By Dan Stewart

DraftPro evaluators were excited to see the World U17 Hockey Challenge back on the schedule this season after a two-year absence on the hockey calendar due to the pandemic. This U17 event has traditionally been the best place to see all the worlds future talent compete head to head and get a baseline idea of the next couple of NHL drafts potential and depth.

Our Director of Scouting Jared Brown, Head Scout Matt Hnatiuk, and regional evaluators Joely Stockl, Tyler Karoway and Matthew Tucker all took in the games and made evaluations on the next wave of talent that will be in the spotlight for the 2024 and 2025 NHL Drafts.

In the sixth part of this seven-part series we highlight the second place Canada Red team that went up against the powerhouse American’s for the gold medal at this event.

#1 G, Gabriel D’Aigle, Canada Red, 6’4”, 209, L, DOB 11.21.06

“D’Aigle has incredible reflexes, his leg movement especially can slam the door on any opening. He is a Hybrid goalie by trade, but is a lot like MA Fleury where he can flex out a butterfly and make saves with really any part of his body. His length strength is a massive advantage for him as he can move side to side in butterfly extremely quickly and keep out push attempts when his leg is in front of the post. He does need to work on controlling his strength though, as he pushes out to hard at times putting himself out of position. Luckily his quick reflexes can cover that up and as he gets more comfortable with his strength, he will be able to adjust how hard he pushes out. His vision up close is very sharp as he can pick a puck out of traffic and pounce on it. D’Aigle will need to work on finding his pucks from longer range though as he puts himself out of position at times trying to see through traffic. His biggest drawback is that he makes himself small when he is hugging the post, for a 6’4” goalie he leaves a large chunk of the net open up high. His glove side is quite strong, he holds it open and just like a catcher in baseball he can snag it out of midair and not give up rebounds. His rebound control is incredible, for such an awkward style of play he gives up very few rebounds and swallows them up if he does. He gets into the butterfly quickly but needs to work on getting both legs down at the same time as his right leg stays high at points. Gabriel is conservative when playing the puck as he rather leaves the puck for his teammates over playing it. D’Aigle has very good qualities for the making of a starting goaltender, he will need to touch up his technical side, but coaching and experience will help with that.” – TK

#3 D, Anthony Cristoforo, Canada Red, 5’11”, 180, R, DOB 02.23.2006

“Cristoforo is primarily an offensive defenseman but was utilized on the PK, showed good defense without being physically intimidating, and performed well playing a two-way role. Had good defensive positioning. Defends with a very active and accurate stick. Uses it to stick check the puck along the outside and in board battles. Good hand-eye showed in his ability to bat down passes. Uses his skating and mobility to not get caught flat-footed and match his speed with that of his opposition. Constantly shouldering so he’s aware of his opponent’s positioning. His net front defense could use some work as his lack of physical presence is noticeable in this area of defending. He’s an agile skater who uses his edges to avoid pressure effectively. He’s not a burner but he can carry the puck up ice on occasion. Delivers a calm first pass and moved the puck well even when playing on his off side. He did run into some struggles moving the puck under pressure. Skated himself into dead ice a few times when trying to make a breakout pass. Cristoforo appears to have a very calm demeanor to him as he skates and plays with lots of poise from what I saw. He showed good maturity in his game tonight.” – JB

#17, C, Berkly Catton, Canada Red, 5’11”, 164, L, DOB 01.14.2006

“Catton is a game changer whenever he is put on the ice. He was playing with two skilled wingers in Martone and Misa, but he was driving the play on that line for the most part. He was setting his line mates up left and right with incredibly skilled passes. Catton loves the drop pass which he uses intelligently, and it created a lot of high-quality chances. Catton skates with his head up and he is able to track the play and the puck very well. He is difficult to knock off the puck and he isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas and be physical. The puck seems to follow him on the ice and he seems to get a lot of lucky bounces. There were a couple times where he lost the puck and the puck would bounce and he would gain possession again. When his team has possession, there is a high chance that he is the one with the puck. His confidence and patience is through the roof, he doesn’t mind taking his time and slowing down in the offensive zone to analyze his best play. Though he is patient, Catton does the most damage off of the rush. His speed through the middle is mesmerizing and he has a quick stride with quick crossovers. He likes to attack the middle of the ice and draw defenders toward him as I mentioned before. Catton is a player that I would feel comfortable putting in any position, whether it is to score a goal at the end of the game, or to defend the lead. His vision is advanced for his age and his deceptiveness allows him to be a highly skilled playmaker. Catton should be considered as a 1st round threat for the 2024 NHL Draft.” – JS

#5 RW, Porter Martone, Canada Red, 6’3”, 170, R, DOB 10.26.2006

“Martone is a great power forward who excels in front of the net. With his big 6’3” frame, Martone is great at driving the net for rebounds and being a net front presence as well. What I like about his game is that he recognizes his long reach and isn’t scared to get in the dirty areas for his team to score; he will simply do whatever it takes for his team to be ahead. Martone is also a good skater, I love that he uses his long strides and long reach to beat defenders to the outside and drive the net for a scoring chance. Martone is also effective on the forecheck. He is able to use his physical aspect in his game to retrieve the puck and get it to his teammates. He also possesses a good hard wrist shot. Lastly, Defensively I like his positioning. He is able to mark his point well and is able to transition the play well out of the defensive zone. Martone also uses his long reach to cover up passing lanes in the defensive zone. Martone is a great power forward that could help a lot of NHL teams looking to solidify their winger position.” – MT

