2022-23 Team: Seattle Thunderbirds
Date of Birth: Dec. 1, 2004
Place of Birth: Prince George, B.C.
Height: 6-foot-3, Weight: 181 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters): 26th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 67th
- Daily Faceoff: 76th
- FC Hockey: 77th
- Elite Prospects: 112th
One of the biggest risers of this year’s draft, going from 47th at the midterm mark to 26th on the NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters final list, Nico Myatovic enters the draft with a ton of momentum. He is a prospect who continually improved his game throughout the season and was one of the most trusted forwards on the Seattle Thunderbirds this season. A strong two-way forward who is great on the forecheck, he would be a solid addition to any team looking to improve their depth on the wing.
While Myatovic took steps forward in his offensive game, where he impressed the most was on the defensive side. He is able to win board battles in his own zone and can make a good first pass to an open teammate to start the transition game the other way. His defensive play also translates well to the penalty kill, as he was on Seattle’s top unit this season which ranked second across the entire Western Hockey League (WHL).
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
One of the reasons Myatovic is such an effective forechecker is that he is an excellent skater. He can beat out icing calls with ease and is able to change directions without losing speed. His skating also helps him get to open areas on the ice, as he is able to break away from defenders and get into scoring positions. In the defensive zone, his strong skating helps him get to loose pucks, ensures he is generally in shooting lanes and starts the transition game the other way. He is a smart player that understands how to utilize skating to his advantage, which has allowed him to develop into one of the best defensive wingers available in this draft.
After posting 28 points in 60 games last season, Myatovic recorded 30 goals and 30 assists in 68 games for the Thunderbirds this season. He also participated in the Top Prospects Game, where he recorded an assist and three shots on goal in what would be an impressive outing. While he may not have lit the playoffs on fire for Seattle from a scoring perspective, he was an integral part of their run to the WHL Final and subsequent victory. He also played a key role for them in the Memorial Cup, helping the Thunderbirds to the Final, posting a goal and three assists in five games along the way. While his season may not have ended with a championship, he was able to demonstrate throughout just how far his development has come and what he can bring to an NHL team in the future.
One area where Myatovic needs to improve is his creativity. He plays the North-South game well but needs to become more confident with the puck when asked to drive the play. So far, this type of play has worked out well, but if he wants to make it to the next level, he needs to be able to create plays with the puck more frequently rather than relying on his linemates to create opportunities in the offensive zone.
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Nico Myatovic – NHL Draft Projection
Predicting Myatovic’s draft position is hard for the simple fact that he is a winger. He has size, which teams like, but some organizations may want to go with more offensive players rather than a prospect whose best part of their game is in the defensive zone. When considering all the factors, expect him to go somewhere between 50th and 60th at this year’s draft.
“Myatovic is a personal favourite of mine in this class as someone who I think is being overlooked a touch in this year’s draft. He checks a lot of the boxes that you see in players occupying the middle-six in an NHL lineup. He plays a pro-style game using his large frame to get to the dirty areas of the ice.” – Donesh Mazloum, FC Hockey
Latest News & Highlights
“I project Myatovic to be a middle six winger at the next level. He has the tools to be a power forward on a scoring line at the NHL level. I believe he will more than likely come off the board in the second round. Myatovic’s tools are very projectable to the NHL and he will feel like a safe bet for NHL scouts.” – Josh Tessler, SMAHT Scouting
“Big winger that has very good speed and quickness – A mid-round pick in Seattle that has continued to grow and evolve as a player – Top six minutes on a very good team – Plays on both special teams and contributes to the team’s success in many ways – Very good on the penalty kill – Relentless on the puck, and smart in the way he angles attackers away from the middle of the ice.” – Matt Tidcombe, CHL
- Work on the penalty kill
- Winning board battles
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Creativity with the puck on his stick
- Play away from the boards in the offensive zone
- Vision in the offensive zone
Myatovic has all the traits teams look for in a bottom-six winger. He has good speed, can kill penalties and isn’t a defensive liability. He also has a good shot and can win board battles at both ends of the ice. In short, he plays a simple game, doesn’t make mistakes often and never seems to run out of energy on the ice, which are all attributes that should translate well to the pro level.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 7/10
Achievements & Awards
- 2022-23 WHL Champion