is a legitimate scoring weapon on the Powerplay with his one-timer.
Areas of Improvement
1. Is a bit undersized.
2. Needs to use his shot more 5 on 5.
Riley Heidt was selected 2nd overall in the 2020 WHL bantam draft after Connor Bedard and before Brayden Yager, by the Prince George Cougars. Heidt’s 58 points in 65 games and a strong start to the 2022-23 season is starting to catapult him to the top 10 of draft boards. Heidt is a hard-working center, who is a gifted skater with a strong hockey sense and skillset; he keeps involved when off the puck, battles hard to regain possession and is light on his edges, and can get going very quickly from a standstill. Heidt is a complete player who plays in all situations, doesn’t shy away from physical play, and constantly engages in puck battles. He is excellent in the faceoff circle and his ability to process the game at a high level while moving at high speeds is special. Heidt is a smooth-skating and creative playmaker who shows a high level of engagement in all situations. He has a powerful stride with good posture and a deep knee bend, and those attributes help to facilitate his constant and rapid scanning of the play. He plays one step ahead of the opposition because he usually is one step ahead of the opposition, and he transports the puck with his head up to identify lanes or routes in transition. Heidt layers great one-touch passing ability on top of that vision to set up teammates for quick strike opportunities, and he can do so through layers of coverage. Heidt is already a strong two-way player thanks to his competitiveness and awareness. The NHL Comparable for Riley Heidt is Bo Horvat, although he has more potential to be a Star player than Horvat ever did. There isn’t much missing from his toolkit, the only thing that holds Riley Heidt from being a top-10 pick is the fact he plays on a bad WHL team. Riley Heidt is a creative and intelligent playmaker who displays a strong work ethic, has great speed and mobility, and projects to be a top 6 center at the NHL level.
Skill: Creative and intelligent playmaker with great speed and elite processing ability
NHL Comparable: Bo Horvat
NHL Potential: Top 6 Two-Way Center
|2020-21||Prince George Cougars||WHL||22||2||8|
|2021-22||Prince George Cougars||WHL||65||21||58|
|2022-23||Canada U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||3||6|
|Prince George Cougars||WHL||34||15||49|