2022-23 Team: Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Date of Birth: May 30, 2005
Place of Birth: Edmonton, AB
Height: 6-foot, Weight: 179 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
Few players in the Western Hockey League (WHL) love to throw hits more than Saige Weinstein. The Spokane Chiefs defender takes every opportunity he can to lay out the puck carrier, whether that be in the middle of the ice or along the boards. A player who stands up for his teammates and doesn’t back away from a challenge, he will add some toughness to whichever organization ends up drafting him.
What makes Weinstein such an effective defender is his physical play. He can separate the puck from the puck carrier through big hits and makes life difficult for anyone trying to screen his goaltender. This style of play has also led him to be successful along the boards as he is able to pin the opposing attacker against the board, allowing his teammates to come in and steal the puck, killing any cycle game that may have started.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
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The transition game is another area of strength for Weinstein, thanks to his strong skating. He is able to carry the puck through the neutral zone and break into the offensive zone either by carrying or dumping the puck in for the forwards to chase. A prospect who always has his head up and is scanning the ice, he is very careful when the puck is on his stick, ensuring he doesn’t allow a bad turnover that could create a chance going the other way.
This season, Weinstein set new career highs in goals with four, assists with 14 and points with 18 despite playing in two fewer games compared to last season. He also established a new career high in penalty minutes with 96, which ranked 15th in the WHL. Despite the Chiefs missing the playoffs, he showed steady development over the year, which should lead to once again setting career highs next season.
Weinstein has a lot of potential but needs to develop more tools if he wants to be successful in the pros. Being physical is fine, but he won’t be able to rely on that when facing off against bigger competition after junior. Heading into the 2023-24 season, the hope is he can work on different aspects like poke checks and stick positioning in order to become a stronger defender.
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Saige Weinstein- NHL Draft Projection
Weinstein should hear his name called for the simple fact that general managers love to add prospects who can bring a physical game to their organization. He also has Team Canada experience, winning gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup before the season started, which is always looked at as a positive. For these reasons, expect him to be picked somewhere in the fifth round.
“Right off the bat, you can see the power, acceleration, form, and pacing of Weinstein’s skating stride. The best parts of his skating allow him to close out attacking lanes as players move through the neutral zone.” – Joel Henderson, FC Hockey.
Weinstein is a defenseman whose game doesn’t quite have any standout traits, but plays a hard game in his own zone. This being my first viewing, I noticed how much he liked to use his body while defending.”- Mitch Savard, FC Hockey.
- Winning board battles
- Play in front of his own net
- Breaking the puck out of his own zone
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Stick position
- Contribution in the offensive zone
- Staying out of the box
If Weinstein can continue to develop his game and not rely so much on his physicality, there is a path for him to become a bottom-pair defender at the pro level. He also needs to continue to elevate areas of his game, like his skating, to ensure he can keep up with the faster tempo of the NHL. This is a prospect with a lot of potential, so betting against him at this point could be a big mistake.
Risk – 1.5/5, Reward – 1.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 3/10, Defense – 6/10
Achievements & Awards
- 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup Gold Medal