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 Carson Rehkopf Scouting Report.
The 17th overall pick in the 2021 OHL Draft, Carson Rehkopf made an immediate impact for the Kitchener Rangers. As a 16-year-old OHL Rookie, Rehkopf scored 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points in 65 regular-season games. He also put up four goals and two assists for six points in 12 playoff games. Rehkopf built on his strong season by making Team Canada for last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He scored a goal and four assists for five points in five tournament games, helping Canada win the Gold Medal.
Rehkopf built on his success during his draft season. He scored 30 goals and 29 assists for 59 points in 68 regular-season games. Rehkopf took his game up another level in the playoffs. He put up two goals and four assists for six points in nine playoff games. Rehkopf’s power game was a big part of the Rangers first-round upset of the OHL favourites, the Windsor Spitfires. Unfortunately, the Rangers attempt at a “Cinderella” run ended in a second-round loss to the London Knights.
Born in Barrie, Ontario, Rehkopf played his minor hockey for the Toronto Junior Canadiens in the GTHL. He played in the 2014-15 Brick Invitational tournament.
Carson Rehkopf Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born January 7th, 2005 — Barrie, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 193 lbs [188 cm/88 kg]
Carson Rehkopf is a very good skater. He has a long, powerful stride. This gives him very good acceleration and top-end speed. Rehkopf is explosive. He can beat a defender to the outside and then drop his shoulder and cut to the net. His quick feet also help him to win races to get to loose pucks. Rehkopf has good lower body strength. This makes him extremely tough to knock off the puck. It also helps him to win battles in front of the net and along the boards. Rehkopf is an effective forechecker, getting in quickly after dump-ins. His edgework and agility are good but not great. They are enough that combined with his size and strength, Rehkopf is effective in the cycle game.
Rehkopf is your prototypical power-forward type. When he is at his best, he loves to get in on the forecheck and create turnovers. He also plays well down low, cycling the puck and waiting for an opportunity to get to the front of the net. Once he gets there, Rehkopf has the soft hands to beat a goalie in tight. He can also bang in rebounds, one-timer a quick pass from a teammate, and get deflections. Rehkopf also has a heavy shot that he can use from further out. His wrist shot is accurate and features a quick release. Rehkopf does a good job of changing his blade angle at the last second, which makes his shot more deceptive to goalies. He also has a good one-timer.
Rehkopf protects the puck well down low, cycling and giving his teammates time to get open. He is willing to take the puck to the net if he gets the opportunity. Otherwise, he keeps the puck moving with a short and simple pass to a teammate. He is also effective at winning battles on the boards. One issue though is that Rehkopf isn’t always consistent from game to game or even shift to shift. When he is on, he can dominate at the junior level. However, there are also games where he seems completely invisible. This is something that plagued a lot of his Kitchener teammates this year as they were one of the most inconsistent teams in the OHL.
This is another area where Rehkopf’s game is a bit inconsistent. When he is on, he brings his grit and physical game at the defensive end of the ice. When he is not, he cheats to try and fly the zone and get out in transition. The flashes show that he can be a good defensive player though. He is able to control opponents in the cycle and keep them to the outside. His ability to win battles on the boards is also a useful defensive asset. With his long stick, Carson Rehkopf can cut down shooting and passing lanes. He is not afraid to block shots as well. When a turnover is created, Rehkopf can get to the loose puck and make a smart first pass to start the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Rehkopf has all the tools to be a top-six winger in the NHL, he just needs to put it all together on a consistent basis. NHL teams must drill down in interviews and find out what is the cause of the inconsistency. Is it varying effort levels or is there something in his conditioning and fitness levels that they can help him work on to have more energy game to game? These are the questions a good scouting staff will be looking into. Rehkopf will likely spend another couple of seasons in the OHL before coming to the AHL and eventually the pros. He is still a bit of a project. Rehkopf’s game is reminiscent of Brady Tkachuk. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Carson Rehkopf that are available on youtube and Twitter.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 26, 2023
— Steven Ellis (@SEllisHockey) August 1, 2022
Carson Rehkopf brings down the bears in Kitchener. 1-1. pic.twitter.com/N6X2FVF1ak
— Mike Stubbs (@stubbs980) December 8, 2021
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Main photo by: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports