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 2022 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 bring you our Ryan Chesley Scouting Report.
Ryan Chesley was one of the top defencemen for the United States National Team Development program this year. He played big minutes and was used in all situations, especially in their biggest games. Chesley scored 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points in 59 games played. He was even better at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Chesley was an alternate captain for Team USA. He scored two goals and five points in six tournament games. He also led all players in the tournament with a +13 plus/minus rating. Chesley helped the American team win a silver medal.
In 2019-20, Chesley played for the NTDP Under-17 team. He put up 11 goals and 34 points in 37 games. He also earned a callup to the U-18s where he had limited ice time. Chesley had a goal and two points in 12 games. At the Under-18s he scored one goal in five tournament games. Chesley also won a Silver medal at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. He scored one goal and three points in four games.
Chesley is another product of the famous Shattuck St. Mary’s program. Next year, he is committed to playing for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Ryan Chesley Scouting Report
Right Defence — shoots Right
Born February 27th, 2004 — Mahtomedi, Minnesota
Height 6’0″ — Weight 195 lbs [183 cm/88 kg]
Chesley’s skating is a bit hit and miss. His stride is short and choppy. As a result, his top-end speed in both directions is merely average. With that choppy stride, his acceleration is also average. This can give him some issues when facing particularly quick attackers who can take him to the outside and drive past him. He also isn’t able to recover when he tries to push the offence. Chesley has good pivots though. This allows him to transition quickly between offence and defence. He also has good lateral mobility and edgework. He is able to keep himself between attackers and the front of the net. Chesley is also able to walk the line to create passing and shooting lanes. His balance and lower body strength are very good. Chesley wins tons battles on the boards and in front of the net.
Chesley is able to make an impact on the power play. His slapshot shows good power. However, he needs to be a bit better with his accuracy. Chesley can often miss the net, or hit the defender who is putting his body in the way for a shot block. He is more effective when he sneaks down from the point and lets go of a wrist shot at the top of the circles. Chesley gets good power on his wrist shot. He is also able to avoid defenders due to the quicker release of the shot. Chesley also does a good job of controlling the puck inside the line and making lateral movement to open his shooting and passing lanes. He is a good passer. This is shown in his ability to set up scoring chances from the point as well as start the breakout from his own end.
Chesley struggles when he needs to carry the puck over long distances. He is not one to effectively lead the rush through the neutral zone and generate efficient zone entries. His lack of straight-line speed and inability to separate from a defender even if he gets around them leads to him skating into trouble. Chesley is more effective when he keeps the puck moving with a smart pass in the transition game.
Chesley plays an aggressive and physical defensive game. He forces attackers to the outside and can lay a big hit when they cut that way. He also does a good job of winning battles on the boards and in front of the net. Chesley’s defensive game is helped by his solid positioning. He does a good job of using his active stick to cut down passing lanes. Chesley is also willing to put his body on the line to block shots. He shows high effort in his own zone.
One issue that Chesley has is retrieving loose pucks. He may need to be paired with a quicker defenceman (which is something we see with the NTDP) in order to retrieve dump-ins and get them out of the zone quickly. When he gets the puck on his stick, Chesley is quick to make a good first pass and start the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Chesley could become a top-four defender capable of playing in all situations if he continues to develop. He will need some time with a good skating coach to lengthen his stride and improve his speed and acceleration. Expect him to spend a year or two in the NCAA and then spend some time in the AHL. The NCAA schedule should benefit his development as it is a little lighter than other leagues. This means that most games are on weekends and Chesley can work on skill development during the week. Chesley’s game is reminiscent of Jake Muzzin. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ryan Chesley that are available on youtube and Twitter.
— Steven Ellis (@SEllisHockey) April 23, 2022
ARE YOU KIDDING ME RYAN CHESLEY! 🚨
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) March 13, 2022
Working on a Ryan Chesley scouting report that should be out tomorrow.
This is a nifty zone exit from Chesley that he executed last night in Green Bay. When approaching the attacker, he does a backhand pass fake in order to get him slightly more separation. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/HNeBuUEOeV
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) April 3, 2022
Love this play from Ryan Chesley. Rather than retreating and regrouping like we typically see defensemen do in this situation, he's thinking attack right away. Great instincts combined with quick feet and slick hands to beat the last defender for a scoring chance.#2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/AH2blXGKAU
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) September 22, 2021
Cruz Lucius opens the scoring for the U17s in last night's 5-4 shootout win.
Just a gorgeous feed from Ryan Chesley and a pretty finish from the Golden Gopher commit. Give the secondary 🍏 to Cornell commit Ben Robertson, his 1st point with the #NTDP's. #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/6AcUAwZg7A
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) January 24, 2021
Love the activation off the blueline on this slapper goal from Ryan Chesley pic.twitter.com/48lp9dV48w
— draft guy (@DraftLook) August 29, 2021
Some more sloppy play from Muskegon results in an all U17s goal for Team USA.
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) January 18, 2021
Please refrain from touching Ryan Chesley as the man is ON FIRE 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) March 12, 2022
Draft stuff: Shattuck product and 2022 draft eligible Ryan Chesley gets the U.S. on the board early versus Russia. pic.twitter.com/kqJh6VoNOb
— Kris Baker (@SabresProspects) April 27, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our latest 2022 NHL Draft Article.
Ryan Chesley Scouting Report Main Photo:
Just published my scouting report on Ryan Chesley (RHD, USNTDP). The Minnesota Golden Gopher commit offers a strong two-way game with good gap control and uses his frame to eliminate space nicely.
— Josh Tessler 🇺🇦 (@JoshTessler_) April 6, 2022