2022-23 Team: Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
Date of Birth: May 19, 2004
Place of Birth: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Height: 6-foot-1, Weight: 174 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: Second Year Eligible
Hudson Malinoski is a forward with a smooth skating stride and a lot of skill with the puck, especially in transition. Malinoski went undrafted last year in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility after spending the year with the Saskatoon Blazers of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League U18 (SMAAAHL). It’s common for prospects to spend time in league’s like the SMAAAHL, though usually they move onto the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) for their draft year.
Malinoski joined the juggernaut Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) this year as a stepping stone to the NCAA, and that proved to be an excellent decision. His new team, paired with a multi-inch growth spurt, helped Malinoski garner much more draft attention this year than ever before. Malinoski quickly went from undersized to 6-foot-1, a much more projectible frame for NHL teams looking for forwards.
Skating is the name of the game for Malinoski, whose powerful skating stride is complemented by good skating mechanics to make him one of the quickest and most agile players in the AJHL this year. He also has good skill with the puck, making moves around and through defenders on the rush .
One area of the game that Malinoski could stand to improve is his defensive game, especially if he wants to stick at center in pro hockey someday. He could be more physical defensively, though I wonder if he’s still getting used to his larger frame and that will come more naturally over time.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
After scoring 60 points in 43 games in the 2021-22 season with the Blazers, Malinoski scored an impressive 69 points in 44 games against tougher competition with the Bandits this year. That was good enough for 11th in league-wide scoring and tied him for third in the league in points-per-game. Malinoski was also a massive part of the Bandits’ Centennial Cup victory as the top Junior A team in Canada. He was near the top of the tournament in goals (3rd), assists (2nd) and points (2nd), with two of his goals coming in the championship match.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Hudson Malinoski – NHL Draft Projection
I expect Malinoski to be drafted in his second time around, but as is the case with most over-agers in the NHL draft it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint a landing spot for him. Personally, I would consider him in the third or fourth rounds, which I consider to be probably where he first has a chance to go, but I could see him going in a later round as well. My best guess is that he probably goes in the 100-150 range of selections.
“Malinoski’s skating is quite intriguing. He has a fluid, powerful stride that will let him carry pucks up ice in the pro game.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
“He’s played some center in junior but I’m guessing he’s a winger against better players. That’s mostly because I don’t see him as a great off-the-puck type or that physical a forward, although he doesn’t shy from going to the net.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic
- Good power moves toward the net
- Strong skater with good power and technique
- Great skill moves at high speed (especially in transition)
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Continue to improve defensive game
- Develop a more physical game
I see a future NHL player when I watch Malinoski play. Not likely a high-end player, but certainly one who can give you games because his skating and skill with the puck are good enough that I think he’ll keep up with the pace of NHL play quite well after a few years in the NCAA.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 2/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 2.5/10
Awards & Achievements
- 2022-23: AJHL Champion
- 2022-23: AJHL All-Rookie Team