Photo Credit – Rena Laverty
Aidan Hreschuk, a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, is a 17-year old defenseman currently playing for the United States National U-18 team. Hreschuk was born in Long Beach, California, and grew up playing in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings AAA program, dating back to the 10U ranks.
Through his minor hockey career, Hreschuk was more than a point-per-game player, recording his best AAA season in 2017-18, in which he tallied 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 49 games. He completed his first season with the USNTDP in 2019-20, scoring four times and registering 20 assists in 49 games. In addition, Hreschuk managed another two goals and nine assists for eleven points in 29 games played in USNTDP USHL play.
So far this season, Hreschuk has totaled zero goals and six assists for six points in nine games for the U18 program. While the U18 program has had some games cancelled as of late, most likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they are still slated to continue USHL play on November 27th, versus the Green Bay Gamblers.
For the 2021-22 season, Hreschuk is committed to Boston College, where he’ll play under the tutelage of Head Coach Jerry York. There should be plenty of opportunities to hone his skills alongside future teammates such as Matthew Boldy (2020 1st Round – Minnesota), Alex Newhook (2019 1st Round – Colorado) and Spencer Knight (2019 1st Round – Florida).
D.O.B – February 19, 2003
Nationality – United States of America
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –181 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left
Hreschuk’s Style Of Play
The first thing many scouts would mention about Hreschuk is the fact he can be a weapon offensively. His skating ability and smooth, long strides are quite the sight to see, but we’ll dive into that later in this report. Hreschuk isn’t afraid to jump up into the rush and generate numerous scoring chances, nor is he shy at pinching down towards the half-wall and getting a puck on net. While he may not get the love from NHL Central Scouting as his teammates Luke Hughes or Sean Behrens, (Hreschuk was given a C-rated prospect, usually meaning a fourth, fifth, or sixth round selection) it’s only a matter of time before Hreschuk starts popping up on their radar.
In watching footage of Hreshuk from last season, one thing that stood out was his impressive skating. He has a beautiful skating stride, and is capable of exiting the defensive zone and entering the neutral zone with only a couple of strides. It’s a promising sign for a prospect who’s size is something that could potentially scare a few teams in the draft. Hreschuk’s speed is another portion of his game that sort of shocked me. He was able to jump into the rush and create a scoring chance, and just as quickly back check and be in position for the opposing team’s counter attack. Hreschuk demonstrates a good crossover technique, keeping a low centre of gravity, as well as a good ability to pivot whilst pinching into the corners and behind the net in the offensive zone.Teams will fawn over his ability to play a 200 foot game, as well as he has so far in his career at the USNTDP.
If there’s one aspect of Hreschuk’s game that floors me, it has to be his offensive abilities. There aren’t too many times where he wasn’t able to wheel around the offensive zone at will and either set up a teammate with a dangerous scoring opportunity or release his wrist shot, which is quite impressive. He isn’t shy when it comes to pinching down from the point to keep the play in the offensive zone, or jumping into the rush heading down the ice. Hreschuk isn’t afraid to shoot from just about anywhere in the offensive zone either. He seems to be well versed in taking any and every opportunity presented to generate a scoring chance. His off the charts creativity should definitely turn a few scouts’ heads.
As talented and well rounded as his offensive abilities are, Hreschuk is still very adequate when it comes to his play in the defensive zone. In the film I’ve studied on his game, his transition game seems to be a strong point. He finds little difficulty in making the proper decisions while exiting his zone. Hreschuk can flow freely from behind his own net through the neutral zone with few issues. Very rarely will he make a poorly executed breakout/outlet pass. He is a very well equipped penalty killer, having served on the top PK unit for the U18’s. Hreschuk’s ability to shut down odd man rushes and block shots is comparable with the other top defensive prospects that are 2021 NHL Draft eligible.
While Hreschuk seems to have a fairly rounded game from the games I’ve tracked, there are places of his game which could use some fine tuning. For example, he may look to tone down the amount of times he chooses to engage in a more offensive role. While some teams/scouts will view his offensive upside as a positive, some teams/scouts may be worried he’s mainly focused on contributing up front, as opposed to playing a more defensive-minded game. In addition to that, he may need to focus on gaining some size in the offseason ahead. While he obviously can’t control his height, he can look to add a few pounds of muscle onto his frame, as he’ll be needing it going against older players in the NCAA next season.
In conclusion, Aidan Hreschuk looks like a promising prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He’s an offensive-minded defenceman with a beautiful skating stride and a deadly wrist shot. Based off the coverage I’ve seen of the player, I project he’ll be selected somewhere between 15th-35th overall.
Torey Krug – Left Handed Defenseman, St. Louis Blues
In watching a decent sample size of his games the past couple of seasons, Hreschuk reminds me of a Torey Krug style of defenseman. Both players have similar offensive ability and possess excellent positioning and puck-moving ability. Krug and Hreschuk also share a likeness when it comes to size, as both are on the smaller scale when it comes to defenseman.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.
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