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Son of a former pro, big-bodied blueliner Charlie Elick is a bit of a throwback in the 2024 draft

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Photo credit:Jeremy Champagne/Brandon Wheat Kings
Ryan Pike
7 days ago
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On paper, Brandon Wheat Kings blueliner Charlie Elick is everything National Hockey League clubs seem to value in a defenceman. He’s big. He plays a composed, mature brand of hockey. His dad played pro hockey for many years.
In a draft class that’s chock full of new-school, puck-moving defenders, the two-way stylings of Elick are a bit of a throwback. But even in a pretty strong defensive year, Elick is a highly-touted player in the 2024 NHL Draft class.

Scouting report

Charlie is the son of longtime pro Mickey Elick, a defenceman who was an eighth-round pick by the New York Rangers in 1992, but never ended up playing in the NHL. (Fun fact: Mickey spent most of the 1998-99 season with the Saint John Flames.) The elder Elick spent much of his pro career in Europe, and Charlie was born in January 2006, while Mickey was playing in Austria. Charlie is a right shot defenceman listed at 6’3″ and 198 pounds.
Raised back in Calgary, Elick is the product of such local hockey institutions as the AAA Flames and the Edge School. He was selected third overall by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft and made his WHL debut with a nine game stint during the following season. He was a full-time WHLer in both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.
This past season, he also represented Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the Under-18 World Championships, capturing gold medals at each event.
In January, The Hockey News’ Adam Kierszenblat discussed Elick’s game as part of a broader feature on the player:
Elick continues to improve and has developed into the type of player every team is looking to add at the draft. He can skate well, is strong in his own end and has the ability to create offensive opportunities through his playmaking skills. If he can continue to develop the way he has, it shouldn’t be long before he is making an impact at the NHL level.
Dobber Prospects’ Luke Sweeney assessed Elick’s overall skillset in an April scouting report:
Charlie Elick is a type of defenseman who seems easy to project into a future NHL lineup. While Elick has been relatively productive, the interest for him stems more from his dependable transition game and effective (and physical) defensive game. Elick has an excellent first pass out of the defensive zone and—complimented by strong four-way mobility—makes him one of the best defensive zone transition defensemen in the WHL. Elick’s skating and strong 6’3 frame also lend themselves well towards his robust defensive game. Elick closes gaps and defends the line well, wins pucks and netfront battles, and easily transitions retrievals into offence. He also is also very physical and can level punishing body checks without chasing hits. Elick shows a lot of promise as a second pair, matchup defenseman at the next level.
Following the Under-18 World Championships, FloHockey’s Chris Peters provided a scouting report on Elick from that event:
Elick certainly looks the part of a top-tier defenseman when you look at his frame, his poise and his skating ability. However, I don’t think there’s much feel for the game offensively, which is going to hurt his projection. He can defend with the best of them and his feet are truly a plus tool for him. There’s still a chance he sneaks into the first round in the same way Emery’s lack of offense may be overlooked. He moves pucks capably, but I do have some concern about the offensive sense that most defensemen seem to need in today’s NHL to be more than just a shutdown guy.
He’s big! He’s reliable defensively! He plays a smart transition game! And because his dad played pro for awhile, you can reasonably assume that Elick understands the lifestyle and discipline that being a high-end player demands. While Elick may not project as a high-end offensive producer, he seems like a really impressive prospect.

The numbers

Elick had four goals and 23 assists for 27 points in 65 games with Brandon in 2023-24. He was tied for 47th among WHL defencemen in points. Heck, fellow 2024 prospect Carter Yakemchuk had more goals (30) than Elick had points (27). They’re very different players.
Elick had two assists at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and three assists at the Under-18 Worlds.

Availability and fit

If you’re the Flames, you’re probably of two minds about Elick. Yes, it would be great if he had a bit more sizzle to his steak offensively. But when you compare him to some of the more defence-first blueliner prospects in the system – Artem Grushnikov, Ilya Solovyov and Yan Kuznetsov – he seems to have a bit more offensive oomph to his game – and he seems more physically mature and potentially more defensively stout than some of their more offence-oriented prospects. In other words, Elick’s well-roundedness relative to the other defensive prospects is what makes him potentially appealing for the locals.
In terms of availability, Elick’s been consistently ranked somewhere in the back half of the first round on most rankings for much of the season. More recently he’s settled towards the back end of the first round, somewhere in the late 20s or early 30s. If you’re the Flames, you could be looking to grab him with the 28th overall selection (Vancouver’s pick from the Elias Lindholm swap). Anytime after that, though, you may be out of luck.

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