2018-19 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (#7)
Date of Birth: May 28, 2001
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 176 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- The Hockey Writers (Pike’s Picks): 38th (final)
- Future Considerations: 70th (Spring)
- ISS: not in first round (April)
- Bob McKenzie: not in top 15 (April; draft lottery update)
- Craig Button: 48th (March)
When the 2018-19 Western Hockey League season began, Moose Jaw Warriors winger Brayden Tracey was a promising, if untested, midget player. By the time the season began, he had cultivated considerable buzz in scouting circles as a fairly high-end prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Tracey’s emergence was a tale of two seasons – and two really good linemates. In the 2018 half of the schedule, he had a respectable 14 goals and 38 points. In the 2019 half of the schedule, he erupted for 22 goals and 43 points. He also shot the puck more frequently, a sign of his increasing confidence in the offensive zone.
Another reason for confidence would be playing regularly with two strong WHL veterans: overager Tristin Langan (who had 113 points) and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Justin Almeida (who had 111 points). That’s where things get tricky with evaluating Tracey’s overall game – he was one of the most productive players of his age group, but virtually all of his assists were on Langan or Almeida goals (and his goals were mostly set up by that duo). He had just one even strength point that was generated with neither of them on the ice.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Tracey is a strong WHL player, albeit one with a limited sample size at the major junior level. He’s quick. He’s smart. He played with two top flight linemates, but was good enough to keep up with them, bury the chances they gave him and set them up for chances that they buried. He was tied for the WHL league lead in game-winning goals, a sign that he didn’t wilt when games were up for grabs.
Picking Tracey in the 2019 NHL Draft is a bit of a leap of faith, especially early in the draft. The Warriors are losing some key players to the pro ranks next season – and they traded Jett Woo to the Calgary Hitmen – meaning that it’s going to be up to Tracey to drive the bus and prove that he can generate offense on his own. At the very least, he could be a good complementary piece, but time will tell if he can be a star on his own.
Brayden Tracey – NHL Draft Projection
Tracey may have first round upside – a team with multiple picks may feel comfortable taking a flier on him – but his small high-level sample size likely pushes him into the early or middle second round.
“Tracey is a bit of a boom or bust prospect. If he develops properly, he could become a top-six forward in the NHL. There was some concern that Tracey’s production was due to playing on the Warriors top line with Justin Almeida and Tristin Langdon as well as plenty of time with Josh Brook or Jett Woo on the blueline. Tracey’s performance at the U-18 alleviated some of that concern. However, he still needs real work on his defensive game and on playing against physical opponents. Without this, he is unlikely to succeed as a third or fourth line player if his offensive game does not fully develop.” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
“Brayden Tracey owns the high slot on the top PP and he uses his simplistic puck control skills to change the angle on the shot, fake the pass, shoot with power and accuracy, or slip down to grab an easy one-timer. As far as draft eligible forwards go from the WHL, Brayden Tracey might be the best at adjusting to line mates, filling gaps, and playing the system. His individual skills might not top the charts but it’s hard to ignore the type of numbers he is putting up.” – Joel Henderson, Dobber Prospects
- Good hockey sense, knows where to go on the ice in all three zones.
- Good skating and acceleration.
- Effective shooter and puck distributor.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to work on becoming more of an offensive driver.
- Isn’t particularly big or physical, but will need to bulk up to survive puck battles at higher levels.
- Needs to round out his game with more attention to detail away from the puck.
Other 2019 NHL Draft Profiles
Based on the sample size he’s had in the WHL, Tracey projects as a complementary winger that can play in an NHL team’s top nine. Stylistically, his game resembles Jaden Schwartz’s.
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 7/10
Tracey has represented Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Under-18 World Championship. He captured a silver medal at the U-17s and was named the WHL’s Rookie of the Year for 2018-19.
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.