2020 NHL Draft Preview: Braden Schneider, WHL Defense


Previously, we extensively reviewed options of who would be getting the Kings interest early in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The draft is not just one round deep, however, so it is time to look at who Los Angeles could be taking beyond their first pick.

As MayorsManor editor John Hoven suggested on twitter, the Kings will most likely be drafting a defenseman.

Consequently, we’ll present a few possibilities of who may be available and on the radar of GM Rob Blake and Head Scout Mark Yannetti, with this article focusing on a right-handed blueliner from the Western Hockey League.

BRADEN SCHNEIDER

Vitals

Date of Birth: September 20, 2001
Height: 6’2
Weight: 209 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Defense

2019-20 Season

Schneider played most of the 2019-20 season for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. He scored 42 points (7 G, 35 A) in 60 contests.

Leading Workhorse

The subtle aspects of what makes Schneider so appealing is how much was thrust upon him this season. His birth date put him just six days shy of being in the 2019 draft, so he is older compared to most of the first-year-eligible draft class. Still, he already wore an ‘A’ on his jersey and played in all situations (penalty kill, powerplay, even strength). His coaches trusted him, and the number of minutes he ate up compared to former Kings second-round pick, Roland McKeown.

Limited Spotlight

Many of the prospects we featured so far has had quite a bit of International experience. The native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan had limited opportunities against the best around the world. His most recent appearance was at the CIBC Canada/Russia series, where he was held without a point in both matchups. He has not been on the final roster for Team Canada’s U-20 roster, and next season will be his last opportunity, given his date of birth. Most notably, he scored three points (2 G, 1 A) in seven games in the 2019 U-18 WJC. His defense partner was none other than Kings’ prospect and MayorsManor’s honorable mention Jordan Spence.

In the 2017-18 season, Schneider was also teammates with recent Los Angeles prospect graduate Kale Clague.

Harvesting the Wheat Kings

The Brandon Wheat Kings have a long and illustrious history, as they have been in the WHL since 1978. As a result, there is an extensive list of NHL caliber players they have developed. Some such names include: Dustin Byfuglien, Eric Fehr, Micheal Ferland, Ray Ferraro, Ron Hextall, Chris Osgood, Nolan Patrick, Ivan Provorov, Ryan Pulock, John Quenneville, Wade Redden, Brayden Schenn, Dave Semenko, Mark Stone, Jordin Tootoo, Oleg Tverdovsky, and many more.

Rankings by Independent Scouting Services

The Draft Analyst, 35th. “A promising blueliner like Schneider knows exactly when to switch between defense and offense, and skate up ice with confidence. He uses his sturdy frame, quick thinking and long reach to his advantage, and he is a major problem solver for his coach in situations like the penalty kill, where Schneider can be an unforgiving adversary to challenge for net-front superiority. He also times his releases from the low slot in conjunction with his partner’s positioning. All these aspects make it understandable why Schneider is viewed as a legitimate first-round candidate, but infrequent game-breaking instances places him outside the top tier of first-year eligible defenders.”

Future Considerations, 21st. They categorize him as a defensive defenseman who has good skating ability but lacks high end elusiveness.

Hockey Prospect, 11th. In their Black Book, they felt his awareness both on and off the puck separated him from the rest of the defensive class. Like the other independent scouting services, they don’t see him as having a high-end set of skills, yet they see him as one of the most NHL ready blueliners.

See For Yourself

Below is a small highlight reel of some of Schneider’s plays this year.

Final Comments
High-end skill has been a key focus in Los Angeles. They realize they will be getting such a player with the second overall pick. The remarks on Schneider’s do not put him in that category, yet there is no denying he’s still a talented player. It simply does not get attention as much as it does for others.

What a team will get from Schneider is a capable, reliable defenseman who can play in all situations and handle it in a cerebral level. He has been wearing a letter on his jersey since 2018-19, and he ate minutes with great responsibility last year.

Schneider showed a fundamental understanding and sense of the game that coaches can’t teach. While his skillset didn’t wow the independent scouting services, he played in a position and role which did not demand more.

Should he be available in the second round and the Kings choose to take him, they will acquire a non-flashy but steady presence on the blueline who would be a low-maintenance prospect.

NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.

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Comments

  1. Schneider will never be available at our next pick after Byfield, #35.

    We’d have to trade up somehow, with picks/prospects, whatever.

    Schneider’s stock has soared, and he won’t last beyond #20 or so,
    if that long.

    If he somehow lasts into the 20s, could we trade a couple 2nd-rounders
    for, say the 21st to 25th pick?
    Possible, but iffy.

    We may be better off praying to the hockey gods that either
    William Wallender or Joni Jurmo are still available at our #35 pick.

    That may be the best we can do.
    But that would work for me.

  2. Hey John, what’s your take on Jake Neighbors? Said he models his game after Tkachuck. Would be nice to get another power forward in our top 9.