James Malatesta – 2021 NHl Draft Prospect Profile

James Malatesta

2020-21 Team: Quebec Remparts
Date of Birth: May 31, 2003
Place of Birth: Pointe-Claire, Quebec
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 179 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: C
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible

Rankings

One of a handful of Quebec Minor Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) players eligible for this year’s draft, James Malatesta is one to watch. What impresses me the most about his game is his tenacity and understanding of the game. He is always moving his feet and gets in hard on the forecheck. He does not shy down from physical play and can win puck battles in the corners. He always comes back to help out his defensemen when the puck is in the defensive zone and he has good defensive positioning. His understanding of the game allows him to read and react to the play ahead of time and he is able to break apart passing lanes with his quick stick.

Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide

With the puck on his stick, Malatesta is a serious threat. He is able to generate speed through his crossovers and attacks open lanes in the offensive zone without hesitation. He has a unique ability to find open ice in the offensive zone and presents himself as an option for a scoring chance on a regular basis. He has a great shot and is able to get it off in no time. He is able to find teammates in the slot with a quick hard pass and makes plays that others may not see.

James Malatesta Quebec Remparts
James Malatesta of the Quebec Remparts (Jonathan Roy)

Malatesta is heavily trusted by his coaches in Quebec and has gotten better as the season has gone on. He is not afraid to put his body on the line to make an important block or take a hit to make a play. Time will tell what type of player he becomes, but all signs point to him being a solid player for the team that calls his name come draft day.

Other THW Profiles

James Malatesta – 2021 NHL Draft Projection

Malatesta was ranked a B-level prospect by NHL Central Scouting and I think that is right where he should be. He has a ton of skill, but I think he will be a late second or early third-round pick. He will require another few season to develop before he makes the jump to the pros, but I think he has the chance to make an NHL impact one day.

Quotables

“Malatesta has an excellent shot paired with great vision, and is a threat to score from anywhere on the ice. He has no problems taking the puck to the slot or the top of the circle and ripping the puck past goalies, which makes him incredibly lethal on the man-advantage. Malatesta is a high-energy player, too. Though undersized, he doesn’t shy away from physical play and willingly goes to battle along the boards and in the corners.” – Lauren Kelly/Raw Charge

“James Malatesta is a volume shooter who finds any reason to shoot the puck. He is a shifty skater who likes to control the puck and his playmaking is underrated because of how shot heavy he is in the offensive zone at times.” – Tony Ferrari/DobberProspects

Strengths

  • Skating ability
  • Vision
  • Shot
  • Always moving his feet

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Not transition too early when the puck is still in the defensive zone

NHL Potential

Malatesta has all the makings of a middle-six offensive contributor. He is always moving his feet and does not shy away from physicality. He still needs to round out his game, and the team that drafts him won’t see an immediate impact, but he has the skills to make an NHL impact one day.

Risk/Reward Analysis 

Risk – 3/5, Reward – 3.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential 

Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 7.5/10

Awards/Achievements

In 2016-17, while playing with the Lac St-Louis Lions Nord Bantam AAA of the Quebec Bantam AAA Hockey League (QBAAA), he won a QBAAA Bronze Medal along with his teammates. In 2017-18, while playing for the Lions, he and his teammates were crowned QBAAA Champions. In 2018-19, he was crowned Canada Winter Games Champion and QGC-16 Champion.

Malatesta Statistics

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