Riley Kidney – 2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Riley Kidney

2020-21 Team: Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Date of Birth: March 25, 2003
Place of Birth: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 168 pounds
Shoots: L
Position: Center
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible

Rankings

Riley Kidney is a name to remember going into this draft. One of the better two-way centers in the draft, he relies on his work ethic to outperform others. Kidney, the 11th overall pick of the 2019 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft, has held his own and risen up the draft rankings. While other centers may be more efficient in point production, he takes pride in his skill set and ability to be an impactful center who can do more than just produce points.

Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide

Kidney will have to take his skating, or lack thereof, to the next level to be able to really stand out, as his skating is the only thing keeping him from being mentioned a lot higher. Kidney does have a quick first step, then he seems to glide along with the play, but his clean edging and good footwork are top-notch. He concentrates on defense first but does have a hard, crisp outlet pass that gets the play going the other way. He can quickly process the play around him and keep one step ahead of the play. One of the things he is best at is zone entries and breakout plays, often resulting in a good scoring chance. He often shows deception, which allows him to find lanes around defenders. His 6.9 breakouts per game and 6.9 zone entries were tops in the league before the covid break, playing only six games.

Another thing that makes Kidney stand out is his playmaking ability. He can create in the offensive zone, whether on the power play or regular strength and make passes through the skates of the defense onto the stick of a teammate. While his playmaking ability is his calling card and he can also shoot as well. His shot lacks a bit of power, but it is accurate.

Riley Kidney Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Riley Kidney, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (Acadie-Bathurst Titan/Tyson Gray)

Kidney has an incredible hockey IQ, and it shows on the ice with his creativity and ability to find the open teammate. He has the hockey sense to read the ice prior to the reception of the puck and adapt to the situation on the spot. While Kidney does have an amazing upside, time will tell if he lives up to his full potential, and the team that drafts him will decide that.

During the 2017-18 season, with the ACA Rangers Major Bantam “C” team of the NSMBHL, Kidney played 32 games, amassing 34 goals, 46 assists for 80 points and also had 46 penalty minutes. This league is far from the NHL, but this shows the kind of potential he has. This scoring threat carried that scoring ability to the QMJHL, where, in his two years in the league, has amounted to produce 18 goals and 53 assists for 71 points in 92 games, or a 0.77 points per game average.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Riley Kidney – NHL Draft Projection

Kidney looks to be a 3rd round pick in this draft. A two-way center who is capable of fitting into any team’s top six, he has all of the tools to be successful. He could be a defensive specialists and play a 3rd line role, or he could be a top-line point producer once he reaches the NHL. If Kidney can fix his ability to skate faster, he could once again rise up the draft chart before the draft happens. With that said, there are plenty of NHL players, Hall of Famers included, that have had skating issues but resulted in successful, lengthy careers.

Strengths

  • Playmaking ability
  • Deceptive shot
  • High hockey IQ

Under Construction

  • Skating needs improvement

NHL Potential

We have seen players with high upside drafted and become defensive specialists. We have also seen defensive players drafted and become NHL stars offensively. Whichever role he is drafted for, Kidney will shine. He has too much talent not to succeed in any role and with any organization. He also leads by example and has the potential to be a captain of a franchise during his NHL career. He is still very young and has to learn the pro game once drafted, but he has come a long way over the past couple of years. He has tremendous upside that will. His game is reminiscent of Steve Yzerman, meaning he can produce offensively but at the same time be defensively responsible. If he can be half of the player Yzerman was, we should count ourselves lucky.

Awards

  • 2016-17 NSMBHL Champion
  • 2016-17 NSMBHL Rookie All-Star Team
  • 2017-18 NSMBHL First All-Star Team
  • 2017-18 NSMBHL Most Assists (46)
  • 2018-19 NSMBHL Rookie All-Star Team

Riley Kidney Statistics

Video


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