2021-22 Team: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Date of Birth: Apr 23, 2004
Place of Birth: Pickering, ON, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 172 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 29th (among NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 56th
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 49th
- Andrew Forbes’ February Rankings: 47th
- Matthew Zator’s February Rankings: 64th
- Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: 42nd
- SMAHT Scouting Winter Rankings: 40th
- Dobber Prospects April Rankings: 54th
- Recruit Scouting: 48th
While most of the attention has been on potential first overall pick Shane Wright, his Kingston Frontenacs teammate Paul Ludwinski should generate some sort of buzz as well at the 2022 NHL Draft. Much like other players in the Ontario Hockey League, Ludwinski’s rookie season was delayed. Overall, he felt that the time off helped him with his training as he still managed to finish with 43 points in 67 games. According to Pick224, 32 of those 43 points were primary and 25 were at even strength.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
It’s tough to get a gauge on where his game is at offensively, as he needs to elevate his production. He was poised to be a dominating factor after a strong preseason (seven points in four games), but he just didn’t have that same pace in the regular season. It would be foolish to judge him alone based on that small sample, which is why there are many other reasons that make Ludwinski a highly touted name.
Ludwinski’s a very crafty and speedy two-way centreman and possesses a work horse mentality as he’s always relentless, making him standout every shift. Even if the production isn’t there, he’s always dialed in and is determined to make something happen in terms of generating chances whenever he’s on the ice. He possesses great awareness and IQ as he’s constantly following the puck and is always in a great spot positionally. He’s always engaged in battles and doesn’t shy away from that aspect. Whether it’s at even-strength or on the penalty kill, he’s always displaying that mindset and persistence.
Ludwinski’s smooth skating stride is at the top of his game. Even when you don’t think he’s a threat, he can turn on the jets instantly and blow by defenders as he has great acceleration when barging his way through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. He has great mobility and has very strong edges being able to turn on a dime in tight situations, especially along the boards. As a result, he’s able to draw in and evade his opponents and is able to make crisp tape-to-tape passes to spot his teammates.
Ludwinski also has a great shot from long range, as he’s got a quick release and power. He has the intuition to make himself open for a one-time opportunity or to sneak in behind for a quick tap-in goal. When watching him, it’s something that he should utilize more often as he had 104 shots this season. If he’s able to work on bringing in more of a shooter’s mentality and work on his accuracy, then the production will go up and could translate later on in his career.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Paul Ludwinski – NHL Draft Projection
At the beginning of the season, Ludwinski was looking to make a case as a potential late first-round selection. That may not be the case now, but he is still an extremely valuable pick that can be had as a mid to late second round selection in this year’s draft. With the Frontenacs in the playoffs, he still has the opportunity to improve his draft stock.
“Ludwinski doesn’t need to find his way onto the scoresheet to ensure he leaves a positive mark on the game. Whether he is diving to save a puck off the goal line in his own zone or carrying the puck from his own end to the offensive zone, Ludwinski seems to understand how to play the game of hockey with a maturity seldom seen in 17-year-old players. He could be a sneaky good second-round pick this upcoming July.”– Tony Ferrari, The Hockey News
“There’s no doubting the skating ability. There’s no doubting the effort level. He is a consistent source of positive energy on the ice. However, he has yet to show a consistent ability to drive play with the puck on his stick. Too often do his forays through the neutral zone, where he is attacking with speed, result in little truly created. He is currently at his best when he can use his quickness and hustle to hunt down loose pucks and make plays in the slot to set up or finish off chances.”– Brock Otten, McKeen’s Hockey/ OHL Prospects
“A tireless worker who plays the game with a lot of jump, Kingston Frontenacs rookie Paul Ludwinski isn’t the biggest guy on the team at 5-foot-11, 172 lbs., but he battles like a player much bigger.”– Ontario Hockey League
- Work ethic and intensity
- Skating and speed
- Situational awareness
- Playmaking and passing
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Offensive consistency
- Work on shot
- Build up strength
Ludwinski’s ceiling probably would’ve been a little higher if he had the production going for him. Even if the points aren’t there, the smarts, intensity and pace that he plays with makes him a serviceable second or even third line centre. He’s relied on in every situation and he makes the most of it every time that he’s on the ice. The hope is that offense will come and when it does, he can be a very valuable asset in the NHL.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 3/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 5.5/10, Defense 7/10
Ludwinski won a bronze medal for Team Canada at the 2019-20 Youth Olympic Games. He was named rookie of the month for April, where he had 10 points in eight games and was a participant in the CHL Top Prospects Game.