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Berkly Catton has the potential to be the steal of the 2024 NHL Draft

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Photo credit:Steve Dunsmoor/Spokane Chiefs
Shane Stevenson
1 month ago
This article is brought to you by bet365.
The Calgary Flames are looking for a home run hit with the ninth overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft – it’s a possibility that pick could be the stud centre from the Spokane Chiefs, Berkly Catton.

What’s the word?

Catton put up massive numbers next to teammate Connor Roulette, a fourth round pick in 2021 by the Dallas Stars. His ability to put up the number of points he did at his age isn’t unheard of, but it certainly doesn’t happen often.
 
He has top-of-the class cognitive play recognition, being able to create offence from almost any situation. Pressuring in the corners – he can find an outlet low or high. Coming down off the rush – creative zone entries that emphasize a top-notch attack that results in high quality scoring chances. He is somewhat supportive of his defenceman when in his own zone, providing outlets for both defensive support and breakout attempts. He’s got more than enough speed to catch up the play once it gets going north as well.
He is certainly more of an offensive driver and will need some time to adjust to the game – but with his vision and how he distributes the puck he should develop as a centre for an NHL team.
Don’t just take my word for it – here is DFO’s own prospect guru Steven Ellis on a portion of his game:
The scoring boost was a nice touch to help complement his footwork. This draft might not have a better skater than the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, who has excellent four-way mobility and speed. On the rush, Catton can slice through opponents with ease while handling the puck as well as anyone, so he likes to beat his competition with pace. While Lindstrom might beat players with power, or Iginla through his work ethic, Catton’s ability to weave through traffic makes him so difficult to contain.

The numbers 

It was a truly incredible season for Catton – in 68 games he achieved 54 goals and 62 assists for 116 points. As an 18-year-old in a league with other talented former first round picks he was already on par, or ahead, of their skill level. If Macklin Celebrini weren’t in this class, there would be legitimate talk of Catton being the first overall pick. The size disparity probably leaves him out of that conversation for many, but at 5’ 11” (5′ 10″? the sizing you find everywhere varies) he still has room to grow into a 6’ frame.
No, I did not mistype that. Catton has the “ultimate sleeper” potential to be the best player not picked first overall in this draft class. Everyone knows it, but with the crop of great defenceman this year people are at odds of how to rank them. From 4-12 it’s a toss-up but regardless of what happens the player picked projects to be a quality contributor to any roster.
He is not a shoot first kind of guy, certainly a playmaker. He is incredible at driving play through the neutral zone – does not like to leave the puck in his own zone when he has a chance to turn on the jets and go the other way. He needs to be better at getting himself on the right side of the puck and could use some weight training to build a more sturdy base. Against the best NHL defenceman you have to be able to withstand the physicality it takes to get goals when it matters most.

Availability and Fit

Calgary’s future at centre is very weak. Rory Kerins has some potential but any expectations for him to carry the load are unreasonable. Honzek looks better off as a winger right now – that could change – and the Coronato experiment up the middle last year did not go as well as it did in college.
Backlund, Kadri, and Rooney are the only natural centers left on this team with Zary and Sharangovich taking turns filling in when needed. They absolutely need a top end pivot to build their offence around both now and in the future. Catton is more than capable of turning out to be that player for Calgary.
Here’s hoping he falls to them at 9 just like Tkachuk fell to them at 6.

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