Related: Alex Ciernik
Andrew Cristall may be small in stature, but is truly one of the most dynamic playmakers in junior hockey right now. He’s a magician with the puck on his stick with his skill, and his ability to thread passes all over the ice is high-end. There are passing lanes that most players would never see developing, but Cristall has the passing precision to pick them apart. He’s also a smart player off of the puck and I’m amazed by how often he’s in the right position to hold play inside the offensive zone. Cristall is an intelligent and efficient distributor of the puck who thinks the game at a high level, he is a shifty and fluid skater who shows composure with the puck on his stick, able to extend possessions with smart reads as he waits for options to open up. Cristal is a point-scoring machine, after putting up 28 goals and 69 points in 61 games in the 2021-22 season with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. After a hot start at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he put up 6 points in 5 games for Canada U18, Cristall scored 36 goals and 84 points in 49 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. With the way that Andrew Cristall has been playing this season, he is making a case to be a top-10 pick in the 2023 draft, and he has the potential to be a top-six playmaking winger at the NHL level.
Size/Strength Below Below Average
Physical Play Below Average
Offensive Play Great
Defensive Play Average
Hockey Sense Excellent
1. offensive skill set is highlighted through extremely efficient distribution skills and a willingness to shoot in a purposeful manner.
2. Smooth skating and dynamic offensive threat who displays composure with the puck on his stick.
3. possesses high-end hockey IQ in all three zones
Areas of Improvement
1. He is undersized; only 5’9/165
2. May take some time for him to get adjusted to playing at the NHL level
Aside from Connor Bedard, no 2023 draft-eligible CHL player put up more points than Cristall. He registered 28 goals and 41 assists in 61 games during the 2021-22 WHL regular season and added another goal and five assists in five games at the recent Hlinka Gretzky Cup to help guide Canada to a gold medal finish. Cristall having an even better year in 2022-23 with the Kelowna Rockets, he has 36 goals 48 assists, and 84 points in 49 games. When assessing Cristall’s offensive profile, there aren’t many boxes the 5-9 winger doesn’t check; he is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the entire draft. His offensive skill set is highlighted through extremely efficient distribution skills and high-level hockey IQ, which is most notably on display when observing his willingness to make the right play when facing pressure.
Cristall is also a fluid and effortless skater with good speed that allows him to effectively transition the puck and distribute it to his teammates. He frequently displays good zone-to-zone awareness by supporting the play and his teammates through timely positioning and strong play recognition. While not possessing a high-end rocket of a shot, Cristall does display a timely and willing shooting mentality that could lead him to be a 20+ goal scorer. Despite his smaller stature, he frequently displays good competitiveness along the half wall and slot when loose pucks are up for grabs. While it is unlikely that he ever develops into a player with even average levels of physicality, Cristall’s high-end hockey IQ in all three zones leaves him with a very high upside when projecting his game at the next level. It is not uncommon for creative players such as Cristall to have a period of adjustment when making the jump to the NHL, where time and space become limited due to the higher level of competition. Andrew Cristall has a little bit of Kirill Kaprizov in him, in terms of his shiftiness and creativity with the puck, and like Kaprizov, although he doesn’t quite have the dynamic shot that Kaprizov does. Because of his high-end hockey IQ, to go along with his abilities as a playmaker, he has the potential to be a top 6 winger in the NHL.
Skill: Creative, Undersized Playmaking winger with High-end Hockey-IQ
NHL Comparable: Kirill Kaprizov
NHL Potential: Top 6 Winger
|2022-23||Canada U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||1||6|
One thought on “ANDREW CRISTALL”