2019-20 Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Date of Birth: Sept. 20, 2001
Place of Birth: Prince Albert, SK, CAN
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 209 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 8th (among NA Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 27th
- HockeyProspect.com: 18th
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: 14th
- THW Josh Bell’s February Rankings: 35th
- THW Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: 27th
- THW Larry Fisher’s March Rankings: 28th
- ISS: 13th
- Dobber Prospects December Rankings: 31st
- DraftSite Mock Draft: 15th
Braden Schneider presents a toolkit that oozes NHL potential as your quintessential two-way defenseman. With enough nurturing in juniors and minors, the sizable D-man could become a late first-round gem for any NHL squad.
Related: THW Draft Guide
The 18-year-old began drawing eyes of scouts during his sophomore campaign with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He followed up his promising 22-point rookie season with eight goals and 24 total points in 58 games during his second year with the Wheat Kings. Where he really began to shine was his play without the puck. His stick play, gap control, and defensive poise made him a top-pairing lock on Brandon’s blue line.
Following his strong season, Schneider was invited to the U18 World Junior Championship where he logged two goals and a single assist in seven games with Team Canada. He was then chosen for the World Junior Summer Showcase and continued his development into a consistent force on either side of the puck.
His third season with the Wheat Kings is where the offense finally began to click for the two-way defender. He’s exploded for 42 points in 60 games this season, leading Brandon’s blue line in scoring. His point-per-game percentage puts him on par with some former WHLers such as the Anaheim Ducks’ Brandan Guhle or the Boston Bruins’ Brandon Carlo.
Related: Top 10 NHL Goalie Prospects
While his offense is certainly impressive, the real draw to Schneider comes in his defense and patience. He’s become a consistent force on the back end, showcasing his exceptional gap control and corner play at any level. It’s rare to see him lose many board battles, especially when he’s throwing around a 209-pound frame. His first pass on transitions is often where he shines most when it comes to offense, but he can struggle with stretch passes. He’s also extremely patient with the puck, even when handling it in a dangerous area or under pressure. His size and stick play make up for his shortcomings in the speed department.
All things considered, Schneider provides everything one would want from a stay-at-home defenseman, but has the potential to click on offense and the man advantage. As an all-situation, minute-eating defenseman, he should find himself on an NHL team on the first day of the entry draft.
Related THW Draft Profiles
Braden Schneider – NHL Draft Projection
Defensemen of Schneider’s caliber are often a tough projection. While he brings enough offense to the table to warrant a high-end selection, it’s not quite enough to make him a top-fifteen pick. He’d seem like a good fit for the Carolina Hurricanes with their 19th-overall selection. The Hurricanes haven’t selected a defenseman in the first round since Jake Bean in 2016, and have drafted just seven defensemen since then. Unless a team is truly enamored by Schneider’s play, expect him to fall between the 18th and 25th picks for this year’s draft.
“Big strong defender who has some nasty sprinkled on top. Will never be mistaken for a new age defenseman, he does make smart decisions as an attacker on both the power play and even strength. This big man is good in his pivots, an excellent puck mover, and a crisp passer in transition. He has no qualms about jumping into the play, but he makes the most impact as a devastating checker and smart defensive zone player who has an active stick that disrupts the passing lanes. Is developing some offensive upside which might dispel the opinion that he is a big mobile stay at home defender and just that.” – Bill Placzek, DraftSite
“Another standout at the recent Top Prospect’s Game, Schneider is a heavy WHL defender who could have fit in well with several renditions of the Flyers over the years. And while the team has drafted several defenders high in recent years (Cam York, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim), all are left shots. If the Flyers feel that Schneider is the best player available, why not use this selection on him as he represents a slightly different style of defender than what they already have, and his right shot will be valuable to them in the future. Additionally, the last defender the Flyers took out of Brandon (Provorov) turned out alright.” – Brock Otten, McKeen’ Hockey
- Board play
- First Pass
- Gap Control
- Stick Play
- Penalty Kill
- Stretch Passes
Schneider has plenty of potential to succeed at the next level, but he’ll need to improve on offense if he hopes to appear on a team’s power play. He’s more likely to find himself in a defense-dependent role as he looks towards minors. He’s got potential to provide plenty of offense, but it’s more likely to find him in the role as a minute crunching second or first pairing shut-down defenseman for the NHL level.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6/10, Defense 9/10
He won a gold medal for Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2018-19. He was also honored as a top-three player for Team Canada at the U18 World Junior Championship. He competed in the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, scoring the game-winning goal in the contest.