2015-16 Team: Red Deer Rebels (#22)
Date of Birth: August 27, 1998
Place of Birth: Morinville, AB
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 165 lbs
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 118th (June)
- THW Alternate: unranked (June)
- THW War Room: 131st (May)
- Future Considerations: unranked (June)
- ISS: unranked (June)
- Bob McKenzie: unranked (June)
- Craig Button: unranked (June)
Seemingly every year there’s one or two players that get selected in the NHL Draft waaaaaay ahead of their projected position. These players usually had one or two high-level attributes that scouting teams fall in love with, or feel will fill a giant gap in their organization. This year, keep an eye on Red Deer Rebels left wing Brandon Hagel.
After joining the Rebels shortly after the beginning of the season, Hagel quickly and quietly adapted to the Western Hockey League and became a really important complementary piece for the club. While he does boast a solid, well-rounded game, his most impressive attribute is his work ethic. Simply put, Hagel is like the Energizer Bunny. Ranked 104th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, Hagel is a tireless worker and a really tenacious forechecker. He is dogged in his puck pursuit and his competitiveness, and it’s really only his wiry frame that’s holding him back.
Is Hagel going to be a high-end NHLer? It’s way too early to tell. But he’s been a really good (and rapidly improving) player in both bantam and midget, and so far his work ethic, competitiveness and smarts have allowed him to rapidly improve in the WHL. It’s an open question how good he can become.
NHL Draft Projection:
Depending on team perceptions of his all-around skill level, Hagel could go anywhere from the third round to the fifth round in this year’s draft.
#MemorialCup: Red Deer LW Brandon Hagel (Ranked No. 94) is a competitor. Never seen him take a shift off. Can make plays off quick steals
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) May 23, 2016
If you want to draft someone who will bring his lunch pail to work everyday, you are taking Brandon Hagel.
— Paul Figler (@RDFigs19) March 27, 2016
Brandon Hagel good as always. Changes pace of game at th point of attack and drives holes with authority to open up options. #WHL
— Zenon Herasymiuk (@ZenonHerasymiuk) February 17, 2016
- Great work ethic and on-ice stamina.
- Great compete level.
- Effective passer.
- Good instincts in terms of how to alter the pace of a game.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Needs to bulk up a bit to survive battling through traffic.
- Need to continue to improve his decision-making in the offensive zone.
Hagel projects as a third line energy forward. His ceiling is likely close to David Desharnais.
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offense 7/10, Defense 7/10
Hagel hasn’t racked up any WHL accomplishments as of yet, but he was a second team All-Star in the Alberta Midget Hockey League in 2014-15.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.