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 2020 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 look at Will Cuylle.
Will Cuylle was drafted 3rd Overall in the 2018 OHL Draft by the Peterborough Petes. Before he could even play a game for the team, he was traded to the Windsor Spitfires. Cuylle made an immediate impact in Windsor. He scored 26 goals and 15 assists for 41 points in 63 games last season. He also added two goals and an assist for three points in four playoff games. Cuylle was named to the OHL’s Second All-Rookie Team. He also played for Team Canada Black at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, where he scored two goals and an assist for three points in five games.
Cuylle has continued that solid production this season. He started the year at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, putting up two goals and an assist for three points in five games and winning a silver medal. The Toronto Native also scored 22 goals and 20 assists for 42 points in 62 games. He was also named the OHL Academic Player of the Month in January, showing his smarts off the ice as well. In 2017-18, he was one of the best players at the OHL Cup. He scored 12 points in six games, leading the tournament in scoring and being named to the All-Star team.
Will Cuylle Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born February 5th, 2002 — Toronto, Ontario
Height 6’3″ — Weight 204 lbs [191 cm/93 kg]
Cuylle is an effective skater, especially for his size. His stride is long and powerful. He also has good lower-body strength. This allows him to fight through checks and take the puck to the front of the net. He is also strong along the boards and wins battles for loose pucks. Cuylle has decent speed and can keep up with the play. He reaches that speed quickly with a good first step and acceleration. Cuylle also has good edgework and agility. He is able to avoid defenders and get to open space both with and without the puck.
Cuylle is a power forward in the making. He has an excellent array of shots, including a strong wrist shot and a powerful snapshot. Both feature excellent releases. They are powerful and accurate. He also has a very good one-timer. Cuylle gets to the net both with and without the puck. Once he gets there, he can score in tight with good hands. Cuylle has a powerful stride and can fight through checks and control the puck. He is more likely to go through a defender than to make a number of moves to get around them. Not afraid to play in traffic, he is effective on the boards, winning battles as well as in the crease. His large frame can be an effective screen.
Cuylle could stand to work on his passing and vision though. He cycles the puck well but is more likely to make the short, safe pass to a teammate than to try and make a creative play to a teammate in order to create a scoring chance. Cuylle’s skating helps him to be effective on the forecheck. He gets in quickly and pressures opposing defenders into mistakes. Once a turnover is created, he is willing to take the puck to the front of the net in order to create a chance. Cuylle is also willing to stand up for his teammates. He’s been known to fight from time to time in the OHL.
Cuylle is also effective in the defensive end of the ice. He is willing to keep his feet moving and support the defence down low. With his size and strength, Cuylle is effective at defending against the cycle game. He can also support the defence with effective back pressure against the transition game. Cuylle is strong positionally and uses his long stick to cut down passing lanes. He is also willing to put his body on the line to block shots.
Projection and Comparison
Cuylle combines size, strength, and skill in a way that will intrigue NHL teams. However, he needs to find a way to produce more points with those skills. Cuylle is strong for his age but will need to continue to add muscle to his frame in order to play his power game at the next level. He could become a top-six winger at the next level if he develops properly. However, even if that offence never comes, he could still be an effective third liner. He will need another two years in the OHL and perhaps some AHL time after that. Cuylle’s game is reminiscent of Ryan Malone, but 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 Will Cuylle that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
OSHAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 23: Will Cuylle #13 of the Windsor Spitfires and Brett Neumann #13 of the Oshawa Generals skate for a loose puck during an OHL game at the Tribute Communities Centre on February 23, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)