Photo Credit: Rena Laverty
Scouting Report written by Paul Zuk
Next on the long list of talented, offensive-minded forwards for the NTDP is Jimmy Snuggerud. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because his father Dave played parts of 4 seasons in the NHL for the Sabres, Sharks and Flyers. The younger Snuggerud, however, is poised for a much longer and more successful career and can be found in a WIDE range of rankings, anywhere from 8th overall to the middle of the second round.
Jimmy Snuggerud was born in Chaska, MN, and grew up playing his minor hockey in and around the Chaska area, even playing for Chaska High School in the prestigious Minnesota High School League. He enjoyed a fruitful sophomore season, one in which he racked up 34 points in 23 games, while adding an additional seven points in three playoff games. His strong season caught the attention of the USNTDP, and shortly after Snuggerud made the switch to the U17 team to begin the 2020/21 season.
Snuggerud’s U17 season in 20/21 was somewhat of a feeling out process, as he was adjusting to NCAA/USHL competition. He finished the campaign with 46 points in 74 games across all competitions, building a solid foundation heading into his draft year suiting up with the U18’s.
The 2021/22 campaign was really a breakout season for Snuggerud. He finished this past season tallying 89 points in 85 games across all competitions and shined like a diamond in the offensive zone. One of the main reasons for his high offensive production is his shot. It’s incredibly lethal, and he put it on full display in the BioSteel All-American Game, rifling home a laser beam into the top corner to secure Team Blue’s first goal of the game.
In the clip above from the All-American game, Team Blue is breaking out of their zone, and as Cutter Gauthier carries the puck through the neutral zone, Snuggerud is playing the trailing forward on the right side. Once Team blue crosses the blueline, Snuggerud drops back a step or two to give himself some time and space, while Gauthier feeds him the puck. Snuggerud then positions himself in the middle lane, uses the defender as a screen, and rips the puck home, freezing the goaltender in the process. Just a beautiful goal.
Like his grandfather and father before him, Snuggerud is headed to the University of Minnesota for the 22/23 season, alongside his NTDP teammates Logan Cooley and Ryan Chesley. Golden Gophers Head Coach Bob Motzko will be thrilled to be adding such elite talent to his squad for the upcoming season and will be counting on players like Snuggerud to carry the offensive load, with talented forwards Chaz Lucius departing and Matthew Knies’ future uncertain at this point.
D.O.B – June 1, 2004
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –185 lbs
Position – Center/Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Snuggerud’s Style of Play
During his time with the NTDP, Snuggerud’s game has truly developed from being a little one-dimensional into a complete, 200-foot effort every night. His time in Plymouth, Michigan has done wonders not only for his overall play, but for the more in-depth traits, such as his skating. He can really dominate and be a thorn in the side of defenders in the offensive zone, his transitional game is fun to watch, and he can be counted upon in the defensive zone to ensure the puck is kept out of the danger areas.
Snuggerud’s also not afraid to utilize his size all over the ice, especially when defending in his own zone, and while on the forecheck. He has no problem being physical when on the forecheck, making opponents uncomfortable with the puck on their stick. When you look at players like Frank Nazar and Logan Cooley, they’re incredibly dynamic playmakers. Snuggerud isn’t necessarily the best playmaker, but he certainly makes up for it with his work ethic and other talents.
Let’s take a deeper look at the facets of Jimmy Snuggerud’s game:
One of the bigger knocks on Jimmy Snuggerud’s game, his skating ability has some work needed if he’s going to succeed at the next level in the NCAA/NHL. Granted, he’s put a lot of time and effort into it while playing with the NTDP, and it’s shown. He seems to have fine tuned some of his skating mechanics, like his first few steps and his crossovers.
His improvement on these has led to more overall speed and agility, making his ability to change directions and keep up with the pace of play a joy to watch. These skills have aided his ability to play a solid transitional game, as he’s able to gain speed quicker when weaving through the neutral zone and around defenders into the attacking third of the ice.
To generally touch on his skating, he’s quick and agile enough to elude defenders both in the offensive zone as well as in transition. His skating mechanics seem to be on par with the rest of his game, and he’ll only improve on that as he faces older, stronger competition at the University of Minnesota in the seasons to come.
Without a doubt, the offensive zone is where Jimmy Snuggerud will earn his paychecks once he finds himself in the NHL. There’s just so many aspects to his game in the attacking third of the ice which make him incredibly difficult to silence.
Snuggerud is extremely dangerous from the blueline in and isn’t afraid to use his shot to punish goaltenders. He has a unique ability to vary his shot release, as he can make it as quick or delayed as he wants, making him unpredictable and very hard to stop. Also, his one-timer can be released from just about anywhere with a high success rate.
