Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Ozzy Wiesblatt.
A second-round pick, 25th overall, by the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, forward Ozzy Wiesblatt had an excellent season. He scored 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points in 64 games. Wiesblatt was especially dangerous on the power play with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points with the man advantage. In the summer he played for Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He played a bottom-line role and picked up one assist in five games, winning a silver medal. Wiesblatt also appeared in the CHL Top Prospects Game, playing for Team Red.
Last season Wiesblatt was part of the Raiders team that won the WHL Championship. He scored 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points in 64 games. Wiesblatt also added five goals and five assists for 10 points in 23 playoff games. He also scored one assist in three Memorial Cup games. Wiesblatt was an alternate captain for Team Canada Black at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. He put up one goal and two assists for three points in five tournament games.
Ozzy Wiesblatt Scouting Report
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born March 9th, 2002 — Calgary, Alberta
Height 5’10” — Weight 183 lbs [178 cm/83 kg]
Wiesblatt is an outstanding skater. He has an explosive first step and excellent acceleration. His top-end speed is extremely fast. Wiesblatt’s ability to change speeds can be used to give defenders issues on the rush. He also has very good agility and edgework. His quick cuts and changes in direction can cause issues for defenders. Wiesblatt has a strong lower body and low centre of gravity. His strong stride allows him to fight through checks and get to the dirty areas of the ice. He is also good along the boards despite his lack of size. Wiesblatt will need to get stronger to continue to play this type of game at the pro level. He should be able to add additional muscle as he matures.
Wiesblatt is very effective in generating scoring opportunities and maintaining puck possession. He combines his skating ability with excellent puck handling skills. Wiesblatt can make plays on the rush, setting up teammates, driving the net with and without the puck and using defenders as a screen to shoot on the net. He also does a really good job of controlling the puck in the cycle game. He moves the puck to a teammate and then gets himself open for the return pass. Wiesblatt can control the puck, slowing down the play or speeding up to give his teammates a chance to get open. When they do, he can make a pass through a tight area to create a scoring chance.
Wiesblatt can also play the role of a goal scorer. He loves to shoot the puck and can get it on the net with an accurate wrist shot or snapshot. He will even take backhands. Wiesblatt has a good release on his shots. He could stand to add more power on his shot though. This could come with increased upper body strength. Wiesblatt is more effective on the boards and in the front of the net than one would expect given his lack of size. He pressures defenders on the forecheck and forces them to make mistakes. When that happens, he can create a scoring chance.
Wiesblatt works hard in his own zone as well. He is a smart player who takes good routes to the puck and stays in his position. He supports the defence with effective backpressure against the rush and by supporting against the cycle game. Wiesblatt is also good at reading the play. He anticipates well, getting himself in position to intercept passes and transition into the offence. His active stick knocks the puck away from opponents as well. Wiesblatt’s size can be an issue facing particularly big and strong opponents though. When he’s been used at centre he’s been successful in the faceoff circle.
Projection and Comparison
Wiesblatt has played both centre and wing this season but has seemed more comfortable on the wing. His ability to play the game at a high pace is a major asset. Wiesblatt will need to get stronger if he wants to play in the middle at the pro level. He has the potential to be a second or third-line player, capable of playing key minutes in any situation if he continues to develop. Expect to see him back in the WHL for a couple more years. Wiesblatt’s game is comparable to Kasperi Kapanen, however, this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ozzy Wiesblatt that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Ozzy Wiesblatt Main Photo:
EVERETT, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 19: Ozzy Wiesblatt #19 of the Prince Albert Raiders celebrates scoring a goal in the closing seconds of the third period to tie the game against the Everett Silvertips at Angel of the Winds Arena on October 19, 2019, in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)