2015-16 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (#22)
Date of Birth: July 28, 1998
Place of Birth: Beaumont, AB
Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 180 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 53rd (June)
- THW Alternate: 62nd (June)
- THW War Room: 65th (May)
- Future Considerations: unranked (June)
- ISS: unranked (June)
- Bob McKenzie: 77th (June)
- Craig Button: 48th (June)
The Moose Jaw Warriors boast a couple of high-end 2016 NHL Draft prospects in the form of forward Brett Howden and goaltender Zach Sawchenko, who have both drawn a lot of attention for scouts since they joined the Western Hockey League. Their teammate Noah Gregor has avoided the spotlight a bit as a result, but he’s quietly developed into a really strong prospect in his own right.
After missing the lion’s share of his rookie season in 2014-15 due to injury, Gregor suited up for every single game this past season and really impressed with his 200-foot play. In particular, Gregor seemed to thrive within coach Tim Hunter’s systems – he insisted on positioning in the defensive zone but allowed players to be creative in other areas. The adherence to structure helped Gregor figure out gaps and blocking passing and shooting lanes in the defensive zone, and really contributed to his ability to create turnovers and generate chances in the offensive zone.
Ranked 45th among North American skaters, Gregor was one of the largest risers in the Central Scouting rankings between their midterm and final editions. His offensive game is arguably underrated, as he generated 73 points over 72 games and actually out-scored Howden this season. Gregor is a versatile forward with few weaknesses and an effective all-around game. If he can keep honing his skills in the offensive zone, particularly making more rapid determinations on whether to shoot or not, he might be a steal in the early part of the NHL Draft.
NHL Draft Projection:
Gregor is likely to go in the mid-to-late second round, but he could also slide into the third round.
“At the start of the season, scouts weren’t paying too much attention to Gregor, who missed most of last year due to a collarbone injury. But his play with the Warriors has made him one of the biggest surprises in the WHL and now scouts can’t get enough of his quickness, his smarts with the puck and his compete level.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“If you compare the ice time that [Brett] Howden had compared to him – and Howden was at the U18 world championships, at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, so lots of hockey – and Gregor missed almost a whole year and to be caught up and have had a real good year is impressive. And that’s a testament to him putting a lot of time in when he was hurt and then when he was healthy more time and hard work all summer.” – Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter
- Really smart player in terms of positioning and anticipation.
- Strong passer, in terms of finding open lanes and players.
- Good skater, with strong mobility and acceleration.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Occasionally has trouble with corner battles, and bulking up a bit could help.
- Needs to improve his offensive decision-making (in terms of whether to shoot or pass).
If he keeps improving, Gregor projects as a strong second line center along the lines of Derek Stepan or Frans Nielsen.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offense 8/10, Defense 7.5/10
Gregor represented Canada at the World Under-18 Championship.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.