Photo Credit: Stephen Gassman
Wyatt Kaiser is a defensive prospect, who played high school hockey in Minnesota for the majority of the season. Per EliteProspects, his grandfather, Blane Comstock had played collegiate hockey in Minnesota and his sister, Madison Kaiser is 15-year-old forward playing for the women’s hockey team at Andover.
Before suiting up for his high school varsity club, the Andover Huskies, Kaiser appeared in 11 games for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and recorded three assists.
Per Mick Hatten of The Rink Live in his article, Andover’s Wyatt Kaiser is a smooth-skating artist/defenseman, Kaiser informed the Fighting Saints that he would suit up for Andover once the season kicked off. In the same article, Kaiser shared with Hatten that he was adamant on getting his high school team to the state tournament.
While I do not often look at a prospect’s personality or morals in my reports, mainly because most of my work is done through video scouting and my interaction is limited with prospects, I do feel that given Kaiser’s loyalty to his high school team and his determination to get his team to the state tournament does bode well for his character.
After returning to Andover, Kaiser appeared in 25 regular season games and mustered up nine goals and 25 assists. He also played in six playoff games and recorded two goals and seven assists. In addition, Kaiser served as team captain for his varsity team, per Elite Prospects.
Next season, Kaiser will be playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth and will play alongside a few other 2020 NHL Draft prospects including Ben Steeves, Owen Gallatin and Connor Kelley.
D.O.B – July 31, 2002
Nationality – United States of America
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –170 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left
Kaiser’s Style Of Play
One of the first things that you notice about Kaiser is how smooth his skating is. While it is not on par with Erie Otters’ defenseman Jamie Drysdale, his stride is still quite smooth and his crosses and edges are both in great form. Given how strong his footwork is, he is quite strong at moving laterally along the blue-line. With his blue-line skating ability, you could potentially look at Kaiser as a possible power play quarterback down the road.
From a defensive perspective, there is plenty to like about Kaiser. His gap control is air tight and when the opposition is playing the puck up against the boards, it can be difficult for the attackers to find room to bypass Kaiser. Kaiser has strong physicality and he is not afraid to use it at each end of the ice. With Kaiser’s physicality and gap control, if you are rushing up the ice or playing the puck close to the boards, your chances of getting around him are slim. In addition, the Ham Lake, Minnesota native does excellent work poke-checking. Similar to USNTDP defenseman Jake Sanderson, Kaiser gives you limited room to breathe when he has his stick glued to you.
In addition to Kaiser’s skating and defensive play, his hands are worth noting about it. When Kaiser has the puck and ready to complete a pass, his hands allow him to make a quick soft pass. The young Minnesotan is fully capable of completing a long stretch pass, behind the back pass along the boards with traffic glued on him and a strong tape-to-tape feed in the offensive zone.
In the offensive zone, Kaiser loves to pinch and join the cycle. He is constantly moving up and down the half-wall to pinch or go back to the blue-line. While Kaiser enjoys running the cycle and getting more involved in the offensive zone, there are instances where he holds onto the puck for too long in the slot and loses an opportunity to capitalize.
The only area where Kaiser could benefit from some more development is his decision making. At times, Kaiser does an excellent job reading the situation and using his peripheral vision to pin-point open teammates. But, there are also times where Kaiser acts too quickly and passes without determining the best teammate or lane to pass to/through. With that being said, his decision making will occasionally lead to turnovers. But, when Kaiser is on the mark, he will make plays like this, which look subtle and yet are highly effective.
Bret Hedican, Left Handed Defenseman, Played for St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks
Trying to come up with a fair comparable for Kaiser was a challenge. While debating about it, Steven Ellis stumbled upon Mick Hatten’s article on The Rink Live and it mentioned a comparable in the post. Hatten spoke to Andover’s assistant coach Brett Barta and Barta explained that Bret Hedican was a comparable for Kaiser. After reading the Hedican comparable, I can not think of anyone better. With Hedican’s grit and determination to get involved in the offense (pinch/help the cycle), it seems like the perfect match.
stats from InStat Hockey and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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