Riley Heidt – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Riley Heidt

2022-23 Team: Prince George Cougars
Date of Birth: Mar. 25, 2005
Place of Birth: Saskatoon, SK
Height: 5-11, Weight: 178 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: C
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible


If teams are looking for a dynamic playmaking center that is a pain to play against, Riley Heidt may be exactly the prospect they seek. The Prince George Cougars forward has taken a major step this season and is widely projected to be a top-20 selection in this year’s draft. Whether it is his speed, playmaking skills or willingness to get in on the forecheck, he has the ability to be a game-changer every time he steps over the boards.

Riley Heidt Prince George Cougars
Riley Heidt, Prince George Cougars (Bob Frid/CHL)

When Heidt has the puck on his stick, he is one of the most dangerous players in the Western Hockey League (WHL). A dynamic playmaker, his 72 assists this season tied Connor Bedard for the most in the WHL, while he led the league with 39 power-play assists. He also showed that he is not afraid to get the puck on the net, recording 25 goals and 170 shots in 68 regular season games.

One reason Heidt was able to rack up the points this year is that he is rarely standing still, regardless of whether he has the puck or not. He is always looking for a way to either pull defenders toward him, freeing up a teammate, or getting open with his stick on the ice to collect a pass. This is one of the reasons he has had so much success up to this point and should help him transition to the pro game, where time and space are often at a premium.

Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide

Another reason why Heidt has developed into a can’t-miss prospect is his skating ability. He has great speed, which allows him to get in on the forecheck to cut off clearing attempts by defenders, and he’s strong enough on his skates to win board battles against bigger defencemen. As for when the puck is on his stick, which is most of the time, he is able to maintain his speed as he transitions the puck into the offensive zone, always keeping his head up and scanning the ice for available teammates. A shifty player that is hard to catch, he often forces defenders out of position thanks to his strong edge work, which often leads to a scoring chance either for him or one of his teammates.

The highlight of Heidt’s season was the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, where he was Player of the Game for Team Red. During the game, he showed off his strong hand-eye coordination by attempting what is often referred to as “The Michigan” midway through the second period. He also registered four shots on goal, including one that rang off the post in the third period. Overall, it was an extremely successful night for the Prince George Cougars forward, as he was able to showcase why he is one of the top offensive prospects available in this upcoming draft.

One concerning issue when it comes to Heidt is his ability to remain calm and composed in big moments. For the second straight postseason, he received a one-game suspension, with this year’s being due to an illegal check to the head. There is also a pattern of him disappearing late in games that his team is losing despite having a strong game up until that point. He is one of the most talented players on the ice night after night, but he needs to find a way to become more consistent in big moments.

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Riley Heidt – NHL Draft Projection

There is no question that Heidt is a first-round talent; the question is, where will he be picked? The middle picks in the first round this year are going to be tough to predict, but it is safe to say he will be selected anywhere between 12th and 20th overall. Some potential teams to watch that could draft him, barring trades, are the Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes.


“Riley Heidt is one of the more premier offensive play drivers in this class. He loves to play in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick. When given time and space with the puck, Heidt is simply a killer. He has a lethal shot, that personally I think gets overlooked because of his great play making ability.”- Ben Jordan, SMAHT Scouting.

“Heidt’s versatility is his bread and butter, as he can play in any scenario. Down a goal, up a goal, on the power play or the penalty kill, coaches aren’t concerned when Heidt hops over the boards, and rightly so. His feistiness makes him a truly impressive forechecker. He boasts solid board-battle mechanics as well, making him a headache for opposing defenders below their goal line.” – Hadi Kalakeche, DobberProspects.

“Heidt has been pouring in points and making it look easy in the minor hockey ranks for years, so it comes as no surprise that he has become one of the WHL’s top scorers in short order. He really is an unimpeachable offensive talent, capable of beating the defense in a myriad of ways.”- Donesh Mazloum, FC Hockey.


  • Playmaking
  • Puck control while at top speed
  • Strong on the forecheck
  • Good positioning in the defensive zone

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Putting on more weight
  • Consistency when trailing late in games
  • Using his shot more often

NHL Potential

Heidt has all the characteristics to be a solid middle-six center who also gets a chance on the power play. He is strong at both ends of the ice, and his passing is already at an NHL level. If he can work on the small details of his game, as well as his overall consistency, he could make the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later.


Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense – 9/10, Defense – 7/10

Achievements & Awards

  • 2018-19 SAAHL U15 Champion
  • 2018-19 SAAHL U15 Most Assists
  • 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup Gold Medal
  • 2022-23 WHL (BC) Second All-Star Team
  • 2022-23 WHL Most Assists


Heidt focused on consistency prior to 2023 NHL Draft

Riley Heidt Stats


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