#10, LW, Tij Iginla, Canada Red, 6’0″ 180, DOB 08.04.2006

“Jerome’s kid is an extremely explosive player who isn’t afraid to tap into his physical side. He is definitely noticeable whenever he is on the ice. He’s an explosive skater who is able to change his pace on the go and drive the play. Iginla is a utility player that can play virtually anywhere in your lineup because of his wide skill set. He drove to the middle on many occasions with the puck, on some chances he was unsuccessful, but the determination is admirable. Iginla is not afraid to take risks in his game. He was able to get himself positioned along the board just before the blue line to receive a pass. He used great vision to make a one touch pass through the middle to lead his teammate into the zone, which eventually resulted in a goal. He’s not afraid to make big hits or be rough along the boards. His determination carries through his game and allows him to deliver these hits. He is not a large player, but because of his low stance and explosiveness, he flies into the boards and other players hard. Iginla has a decent shot as well, his release is powerful. When he doesn’t have the puck in the offensive zone, he is often in the slot, in front of the net, or behind the net. Iginla is an energy player who always likes to be around the puck. I can see him as a 2nd round pick currently, he isn’t a phenomenal shooter and his defensive game isn’t dominant, which brings him down slightly.” – JS

#20 W, Ethan Procyszyn, Canada Red, 6’2”, 182, R, DOB 07.11.06

“Procyszyn has really impressed me this tournament, showing off a solid offensive flare. The first thing you notice is his unreal ability to accelerate while skating, he might even be faster than teammate Catton. The difference between the two is Ethan has a much bigger frame and uses it, he shields the puck quite well in open ice and along the boards. His shorter, choppier strides allow for him to get to speed faster and if needed to push to the side to block opponents on breakaways. His explosion out of his starts and stops makes him look like a linebacker out there as he can explode out of cut and steal passes or find his target. His anticipation is outstanding as he has had at least 10 breakaways coming off of picked off passes throughout this tournament. He’ll drive the net like a freight train and with his stick work he’s able to make moves in tight and with his speed that’s lethal when he’s all alone. His shot has so much speed coming off his stick and it doesn’t matter if it’s coming from his forehand or backhand. Procyszyn was an extremely efficient penalty killer throughout this tournament, his forecheck was vital in his shorthanded goals, and willingness to play the body and block shots really impressed me. His positioning in the defensive zone at times is a bit off and will need to tighten that up if he wants to remain on the PK. Procyszyn definitely built his draft stock throughout this tournament and I wouldn’t be surprised if starts shooting up draft boards.” – TK

#19 C, Nathan Villeneuve, Canada Red, 6’0”, 183, L, DOB 04.13.06

“Villeneuve might have become one of my favorite players with his performance here. He played a strong 200ft game and seemed to infuriate every opposing player on the ice. He killed it in the faceoff dot from what I saw, was excellent on the penalty kill winning many puck battles. His willingness to block shots, win faceoffs and win board battles made him a massive key to his team’s success. He finishes every hit and doesn’t mind mixing it up after plays just to incite his opponents a little more, but also showed very good discipline to know when to stop and not take a penalty. Villeneuve displayed good inline speed and good lateral movement to take away lanes in the neutral and defensive zones. Villeneuve drives the net hard and will park himself there with his stick on the ice. Along with his speed and size, Villeneuve has a fairly good shot, it’s accurate and has some zip coming off it allowing Nathan to pick corners of the net if he has the time to do so. His creativity is bland, but I would rather have someone that makes the easier play and will just shoot the puck on net over causing turnover. Villeneuve will definitely be getting some more looks after his outstanding performance throughout the tournament and projects to be Philip Danault style 2nd line NHL centre with offensive upside.” – TK

#14, LW, Michael Misa, Canada Red, 5’11”, 160, L, DOB 02.16.2007

“It is clear that Misa is an incredibly gifted offensive talent. He has an undeniable determination for getting high quality scoring chances and making sweet plays on any opportunity he gets. His puck handling ability and control is at an elite level. Misa’s offensive zone awareness and vision is also at an elite level, he is able to find teammates through traffic and make plays that the defenders never see coming. He is incredibly confident with the puck on his stick, and he isn’t afraid to come back deep in his zone to relieve pressure and reset. Misa is a dangerous shooter from precisely anywhere in the offensive zone. He is able to fake a pass or a different play and quickly shoot it before the defense can get in the lane. He isn’t afraid to challenge multiple defenders at one time or carry the puck deep into the zone. There are some moves that he likely will not be able to pull off at the next level, but his ability to manipulate defenders at this level is outstanding. His offensive game will make an impact at the next level. Misa should be considered as a top draft pick for the 2025 Draft.” – JS