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2023 NHL Draft Scouting Report #38: Charlie Stramel

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Charlie Stramel Scouting Report

Charlie Stramel, born October 15th, 2004, from Rosemount, Minnesota, is a forward playing in the NCAA. The 6’3” and 216-pound freshman for the University of Wisconsin is one of a few true freshmen eligible for this draft. That’s a list that includes top prospects Gavin Brindley and Adam Fantilli. Before joining the University of Wisconsin, Stramel played for the US National Team Development Program. With the NTDP last season, he scored 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 26 games, including seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 16 USHL contests. This year, he produced five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 33 NCAA games. 

After a modest season in the NCAA, Stramel has been ranked in the first round by a couple notable sites and experts. However, he has also been ranked as late as the third round by others. Those rankings include him being placed 19th by The Hockey News, 21st by Bob McKenzie, 32nd by Daily Faceoff, 41st by Draft Prospects Hockey, 42nd by Smaht Scouting, 43rd by Recruit Scouting, 47th by Elite Prospects, 50th by Dobber Prospects, 61st by McKeen’s Hockey, 63rd by FCHockey, and 70th by Craig Button.         

Charlie Stramel Deep Dive

Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born October 15th, 2004 — Rosemount, Minnesota
Height 6’3″ — Weight 212 lbs [191 cm/96 kg]

The most notable rankings here are McKenzie’s and Button’s. McKenzie’s rankings largely reflect what teams think. Meanwhile, Button has been in the industry for many years and is well-respected by colleagues and executives. The fact that they are this far apart shows that there really is a massive range for Stramel to fall into. If he falls, what could make him a steal? What risks would teams have to weigh if they want to take him early?

Stramel’s Skating 

Stramel is a bigger prospect than most this season. Not just height-wise, but he’s also one of the heaviest prospects. That’s reflected in how hard it is for opponents to knock him off the puck while he’s skating with it. His balance and lower body strength are very evident when watching him play. The problem with Stramel’s skating, however, is similar to most prospects who are taller. His stride is awkward. 

It could be the fact he isn’t used to his growing body just yet. Which is the case for many younger guys with larger frames. As he gets older, this aspect could sort itself out. In the meantime, his edges and top speed definitely need work. He loses speed in his turns and can’t always stop on the puck quickly. He’s also noticeably slower than some guys. Although that can be attributed to poor acceleration, as it takes him several strides to hit his top speed. But, NHL skating coaches, getting used to his larger frame, and working on his stride mechanics will clean this all up. He may never be a great skater, but it’s unlikely it’ll be the weakness it appears to be today. 

Offensive Abilities

Offensively, Stramel will make his money with his smarts. That includes strong anticipation and knowing where to be in the offensive zone to be an option for teammates. Additionally, it’s his willingness to play at net-front, using his large frame to its fullest capabilities. With his off-puck play being strong, what can he do with the space he finds? He has a heavy shot. While he may not possess the most accurate shot just yet, that won’t be hard to develop. His shot is a weapon, even now, and will only keep getting better. 

The rest of his game, as mentioned, is based on smarts. He does not push the pace very well in a sense he doesn’t challenge defenders with passes to the slot. There are other times where he has looked off dangerous passes that could’ve been made. Instead, he goes for the safer and easier pass to retain possession. He does limit mistakes in that sense, and that can lead to extended offensive zone shifts. But, a more willing passing ability could add another element to his game. That, in turn, could free up more chances for his shot. 

Charlie Stramel’s Transitional Abilities

Due to Stramel’s general lack of risk-taking and slower pace, to go along with below average skating to this point, his transitional game isn’t great. While he can be efficient, not forcing passes and at the very least dumping the puck in to chase, it’s more due to the fact he wasn’t very involved. That is to be expected for a true freshman on a good team like Wisconsin. However, in the limited chances he did have to lead the rush, he didn’t do much with it. 

Moving forward, working on his skating and willingness to take more risks will go a long way to help his transitional game. Additionally, working on his stickhandling ability will allow him to take more advantage of his size, puck protection ability, and reach. 

Stramel’s Defensive Zone Play

When it comes to the defensive side of the game, Stramel brings solid value. For one, he plays physical, especially when containing the cycle or defending the rush. For example, when he is the first man in on the forecheck, he can make the opposition pay if they have their head down. Additionally, he does a very good job using his reach to cut off not just passing lanes, but also skating lanes, forcing them away from the middle. 

The biggest value Stramel brings to the defensive zone, however, may be his play reading ability. While he isn’t necessarily a game-changer in this aspect, he does an excellent job reading the eyes of the opposing puck carriers. He’s always clogging up lanes to high-danger areas. His ability to read where the puck carrier is thinking of taking the puck, and then discouraging them from taking that route or shutting it down if they do, is an excellent trait to have. It’s not taught. That said, if he can improve his skating, he could be a very, very good defensive forward. 

Charlie Stramel’s Potential

Stramel doesn’t exactly possess a ton of potential. He’s a power forward, who’s willing and able to play well in the dirty areas. He can extend offensive zone possessions by limiting turnovers, and can place himself in good spots for teammates. His shot is very good, and if he can continue to develop that further, he can be a solid goal-scorer at the NHL level. That being said, he projects more as a third line scoring forward. That, with the potential to play on both the power play and penalty kill, thanks to his 200-foot play and shooting ability. 

NHL Comparison 

Looking at stylistic comparisons, and not projecting his future value, Stramel reminds me of two different players: Chris Kreider and Jordan Greenway. Greenway is more physical and has a bit more flash to his game than Stramel does currently. But they are similar in the way they attack with a heavy shot and great spatial awareness. Greenway also brings good value to the defensive end. Using his size, physicality and reach to break up plays, which is similar to what Stramel does. 

As for Kreider, his willingness to get in front and score dirty goals has turned him into a star. Again, his ability to find space in the offensive zone to allow for him to take advantage of his shot is what allowed him to also be a star. While Stramel isn’t as complete in the offensive zone, his shot and ability to find space while being a net-front presence is very similar to that of Kreider. 



Raw stats via Elite Prospects

Main Photo: Mark Stewart / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK


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