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2023 NHL Draft Scouting Report #39: Beau Akey

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson 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”! Today we bring you our Beau Akey Scouting Report.

Beau Akey Scouting Report

Beau Akey, born February 11th, 2005, from Waterloo, Ontario, is a defender playing in the OHL. The Barrie Colts young right-shot defender stands at 6’0” and 170 pounds. Akey has played two seasons with the Colts. After being drafted 19th overall in the OHL priority selection draft, he went on to score five goals and 11 assists for 16 points in 61 games. This season, with a bigger role and experience in his back pocket, he produced 11 goals and 36 assists for 47 points in 66 games. A big step forward for the defenseman. 

With the improved production, Akey has seen some rankings land just outside the first. Those rankings are 32nd by Elite Prospects, 33rd by Daily Faceoff, 34th by Smaht Scouting, 38th by FCHockey, 47th by Draft Prospects Hockey, 48th by McKeen’s Hockey, 52nd by Recruit Scouting, 55th by Bob McKenzie, and 94th by Craig Button. 

Beau Akey Deep Dive

Right Defence — shoots Right
Born February 11th, 2005 — Waterloo, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 173 lbs [183 cm/78 kg]

Akey being ranked outside of the top-50 by McKenzie and Button, especially Button having him outside the top-90, spells a draft that has him land somewhere in the late second. But there’s a reason why every other notable site listed above all has him ranked, in some cases, substantially higher than both, including here at Last Word. Is he the next draft steal?

Beau Akey’s Skating 

Akey may be one of the best skaters in the draft class. He possesses excellent edges and agility, allowing him to have strong four-way mobility. His stride is also smooth, and looks effortless at times. It perfectly displays how natural of a skater he is. There’s very little not to love about his skating. 

When it comes to his straight line speed and backwards skating, he can keep up with just about anyone. That includes skating backwards. He has a fantastic ability to skate backwards just as fast as many players skating forwards. Adding more strength and continuing to grow and bulk up will only add to his skating. Being harder to knock off the puck or off-balance, plus adding more explosiveness in his acceleration (which isn’t necessary) would make him a truly elite skater. 

Offensive Abilities

Akey is an offensively inclined defender. However, he isn’t a guy who will force plays either. There are many situations where he could have stepped up and made a risky play, but elected instead to take the play that was in front of him. That’s not to say he looks off those passes, but it isn’t his style. He keeps things simple both with and without the puck. However, when he looks to push the pace, he can be dangerously efficient as a playmaker. 

Additionally, he has a surprisingly strong shot. He generates a lot with that shot as well, for himself. While he isn’t the most aggressive in terms of attacking with the puck, he loves stepping up into space for a pass, in order to take advantage of his shot. While his shot in itself doesn’t stand out, he’s generated a ton of expected goals, according to Mitch Brown’s tracking and player card. If Akey activated more from the point, whether that means shooting more or taking more risks with passes to the slot, he could’ve upped his production. Here’s a look at that aforementioned player card: 


Beau Akey’s Transitional Abilities

While most sites make mention of Akey being a very efficient transitional player, that isn’t entirely the case. What with his skating and awareness, not making many mistakes or risks, one would expect high-end transitional results. But, deferring to the above player card, Akey wasn’t very involved, relative to other top prospects. When he was involved, he wasn’t super efficient. 

Now, those analytics are a bit misleading, to a degree. Specifically, his efficiency is better than what he’s given credit for. Similar to his offensive game, Akey can hold back a bit. While that isn’t a weakness, he leaves a bit on the table as well. However, away from the puck, he has no problems joining the rush and creating chances off the rush. But again, he can hold back, trying to maintain a responsible defensive game. 

Akey’s Defensive Zone Play

Similar to his transitional game, some sites claim he needs a lot of work in this area. While that isn’t wrong by any means, he does not get enough credit in this area either. Again, looking at the above player card, he grades out extremely well. That is also misleading to a degree. But, focusing on the way he defends the rush, he does an excellent job with gap control and utilizing an active stick. That’s why he grades so favorably on the “entry prevention %” section on the above card. 

However, once possession is established in the defensive zone, he can struggle a bit. While he still maintains a strong stick and generally holds up well physically and keeps up well with his skating, there are times he can be exposed. Mainly, he can lose track of some guys getting in behind him to set up in high-danger. While this is difficult to coach, if he can develop a better awareness of what’s happening away from the puck, his defensive game should be solid. He’s already really good at defending the rush against his peers and keeps the puck in the offensive end. 

Beau Akey’s Potential

If Akey can unlock that untapped offensive potential in the form of a higher willingness to take risks, he could be really good. With his skating, offensive awareness, defensive responsibility and good puck-moving skill that hasn’t been utilized well just yet, he could be a really good top-four defender. He has the ability to quarterback a power play as well. 

If things don’t go as smoothly for his offensive development, he still has a solid base for his defensive game. That said, there’s a pro player within Akey. Whether he sticks or not will be determined with time. But he should at least be given a shot with his overall solid game that limits mistakes. 

NHL Comparison 

Based on style only and not a projection of skills, Akey compares favorably to MacKenzie Weegar. Weegar is more refined in the defensive zone than that of Akey, but he is effective transitionally and offensively. But what makes Weegar successful is less about flash and high-end skill and more about smarts and picking his spots. He isn’t the most aggressive with the puck, and he doesn’t always attack the high-danger areas. But Weegar picks his spots well and can generate a lot because of it. 

If Akey can round out his defensive game, while he likely never becomes as refined as Weegar, he can be really solid. If his offensive game remains more about picking spots rather than creating on his own, then a guy like Weegar is someone he could build his game to be like. He already has the makings of a Weegar-lite. But there’s more offensive potential there, so time will tell. 



Raw stats via Elite Prospects

Player card via Mitch Brown

Main Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports


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