2021-22 Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 27, 2001
Place of Birth: North Bay, ON, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: fourth-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings: 104th (among NA skaters)
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: Honorable Mention
Lucas Edmonds exploded offensively for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) during the 2021-22 season. As a rare 21-year-old rookie who was drafted into the junior league in 2017, he led the OHL in assists with 79 and earned the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as the top-scoring right winger. He added 34 goals and put on a stamp on his impressive regular season with 11 points in 11 playoff games before Kingston fell to the North Bay Batallion in the Eastern Conference Semifinal.
The overage prospect climbed the ranks in Sweden beginning in the 2016-17 season at age 15. The unconventional timeline is due to family connections overseas. He has been passed over in three consecutive NHL Entry Drafts, but a return to his native country in 2021 helped him gain additional exposure in the OHL. The offensive production should help his case to finally get the call in Montreal in July.
Edmonds is a playmaking winger with excellent puck control skills and the ability to finish. His tendency to stickhandle and create space can slow the play down in front of him and allow for teammates to set up well in high-danger areas in the offensive zone. His vision and creativity enabled the high assists total in the OHL last year after his offensive production in Sweden was not nearly as impressive.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
He did a lot of damage on the power play from the point position as a distributor, helped by the offensive touch of teammate and projected first-overall pick Shane Wright. Despite the role, he still found enough opportunities to showcase his ability to score from the flank position with the man advantage. He also contributed to Kingston’s penalty-killing unit this year. Peter Harling of Dobber Prospects complemented Edmonds for “getting his stick into lanes and intercepting passes and blocking shots” from the top of the defensive zone in shorthanded situations.
Edmonds earned the nod as the OHL Player of the Week on Dec. 13 with an incredible stat line of four goals and eight assists in just three games played. He came close to replicating his performance by earning the award again on March 14 with three goals and six assists in another three-game span.
His physical maturity as a 21-year-old undoubtedly helped him as one of the older players in the OHL. He also credited the chance to play in 2020-21 as an opportunity to develop his overall game while many other OHL players, unfortunately, lost their season due to concerns surrounding the pandemic.
Edmonds will need to improve his skating to succeed at the NHL level, a statement true among a high percentage of prospects entering the draft. Harling described him as “more quick than fast” because of his lack of linear, breakaway speed. The ability to control the puck effectively and create space to set up teammates can sometimes offset a lack of speed.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Lucas Edmonds- NHL Draft Projection
Ryan Stimson wrote about the “relationship between draft pick number and a team’s propensity to select an overage prospect, as those prospects are more ‘developmental ready’ with higher floors, but lower ceilings” after the 2018 NHL Entry Draft (from “Stimson: Why certain NHL teams tend to draft overage prospects more than others,” The Athletic, 10/30/2018). He identified contending teams as more likely to draft overage prospects because of the expectation for a shorter span of all-around development.
Edmonds could come off the board relatively early considering the trends. A contending team might recognize the appeal of a 21-year-old, physically mature player who can help an organization capitalize on a short-term window of opportunity for a Stanley Cup. The point production in the OHL indicates a level of development close to NHL-ready. The variable of an overage prospect creates a wide range for Edmonds to land in July, but he could go as early as the late third round if a contending team places enough of a premium on the present as opposed to a younger prospect with a higher upside in three or four years.
“He plays with his head up, able to make decisions regarding his passing game, and when to stickhandle his way forward. He utilizes his teammates in transition and has become a more diverse player with the puck. Edmonds is composed and alert with the puck and can hold on to it to open passing lanes. He brings the puck towards the net as soon as there is a chance to.” –Elite Prospects 2020 NHL Draft Guide
“A source tells me close to 20 NHL teams have already had recruiting conversations with Edmonds. This fall will be his first NHL training camp one way or another before he begins his full-time pro career in the AHL. This breakout season for Edmonds makes him a tempting option for NHL teams. It is not common for 20-year-old players to be considered for the Draft, but looking at his path you can see how he may have been overlooked, and combined with his late physical development, the time for NHL teams to look at securing his playing rights is now.” – Peter Harling (Dobber Prospects)
- Puck control skills, creating space
- Passing ability on the power play
- Contributions on the penalty kill
- Close to NHL-ready as an overage prospect
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Skating (linear and breakaway speed)
- Adjustment to higher and more balanced competition at the professional level
The offensive explosion in the OHL in 2021-22 demonstrated a skill set that could translate well to the NHL level. However, it remains to be seen if Edmonds can replicate the success against fully-developed competition without linemates in the top tier of the league. He will likely get the opportunity to prove himself as a middle-six winger with an NHL team at some point over the next two seasons.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk 4/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 7/10, Defense 6/10
Edmonds earned the OHL Player of the Week Award twice during the 2021-22 season and became the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy winner as the league’s top-scoring right winger. He also won a U16 SM silver medal during his time in Swedish youth development in 2016-17.
- Dobber Prospects: Lucas Edmonds 2022 NHL Draft Journey
- The Hockey News: NHL Draft Interviews: Wright, Slafkovsky, Cooley, and More
- OA Interview: Lucas Edmonds
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.