2020-21 Team: USNTDP
Date of Birth: April 18, 2003
Place of Birth: Walnut Creek, CA, USA
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 174 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 95th (amongst NA skaters)
Ethan Straky is an American defenseman who idolizes Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidström. He has come through the ranks of the United States’ development program, having joined two years ago as a 16-year-old, and he has forced NHL scouts to take notice of his talent. His rapid growth as an athlete caught the attention of many prolific colleges, and he has committed to play NCAA hockey for the University of Notre Dame for the 2021-22 season.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Straky grew up in Walnut Creek, a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area, and spent time in Florida and Michigan as a child. He took an interest in playing hockey at an early age and joined the Oakland Junior Grizzlies U16 AAA team when he was 15 years old. He played 51 league games for the Grizzlies, recording 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in his only season of AAA hockey. The country’s national hockey program signed Straky in 2019, and he joined the U17 team. He made a big impression, as he had 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 43 games. He was promoted to the U18 team in 2020.
Straky has also had an opportunity to play for the United States on the international stage, which has further benefitted his career. He was a member of the U17 team at the World Hockey Challenge in Medicine Hat in 2019. He helped his country reach the tournament’s final, but the United States lost 6-2 to Russia.
Straky’s vision, determination and intensity make him a dominant defenseman and a competent attacker. He can control the defensive end through his persistent pressure on the opposition, and he gradually molds into the offensive zone when he has space. Straky can stay on his feet for long periods, often using his agility to keep possession of the puck as he moves forward. He is not the type to shoot at goal or ghost past opposing defensemen, but Straky’s work from the back helps to make results at the front.
Ethan Straky – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Straky has a C-grade rating ahead of the draft. This means that he will most likely be selected in the second or third round. The third round seems a more accurate choice for Straky, but that could change if he can improve during his time at Notre Dame.
“Ethan Straky has been very good in the defensive end, and ignites a lot of offense with high IQ plays.” – The Prospect Network
“Straky plays with intensity, applying great pressure on puck carriers and being consistently engaged in the play. He is always willing to block a shot or use his body to finish a check. I really like Straky’s mobility, although he doesn’t have an explosive top speed, he does have great control of his skating and displays good edge work and agility.” – Dylan Krill, FC Hockey
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
Straky can develop into a strong offensive defenseman because of his attacking attributes. He will need to apply his offensive traits while playing NCAA hockey next season to create a more accurate assessment of his true potential.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 7/10
Straky won a silver medal in the U17 World Hockey Championship in 2020.