2022-23 Team: St. Andrew’s College – Canadian High School Hockey (CHSH)
Date of Birth: Apr 20, 2005
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON, CAN
Height: 6-foot-2, Weight: 185 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters): 91st
- Elite Prospects: *Notable Prospect
- The Hockey News: 100th
- Daily Faceoff: 126th
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 164th
For most Canadian hockey players who have aspirations of the NHL Draft, their path often involves years of play through one of the three major junior leagues that constitute the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). There are exceptions to this rule, of course, which brings us to Jonathan Castagna of St. Andrew’s College from the Canadian High School system.
On the ice, Castagna is everything you look for in a mid to late-round draft pick, as he features a big NHL-caliber frame, decent scoring instincts, and strong skating which gives him a toolkit that can be easily built upon. While he may not have been playing against the best competition in Canada with St. Andrews, he still managed to showcase the focus and drive of someone who can keep up with anyone.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
This was showcased at the 2023 NHL Draft combine, where Castagna was a surprise invite that finished top-10 in multiple drills. While you can’t take much from combine testing, as it is rarely a sign of future success in professional sports, what it does show is his tremendous athletic potential. For general managers, this potential can be extremely appealing, which may help his case for being drafted.
It’s also worth noting that Castagna will be playing for Cornell University starting in the 2023-24 season, which means he will have up to four years to further develop this potential at a top hockey university in the United States. This could put him in a best-case scenario, as it’s clear that he will need time to fully grow into his body and skill set, which he will have at Cornell.
So, while he might not be the biggest name at the draft, Castagna has shown that he more than belongs with this talented class of players.
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Jonathan Castagna – NHL Draft Projection
While discussing where an NHL prospect can be selected, players like Castagna throw a bit of a wrench in the evaluation game. If he were competing in the CHL or were part of the U.S. National Development Program, he would look every bit like a third or fourth-round selection given his size, athleticism, and play on the ice. However, since he is playing against what is considered weaker competition, this could simply be him looking like a big fish in a small pond.
With this in mind, I expect Castagna to be drafted in 2023, but likely not until the fifth round or later. Personally, I could see him going somewhere around the 150th-170th range, but with his strong showing at the NHL Combine, it’s not impossible that a general manager falls in love with his potential and takes him closer to pick 100.
Castagna is a tremendous athlete, the kind of player who excels in on-and-off-ice testing and does it in a pro frame. His game is defined by his skating (acceleration and top gear), his versatility, and his drive… By all accounts, he was a special kid at SAC, where he excelled in the classroom, on the lacrosse field and also in theatre per coach.Scott Wheeler (From ‘The 2023 NHL Draft prospects who missed Scott Wheeler’s final top 100 ranking’, The Athletic, June 9, 2023)
…a surprise invite and Canadian prep school player Jonathan Castagna was superb in the bench press, functional agility, leg strength and lateral movement…T. McGee – diebytheblade.com
- Strong skater
- NHL-caliber frame
- Great all-around athlete
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Lacking offensive pop
- Still very early in his development
It’s easy to look at a player with Castagna’s toolkit and see how he projects to the NHL. While he lacks top-line potential, he could slot into a middle-six role if he develops a complete toolkit that allows him to utilize his size and athleticism. Sure, his ceiling might be in the 15 goals, 50 points range in this scenario, but there isn’t a team in the league that wouldn’t take that kind of production from a late-round pick.
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Even if he doesn’t reach his full potential, I still believe Castagna can have a successful professional career in hockey. After finishing at Cornell, he could take over top minutes in the American Hockey League, while acting as a call-up for the NHL club that selects him. This isn’t a glamorous role, but it’s one that every team needs and could lead him to a full-time spot in the league.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5