The clip above shows just how lethal Snuggerud’s shot can be, as he’s able to complete the tic-tac-toe passing sequence with a beautiful wrist shot short side.
Snuggerud’s quick hands also make him quite difficult to contain. When carrying the puck in transition, he can use his new-found speed to power through the neutral zone, make a quick deke or head fake, and stickhandle his way around multiple people. Once he’s entered the offensive zone, his options become more plentiful. Snuggerud can either stop and wait for teammates to get set up, or charge towards the net hoping to either score or generate a dangerous rebound in tight.
As mentioned above, Snuggerud may not possess the same level of playmaking skills as some of his teammates, but that isn’t to say he can’t make elite level plays from time to time. He’s able to generate a large amount of offense from below the goal line and enjoys passing back up ice to his teammates for chances on net, something that usually ends up working out for the NTDP.
When on the ice for the man advantage, Snuggerud likes to hover around the middle of the left circle, trying to find time and space for his teammates to get him the puck. Alternatively, when in possession of the puck in the left circle, Snuggerud does have a high level of vision and offensive awareness to seek out teammates with some impressive seam passes.
Aside from developing the offensive and transitional aspects of his game, Snuggerud has also spent the past couple of seasons crafting his two-way game, something the NTDP prides themselves on, and for good reason. Snuggerud’s neutral zone play, and defensive zone abilities have drastically improved over the past 24 months, and he’s been trusted by Coach Adam Nightingale to effectively use his ice time regardless of where he’s deployed out there.
In the clip above, Snuggerud is defending the point when the puck is shuffled back to the defenseman. He quickly works his way towards the defenseman, forcing him into moving the puck quicker than expected. It results in a poorly placed wrist shot, which is blocked by Snuggerud. He then shows off his improved stride, legging out the other defender, and rifling the puck home to get the U18’s back level in the game.
Snuggerud currently sits at 6’2, 185 lbs, and he knows how to use every inch and pound of his body to his advantage when battling for the puck. He can effectively pinch off attackers along the boards and in open ice to recover the puck, simply by using his frame to box them out from the puck. However, when he regains possession of the puck, his decision making could use some work. Snuggerud tends to carry the puck a little too long at times or puts the puck in dangerous situations where there was a much safer alternative.
Compared to his season spent with the U17’s, Snuggerud is seeing almost a third more of ice time on the penalty kill, and it’s certainly earned. He tends to play the high forward role on the PK and loves to pressure the puck carrier to force them into turning the puck over or making a poor pass. When the U18’s are hemmed in their zone for an extended period of time, Snuggerud also loves to help his defenders with puck battles along the boards, in an attempt to clear the puck. More times than not, he’s able to retrieve the puck, and either get it up and out for a change or hit a teammate with a breakout pass.
Jimmy Snuggerud has endured quite a solid and successful two-year stint with the NTDP, and as he enters his first draft-eligible season, there are a couple of areas to his overall game he may look to improve as he heads off to the University of Minnesota next season.
As mentioned above, Snuggerud has made some impressive strides in working on his skating ability. In the upcoming season at Minnesota, it will be intriguing to see just how much work he has done, as he faces much tougher, older, and physically stronger competition.
Lastly, Snuggerud may just look to improve on his overall playmaking skills. He is quite capable of making plays from below the goal line, either while cycling the puck to a teammate or hitting a teammate in close with a seam pass. However, if he’s looking to continue his abilities at the next level to make himself even harder for opponents to stop, he may look to improve on his playmaking skills from the attacking blueline in.
At times, Snuggerud has the time and space to deliver a crisp pass to a teammate but may hesitate and miss his chance. While he does have the skill and the shot to make up for the missed opportunity, he may look to be a little more assertive in his playmaking decisions.
While many still believe that Jimmy Snuggerud will be a mid-late first round selection at the 2022 NHL Draft, he offers the sort of laser-beam shot and offensive skillset that teams tend to select quite high. His improvement on his 200ft game over the past couple of seasons has surely caught the eye of several NHL front offices. Perhaps a team with multiple selections in the first round (Columbus, Buffalo, Montreal) will look to take a shot with him, knowing they’ve secured their top pick already, and are looking for a prospect with a high ceiling they can have develop even further in the NCAA.
With much uncertainty surrounding a lot of prospects in the 2022 Class, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see a team take a swing on Snuggerud a little higher than most have him going. When the 2022 NHL Draft rolls around on July 7th and 8th in Montreal, look for Jimmy Snuggerud to come off the board somewhere between picks #15 and #32.
July 2, 2022
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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