2020-21 Team: USNTDP Juniors (USHL) #60
Date of Birth: Feb 27, 2003
Place of Birth: Midland, MI, USA
Ht: 6-foot-6 Wt: 209 pounds
Position: Right Defenseman
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 58th (amongst NA skaters)
- Neutral Zone Hockey: 30th
- Smaht Scouting: 67th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 52nd
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 83rd
Roman Schmidt is a massive, physical right-handed blueliner who uses his 6-foot-6, 209-pound frame to his advantage on every puck battle. He has been deployed in complementary and penalty-killing roles for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) and has only accumulated 14 points in 45 games as a result. He stands out from other bottom-pair defensive defensemen in the United States Hockey League (USHL) by his impressive body checking ability, and his defensive game is also very well-refined for an 18-year-old. He is at his most useful when defending in-zone, using his broad shoulders and sheer strength to shove off USHL forwards with more than enough ease and create loose pucks for his teammates to dig free.
Schmidt’s understanding of body positioning, lane coverage and box-outs when defending the cycle are all useful, translatable tools for a player looking to establish himself as a proper, stay-at-home defenseman. It is inconsistent at times, especially against tougher opponents such as the Chicago Steel, but he has shown on more than one occasion that he is very comfortable defending his own zone.
His skating is average among defensemen but surprising given his massive frame. He does not currently have an NHL skating stride by any means, but his agility, pivoting and acceleration are all standouts given how massive he is, and he will only improve with post-draft development time and attention to details. His strides are a bit short and heavy, but he shows quick feet on crossovers, indicating that there is a foundation to build upon in that regard.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
He also has a tendency to take shots very often, to the point of ignoring an open teammate with a gaping net. Shooting often would be a great habit for a defenseman with an impressive shot, but Schmidt’s shooting leaves much to be desired; he relies too much on his upper-body strength to generate velocity on the puck, leading to a shot that is probably 3 percent of what it could be. His passing ability both on breakouts and from the offensive blue line is also an aspect of his game that he could work on, although he is decent at throwing a strong, tape-to-tape pass when the lane is there. He starts to hesitate the second the lane closes down, however, which is not a good sign given how much tighter the game is in the NHL.
Roman Schmidt – NHL Draft Projection
Team USA’s elimination in the qualifier rounds of the U18 World Championship was difficult on Schmidt, who was eagerly looking to add to his stock and climb up some rankings. In March, Baracchini had him 83rd overall; Forbes has since released his top 128 of May, which had Schmidt 77th. He has not climbed up too much, nor has his name been in the spotlight much this season. A third-round pick is, therefore, a safe projection for the USNTDP defenseman.
“Effective defensive player with a good stick and reach, but leaves you wanting more offensively. Typical for late birthday players.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
“Schmidt is a well rounded two-way defenseman, making his presence felt all over the ice … already has a high-quality defensive game, strong transition game, and is surprisingly mobile for a man his stature.” Zach Weil, FC Hockey
- Defensive awareness
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Passing accuracy
Schmidt is big, strong, can skate well and defends admirably. He will likely find a suitor in the NHL, as many teams will see a 6-foot-6 right-handed defenseman and not ask themselves many more questions. He will likely play at least one NHL game, but he could very well end up with a lengthy career as a complementary piece on teams looking to add a physical element to their back end. If he works off his current toolset and shows the willingness to learn the technicalities of the puck-moving game, he could become a decent middle-pair defenseman and be a relative steal in the third round, but he will likely end up as a bottom-pair or depth defenseman with penalty-killing responsibilities.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 2/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 4/10, Defense – 8/10
In 2018-19, Schmidt won both the GTHL U16 Championship and the OHL Cup with the Don Mills Flyers. He also won a silver medal for Team USA at the U17 World Championships in 2019-20.