The first round of the NHL entry draft is to take place on Thursday, July 7 in Montreal. At 8th overall, the Detroit Red Wings will be making their first-round selection. Based on talking to scouts, GMs and other hockey people, as well as studying the mock drafts of top NHL draft experts, Detroit Hockey Now is looking at players who could potentially be Detroit’s selection. Today, we look at USA Under-18 right wing Jimmy Snuggerud.
The first note you should know about Jimmy Snuggerud is that he boasts a shot that reminds some scouts of Auston Matthew’s rocket launch at the same age.
The second fact of interest is that his father Dave Snuggerud played 235 games in the NHL.
Another Snuggerud note to file away: Former NHL goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, a Vezina Trophy winner, believes Jimmy Snuggerud has the potential to be a premium scorer at the NHL level
“With his release, nose for the net, I think he’s going to be a 30-goal type,” Vanbiesbrouck said.
Jimmy Snuggerud has been following in the footsteps of both his dad, Dave, and grandfather James Westby, who both wore Team USA jerseys to represent their country on the world stage and skated for Univ. of Minnesota. #NHLDraft
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 30, 2022
This season Snuggerud (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) netted 24 goals and added 39 assists for 63 points in 59 games. He will play college hockey at Minnesota.
“I see a ton of up-side,” said Vanbiesbrouck who is USA Hockey’s National Teams Director. “(Snuggerud) really works hard and he’s in great shape. He’s overcome a lot of things that people said he is not good at.”
Why The Red Wings Might Select Snuggerud
Snuggerud has star potential. He’s big, strong and possesses a shot that gets on the goalie in a hurry.
“He’s a power forward with a lot of touch to his game,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “People talk about his lack of speed to his game, but he’s a strong skater.’
One of Snuggerud’s chief attribute is an ability to identify the weaknesses in the defensive coverage. He can find the pockets where coverage is lacking. That’s his superpower.
“Not to put him in the Brett Hull category, but Brett’s No. 1 thing was to find soft areas, and one touch the puck in the net,” Vanbiesbrouck said. “Jimmy finds those areas as well. It’s a subtle thing in his game that he does very well.
Caught this when touring the @GopherHockey locker room last week. Jimmy Snuggerud will wear 81 for the Gophers…the opposite of his father Dave (18).
His Grampa, Jim Westby, wore #2 and #4 while at the U. pic.twitter.com/hFS6lWDMtz
— YHH (@YouthHockeyHub) July 3, 2022
Why The Red Wings Won’t Take Snuggerud
The Red Wings may indeed like Snuggerud, but he may not be in their top 10. The Red Wings may have Nazar ranked ahead of him. Snuggerud is a dangerous scorer, but both Nazar and Jonathan Lekkerimaki can do more with the puck.
Although Snuggerud’s skating is improved, scouting reports still say it needs work. He probably needs to get more comfortable handling the puck especially when his team is moving it up the ice. He isn’t as impressive as other prospects when carrying the puck.
If he can improve in that area, he would become more unpredictable. That would make him more dangerous. He will have time to work on that at Minnesota.