2021-22 Team: North Bay Battalion – Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Date of Birth: Nov. 20, 2003
Place of Birth: Ajax, ON, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 183 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings: 115th (among NA skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: Honourable Mention
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: Honourable Mention
Due to the effects of the lost 2020-21 OHL season, there are many mid-tier NHL prospects that simply have an incomplete body of work for their development path. A perfect example of this is Liam Arnsby, who was the 9th overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. At the time, he was a forward with limitless potential, as he possessed great offensive instincts that were expected to bloom leading up to his eligibility for the 2022 NHL Draft.
However, after losing a full season, Arnsby now appears to be behind his initial expectations. In 2021-22, he showed steady growth, but only posted nine goals and 26 points in 46 games. Those numbers are okay, but they aren’t something that will turn heads either.
Related: THW’s 2022 NHL Draft Guide
The good news for Arnsby, though, is how attractive his skillset is. He has a great offensive toolkit to build upon, along with a tough, gritty play style that could transition to the NHL. He is also Captain of the North Bay Battalion, meaning that he has that leadership potential teams look for. So, while he isn’t a perfect prospect, he is a great player that has a lot of potential to unlock if he is drafted.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Liam Arnsby – NHL Draft Projection
Given his abilities on the ice, it’s difficult to imagine Arnsby not being selected at the 2022 NHL Draft. Sure, he may not be a prime prospect, but he still has a toolkit that will draw general manager’s attention and lead them to take a chance on him in the later rounds.
Given his size and scoring output in the most recent season, however, it’s hard to imagine Arnsby being selected before Round 4. He strikes me as a player who should get picked early in the fifth round but could fall to Round 6 before hearing his name called.
Despite being 5-foot-11-inches and 181 pounds, one might be surprised by the physicality Arnsby brings to the game. He is incredibly strong for his size and he often separates the opposition from the puck with his physicality and strength. Arnsby has often shown very good hockey IQ and an ability to react instinctively without over thinking – and they are usually the correct decisions. He reads the ice well and is able to find soft spots to make himself available so that he can get off a heavy NHL caliber wrist shot.Dominic Tiano – ohlwriters.me
Arnsby is a physical grinder that plays with excellent pace. He battles extremely hard on every shift, jumping into every contest he can…Outside of his leadership and physical, competitive game, I’m not sure what Arnsby will bring. He needs to work on his puck possession, as he had some bad turnovers in his own end. He also needs to improve his skating.Josh Bell – (From Liam Arnsby Game Report – FCHockey, Oct. 8, 2021)
Arnsby is a high-energy forward who consistently pushes the pace and makes simple plays to drive possession for his team. His energetic and physical style of play causes hurried decisions and loose pucks in all three zones, and he has the strength to match up against older players and excel in a variety of high-leverage roles.Joseph Aleong – (From Liam Arnsby Game Report – FCHockey, Dec. 3, 2021)
- Tough, gritty playstyle
- Good hockey IQ
- Great shot
- Proven leader on the ice
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
While he is a tough player, Arnsby doesn’t have the top-end offensive potential right now. He doesn’t always control the puck well, which can lead to bad turnovers that he is unable to recover from due to his mediocre skating ability. This steadily improved throughout the 2021-22 season, though, which is a great sign for his future.
It’s easy to look at a player with Arnsby’s style and see a path to the NHL. Every team needs a high-energy bottom-six forward who can play limited but tough minutes each night while chipping in a handful of goals each season.
In some ways, Arnsby reminds me of a player like Ross Colton, who was selected in the middle of the 2016 draft, and spent a number of years developing his game before debuting with the Tampa Bay Lightning in an impactful third-pair role.
Every team needs players like this to fill out their roster, and if they give Arnsby the time needed to grow into his body and gameplan, he could be an absolute stud and a true steal of this draft class. The talent is there, he just needs the right opportunities.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 2/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 6/10
Liam Arnsby Statistics
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.