2022-23 Team: Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School U18
Date of Birth: March 7, 2005
Place of Birth: Minot, SD, USA
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 179 pounds
Position: Right Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 59th (amongst NA skaters)
- McKeen’s Hockey: 103rd
- ESPN: 59th (amongst NA skaters)
During the past two seasons, Nehrign had 65 goals and 172 points in 111 games and was a big part this season in leading Shattuck-St. Mary’s to its seventh Tier I 18U national title. In that tournament, he had five goals and six assists in the tournament’s six games. His 11 points were third-best among all skaters.
The Western Michigan University commit has not found his way onto many draft boards in spite of the fact some feel that he could go as early as the third round in this year’s draft. It may be that Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a Minnesota Prep School, is a “less noticeable” program than other places in the United States. Still, the program has an excellent track record of NHL players in its alumni base, such as Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.
For whatever reason, it is certainly not for a lack of skills. At 18 years old, Nehring is a big, physical player at 6 feet-3, around 170 pounds and growing. He uses his size well and is not afraid to hang out around the crease, using his big frame to wreak havoc on opposing goaltenders’ vision. He also uses his size to protect the puck.
Nehring is not just a big body on the ice. He is an intelligent player that takes good care of the puck. His passing is solid, but he needs to develop softer hands. His on-ice awareness and processing is good. Even playing a physical game, Nehring usually does not take too many unnecessary penalties.
The North Dakota-native isn’t the quickest skater. He doesn’t have breakneck speed, and his stride can be worked on, but his skill and smarts make up for that, as he’s still able to set up his teammates and maintain offensive zone time. He can find the back of the net, as evidenced by his 65 goals in the past two seasons.
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It can be difficult to tell by playing in High School/USA Hockey Tier system, but Nehring appears to have some ability to be an agitator on the ice. He might not end up in the same league as Brad Marchand or Corey Perry, but he can easily get under opponents’ skin.
Zachary Nehring – NHL Draft Projection
Nehring’s physical game and the scoring success married to his playing style have got him noticed. As a player who can be smart, can win battles, and uses his size well, he will likely be selected in Round 4, but don’t be surprised to see him drafted a round earlier.
“Nehring’s a good skater with a really nice scoring touch. He has a high level of compete, battles hard in the corners and along the wall, and can make plays with the puck. He has a nice scoring touch. The nice thing is that with that compete and edge to his game, he throws in 50 penalty minutes as well.” – Brandon Wheat Kings assistant general manager and director of scouting Doug Gasper
“The skill is there and there’s an edge to his game. He is an intelligent player. Nehring is a player to track at this year’s draft.” – Allan Mitchell, The Athletic (Lowetide: Will the Oilers draft (and keep) a world class agitator in 2023?, The Athletic, May 27, 2023)
- Positioning in front of the net
- Willingness to crash the net
- Puck control
- Accurate passer
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Skating mechanics
- Softer hands
Nehring has the potential to be a middle-six forward in the NHL. His physicality and net-front presence will be the skills that any NHL team would covet. While he may not become the type of net-front scorer like Chris Kreider or Joe Pavelski, the possibility of developing into an Alex Killorn or Boone Jenner is within reach.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7, Defense – 7
Nehring was selected 17th overall in the 2020 inaugural WHL U.S. Prospects Draft.