With the 34th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Anaheim Ducks have selected Olen Zellweger from the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
About Olen Zellweger
Two-way defenceman Olen Zellweger put on a show during the 2021 U18 World Championship where he led Team Canada’s blue line with eight points in seven games. After turning heads in the WHL with 13 points in 11 games with the Silvertips, he used that momentum during the U18s to put himself in the conversation as a first-round pick. The dynamic skater has all the tools to succeed in the game today. From his passing to his cannon of a shot, he might turn out to be one of the biggest surprises of this draft class.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“The Fort Saskatchewan native is not the biggest defenceman in this draft compared to top prospects Owen Power or Simon Edvinsson. At 5-foot-10, he is smaller than the average NHL defenceman, but it’s how he uses his size that separates him from his opponents. In his rookie season with the Silvertips last year, Zellweger put up 12 points in 58 games and represented Team Canada Red during the IIHF WHC-17 Tournament.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Everett Silvertips and the WHL’s U.S. Division started only in mid-March. Zellweger had an impressive start with 13 points in 11 games (nine goals, two assists) and was an offensive powerhouse. On April 1, he was named to Team Canada for the upcoming IIHF U-18 World Championships in Frisco, Texas.
“There’s a lot to love about Zellweger’s game. He is an explosive and mobile defender who can shut down and choke out attacks in the neutral zone. He uses his smaller stature and speed to his advantage, which will win him most foot races to loose pucks. He has proven over the last two seasons in Everett that he is a supreme passer in the WHL, not to mention that he uses his cannon of a shot to bury the puck.
“At the U-18 World’s this past month, Zellweger proved again that he is one of the more under-rated defencemen in his draft class. He thrived on the third defensive pairing with partners Jack Matier and Guillaume Richard and even saw crucial minutes on Canada’s loaded power play. Zellweger had a big showing in the tournament, recording eight points in seven games, helping Team Canada to capture the gold medal. In a round-robin game against Switzerland, he had an impressive four assists and again showed off his precise passing and offensive awareness.
“Overall, Zellweger will need a couple of years to grow and mature his game a tad more, but he will be an immediate offensive threat when he makes the leap. He has an offensive toolkit that he can utilize for years to come.”
How This Affects the Ducks’ Plans
The Ducks drafted Jamie Drysdale in 2020, and now add another promising defenceman to their pipeline. Zellweger may be a few seasons away, but when he gets to the NHL, he will be a stud. The smooth-skating blueliner lit it up at the U18s with Team Canada and will be a solid addition to their defence core very soon.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.