2022-23 Team: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Date of Birth: February 4, 2005
Place of Birth: West Vancouver, BC, Canada
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 196 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First Year Eligible
- NHL CS (NA Skaters): 85th
- McKeens’ Hockey: 64th
- FC Hockey: 114th
- Smaht Scouting: 80th
- THW (Horn): 93rd
Hoyt Stanley is a puck-moving offensive defenseman who excelled in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) at the Junior A level this year. He’s got the size and handedness (he’s a righty) that NHL teams love, plus he’s an able skater who has impressive skill with the puck. Unfortunately for him, he played in the BCHL this year and prospects immediately get less attention when they aren’t playing in a top-tier junior league.
Stanley deserves more attention than he has received thus far, with most of the raw tools that scouts look for in an everyday NHL defender. He defended well this year, though it’s worth taking that with a grain of salt as the BCHL competition isn’t as fierce, but his offense is where his game tends to shine a bit more.
He’s a great passer, especially when breaking the puck out through the neutral zone, hitting teammates with creative passes that avoid the pressure of forecheckers. With his size, reach, and skating ability, Stanley produces a lot of offense on end-to-end rushes, and that will be a lot tougher for him at the NCAA level when he joins Cornell University next season. College defenders are bigger, stronger and smarter than the opponents Stanley has faced so far, but I think he’ll adapt well and focus a bit more on playmaking.
While he defended well against Junior A competition this year, I expect Stanley will experience a bit of growing pains next year as he adapts to defending NCAA players who will challenge him to be more physically engaged defensively. Stanley will also need to prove that the flashes of playmaking brilliance he’s shown are only flashes because he focused on the end-to-end rushes and that he can be a consistent playmaker at a higher level.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Stanley saw his production explode this year after he only managed one point in his 13-game rookie season in 2021-22. 38 points in 53 games is impressive on its own, but that year-over-year progression is very valuable context in this situation.
38 points made Stanley the eighth highest scoring defender in the league, and he led all U18 defenders in scoring by at least 20 points. Although he only scored four goals this year, I think Stanley’s shot is NHL quality, with a one-timer snap shot that catches opponents off guard.
After being drafted 81st overall in the 2020 WHL Draft by the Everett Silvertips, Stanley decided instead to take the Junior A (in his case BCHL) to NCAA route that’s becoming much more popular lately, with top prospects like Matthew Wood (BCHL), Adam Fantilli (USHL), and top 2024 draft prospect Mack Celebrini (USHL) taking similar routes to professional hockey.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Hoyt Stanley – NHL Draft Projection
Hoyt Stanley has been underappreciated this year, but I think his physical profile is enticing enough that he will still get some love on draft day. I think Stanley will be in the conversation for many teams in the third or fourth rounds, likely going in the 80-100 range on day two of the draft.
“Boasting ideal size and strength while showing solid mobility checks two of the big boxes that NHL teams look for when evaluating defensemen. He is very thoughtful with possession and has a knack for predicting where the pressure will come from” – Donesh Mazloum, FC Hockey
“Stanley is a solid puck moving defenseman and was a great distribution from the blue line all season long.” – Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
“He protects well at his reach and usually does not hesitate to one-touch passes up the ice or shoot snap one-timers. In this viewing, it comes across as high-end flashes of tools that still need to be refined and put together.” – Joel Henderson, FC Hockey
- Lots of skill with the puck
- Great physical toolkit/potential
- Good transition play through the neutral zone especially
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Become a more physical defender
- Find more consistency with in-zone playmaking
Stanley will do a lot to establish his reputation in the NCAA next year. Will he adapt and excel or will there be serious growing pains? It’s tough to predict, but I see enough two-way skill for Stanley to be an everyday NHLer, with second pairing potential should either his offense or defense take a serious step while he develops in the NCAA.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6/10, Defense – 4/10
Awards & Achievements
- 2022-23: BCHL All-Rookie Team