With the 26th overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild have selected defenseman Carson Lambos from the Winnipeg ICE of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
About Carson Lambos
Being ranked No. 11 by NHL Central Scouting amongst North American skaters coming into this draft, Lambos was one of the most highly touted defensemen available this year. Of the top North American players, he ranks fourth out of all defensemen.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, Lambos has shown his worth on the offensive end. He possesses a potent shot and the stickhandling ability to manipulate defenders to improve the location of his shot. He is a smart player with high hockey IQ on both sides of the ice. He knows how to fake out defenders to make the right play offensively and deceive defenders, also winning those 1-on-1 battles on the back end.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Once projected in the top ten – even top five – Carson Lambos may have fallen slightly in some rankings, but shouldn’t be overlooked when talking about the defensive prospects in the 2021 NHL Draft. He has the size and the skill to be a fringe top-pairing blueliner, while a second-pairing spot should be a guarantee for the 18-year-old. And while he’s fallen into the latter part of the first round, Lambos will have a quick impact on whichever team does draft him.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“His injury this season certainly didn’t help his case, but those that’ve had their eye on him know exactly what he brings to the lineup. His maturity in his own end is unlike many others in this draft and his ability to be an offensive threat as well makes him a double threat.
“When it comes to his defensive play, Lambos is strong on dump-ins and has the ability to turn the puck back up ice quickly both in seeing the seams to move the puck as well as using his smooth skating to get it out of his own end. He pushes opponents to the outside and when it comes to one-on-one battles forces other players into low-danger opportunities.
“While he won’t be the biggest guy on the backend, Lambos doesn’t shy away from the physical play and goes into the dirty areas along the boards to retrieve pucks. He’s played in all situations, including the power play and on the penalty kill with significant success.
“His skating and endurance alone should make him a good project for teams looking for a top-four defenceman in the next few years and, assuming he drops in the first round, he could be the steal of the first round.”
How This Affects the Wild’s Plans
With Minnesota losing Carson Soucy in the expansion draft to Seattle and long-time blueliner Ryan Suter getting bought out, Lambos gives them another defenseman that factors into their future a few years down the line. He joins a core with Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, and Jonas Brodin, so he still has a wealth of talented players to learn from in Minnesota.
He will likely play another year in the WHL, especially after COVID-19 cut his season to just 15 games while he was on loan to JYP’s U20 team in Finland. However, once he arrives, he will be a piece of Minnesota’s defense core for years to come while being able to ease into the NHL game alongside some talented players with a chance to compete for a playoff spot.
Colby Guy is a writer for the Florida Panthers department here at THW. He’s a senior at Florida Atlantic University and currently serves as a football contributor, social media contributor and photographer for FAU Owls Nest.
Previously, Colby has written for FanSided as a New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators writer. He also served as Editor-In-Chief for FAU’s University Press. You can find him on Twitter at @ColbyDGuy.