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Chicago Steel forward Michael Hage offers huge upside in the 2024 NHL Draft

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
29 days ago
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When it comes to player development, it’s hard to imagine how individual human beings will react to adversity. Over the past few years, Michael Hage has moved to a foreign country, dealt with injury and personal tragedy, and emerged as one of the most fascinating players in the 2024 draft class.
Hage could represent one of the biggest upside selections among the first round draft grouping.

Scouting report

A product of Mississauga, Ontario, Hage is an April 2006 birthday. He’s a right shot centre listed at 6’1″ and 190 pounds.
After coming up through the Toronto Jr. Canadians program, Hage has played two seasons in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel – the same team that produced Calgary Flames prospect Matt Coronato. Hage is committed to attend college at the University of Michigan.
In March, Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala had this assessment of Hage’s game:
Through 50 games played, Hage has produced 31G-37A for the Steel. He plays the game quick and fast. Hage is a threat off the rush in transition. His vision in the offensive zone is one of his most elite elements. Defensive detail, and effort tracking back off the puck, ranges and will have to improve before he arrives at the University of Michigan (NCAA). Has time on his side. His offensive element and the pace at which he plays wins out.
Dobber Prospects’ Sebastian High provided a breakdown of Hage’s progression in April:
Hage is another riser on many boards, as he has found more and more consistency in leveraging his elite tools to create sustained offense at the USHL level as the season has progressed. His powerful and agile skating paired with high-end handling skill and on-puck composure make allow him to dominate junior competition in transition. Offensively, too, he can turn nothing into something in the blink of an eye; unpredictable and adaptable on-puck, and riding defenders’ blind spots adeptly to get himself to high-danger positions in and around the slot. He refined his defensive work-rate and reads early this season, and while his high-end projection hinges on the offensive skill, the defensive game is no longer the liability it once was. He can still fall victim to trying to do too much on his own, and a few years with the University of Michigan will certainly help him round out his game in needed ways, but beyond the Top 10 of the draft, few players can match his dynamic on-puck game and offensive upside.
We’d highly recommend checking out Scott Wheeler’s lengthy profile on Hage from April at The Athletic. It really dives into the adversity he’s faced over the past few years, including a major shoulder injury and the passing of his father. It’s fantastic, and provides a lot of great context for just how impressive Hage’s on-ice progression has been over the last year or so. While dealing with a lot of off-ice changes and challenges, Hage continued to improve, and he’s set to head to college to continue that improvement. His maturity and talent are two reasons why NHL scouts are pretty excited about his potential.

The numbers

Hage scored 33 goals and 42 assists for 75 points over 54 USHL games this season. He led the Steel in goals, assists and points during the regular season. (His 2022-23 season was shortened by injury, but he still put up 10 points over 13 games.)
He was sixth in the USHL in goals, tied for 10th in assists, and fourth in points overall. In short: he was one of the top offensive producers in one of the top under-20 leagues in the world – and definitely the top under-20 league for college-bound players. He was named to the USHL’s first all-star team for his efforts.

Availability and fit

Could the Flames use somebody like Hage in their system? Heck yes. He’s a right shot centre with a bit of size to him, and his game has shown a ton of progression. Moreover, he’s headed into college, where it’s not hard to imagine him playing for a couple seasons and refining his game before coming out and going pro. If you draft Hage, you’re probably looking at him turning pro in 2026-27 or 2027-28… right around the time the new building opens, and you’ll have a much clearer picture of the Flames’ winger log-jam and how everybody slots in.
In an ideal world, Hage would land in the Flames’ laps with the late first-round pick they acquired from Vancouver. It could happen, but it’s far from a guarantee. Hage has shown up on public draft rankings throughout the final 10-15 selections of the first round – typically between 20th and 29th, but he’s appeared as early as 19th and as late as 36th.
Hage shapes up as a tremendous prospect with a ton of upside, and there’s no guarantee he falls to the Flames late in the first round. But if he did, he would really fit a lot of their organizational needs going forward.

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