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 Hunter Haight Scouting Report.
Drafted by the Barrie Colts with the ninth overall pick in the 2020 OHL Draft, centre Hunter Haight didn’t quite reach what was expected of him in his draft season. Haight scored 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points in 63 regular-season games. He was even better in the playoffs with one goal and four assists for five points in six games. Unfortunately, it was not enough, as the Colts fell to the Mississauga Steelheads in six games. Haight played for Team Red at the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Like most OHL players, Haight missed the entire 2020-21 season due to the COVID Pandemic. He came up playing minor hockey for the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs. In 2019-20 Haight scored 32 goals and 26 assists for 58 points in 33 games in the Alliance U16 league. He also added 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points in 16 playoff games. Haight led the league in goals. He also helped the Chiefs to the league championship. Haight also played four games for the London Nationals in the GOJHL. He picked up one goal and one assist for two points.
Hunter Haight Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Right
Born April 4th, 2004 — Strathroy, Ontario
Height 5’10.5″ — Weight 174 lbs [180 cm/78 kg]
Haight is a very good skater. He gets good bend in his hips and knees as well as a long powerful stride. This gives him very good acceleration and good top-end speed. If he can add a little more strength in his legs, that top-end speed can get even better, allowing him to create more scoring chances off the rush. His edge work and agility are also very good. Haight can make quick cuts to get by a defender. His lateral movement is also very good, allowing Haight to weave through traffic, both with and without the puck. He can create issues for defenders by going wide and cutting back to the net. Haight has decent balance and strength on his skates. He can win his battles at the junior level. However, he will need to mature and add strength in order to succeed at the pro level.
Haight marries his skating with good stickhandling. He can make plays while moving at top speed. This allows him to carry the puck through the neutral zone and create effective zone entries. He also has good vision and passing skills. Haight can set up teammates on the rush. He also can control the puck in the offensive zone and create a passing lane with a quick lateral movement and good dangle. His poise on the puck allows Haight to control the play and speed it up or slow it down. He maintains possession on the half wall while waiting for his teammates to get open. He reads the play well, anticipating when that will happen and hitting his teammate with a good pass.
Haight can also be a goal scorer. He has a good arsenal of shots. His wrist shot is strong and accurate. It also features a quick-release that can foot goaltenders. His one-timer and snapshot are effective as well. Haight is not afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. He will take the puck to the net and can score in tight with his quick hands, deking goalies, pouncing on rebounds, deflecting a teammate’s shot, or one-timing a pass in tight. He is also willing to work on the boards and on the forecheck.
Haight has all the skills to be a high draft pick. The issue is that he does not always show them. There have been periods of inconsistency, both in his game and his production this season. Some, but not all, of that is due to puck luck. There were times Haight was creating chances and the puck just wasn’t going in. However, there were also times when his effort level and decision-making in the offensive zone could be improved.
Haight works hard in all three zones. He does a good job of keeping his feet moving and playing a 200-foot game. In the offensive zone, he is often the high man, allowing him to get back and support the defence against the rush. He also supports the defence against the cycle game. He will fight along the boards and try to clear the front of the net. However, Haight’s size can sometimes be a liability. He is overpowered by bigger and stronger opponents. He is good positionally, cutting down passing and shooting lanes. Haight can play on the penalty kill as well. His faceoff skills can be improved to play centre at the next level.
Projection and Comparison
One of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, Hunter Haight has all the traits needed to grow into a top-six centre in the NHL. However, he has to learn how to use those traits on a consistent basis. He is a real boom or bust type of prospect. The team that drafts him will need an effective development plan to get the most out of Haight. Haight will also need to gain weight, adding muscle to his frame. This will make him more effective along the boards and in front of the net. It must be remembered that Haight missed a full year of junior hockey. He will need to spend two more years in the OHL and then take some time at the AHL level. Haight’s game is reminiscent of Vincent Trocheck. 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 Hunter Haight that are available on youtube and Twitter.
2022 #NHLDraft Spotlight ✨@OHLBarrieColts centreman Hunter Haight plays an honest two-way game, inspired by another Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs alumnus and #OHL graduate in Travis Konecny.#MeetTheFuture | @KubotaCanadaLtd pic.twitter.com/Jn2QdsGnvw
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) June 26, 2022
This is Hunter Haight in his first career OHL game.
Look how sturdy and smooth that skating stride is. Haight is a very dynamic centre who I have no doubt will be a first-rounder this year. He's already a fantastic player for Barrie.#2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/YjVOiTwitu
— Ben Misfeldt (@BBMHockey) October 12, 2021
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) April 1, 2019
Hunter Haight (@OHLBarrieColts) has gained a lot of confidence recently, with 9 points (6G,3A) in his last 6 games including this highlight goal
— Dylan Krill (@dylan_krill) March 3, 2022
— RtvNationals (@RtvNationals) October 30, 2019
— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) October 18, 2021
— Dylan Krill (@dylan_krill) March 6, 2022
A Haight beauty! 🤩
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 3, 2022
Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.
Hunter Haight Scouting Report Main Photo:
— Lauren Kelly (@laurkelly24) June 23, 2022