2021-22 Team: Hermantown Highschool / Chicago Steel (USHL)
Date of Birth: Aug. 24, 2004
Place of Birth: Hermantown, MN, USA
Ht: 5-foot-9 Wt: 161 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings: 64th (among EU skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 124th
- Craig Button/TSN: 88th
- Smaht Scouting: 91st
As the grandson of a decorated boys hockey coach in Hermantown, Minnesota, and with a father who played eight seasons in the NHL and even won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999, hockey is in Zam Plante’s blood. Zam was a star on his high school hockey team, leading them to the 2022 State championship with 24 goals and 64 points in just 22 games played.
Following that incredible season, Plante received numerous accolades, including being named to the All-USA Today High School Sports Award (HSSA) hockey team, and was a nominee for the National Hockey Player of the Year named by USA today. Besides dominating in high school, he also played 31 games for the Chicago Steel, where he scored 10 goals and 21 points, which is solid production for a player his age.
Related: THW’s 2022 NHL Draft Guide
What sets Plante apart both on the ice and off it is his work ethic. Despite being a bit undersized by NHL standards, you wouldn’t know it based on how hard he plays each and every shift. There is no quit in his game as he will fight to make something happen without putting himself or the team in a bad position.
Another appealing factor for Plante on draft day will be his commitment to play hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth starting in the 2023-24 season. This means he will have one more year to light up the scoresheet in juniors or high school before transitioning to one of the top hockey universities in the USA, where he will continue developing his game before making the jump to play professionally.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Zam Plante – NHL Draft Projection
While he may not be the biggest player in the draft, Plante will still draw a lot of attention from NHL general managers. He has the toolkit to become a middle-six forward, with the perfect mixture of drive and skill.
However, due to his size and the level of competition he was playing in high school, it’s likely that we will be slightly overlooked. This could cause him to slip down the draft board, potentially falling into the late fourth to the early-fifth round range. There is a chance a GM falls in love with his compete level and takes him as early as the third, but the fifth round will likely be where he hears his name called.
Throughout his shifts, he never seemed winded and always looked like he had enough energy to make something happen. He skates well and has a strong base when doing so making him tough to knock off the puck…He was hard to pucks in his own zone and had good coverage as well.Douglas Larson (From Zam Plante Game Report, FCHockey, Oct. 29, 2021)
You can have all the genetics in the world but if you don’t use it and work with it and work hard, then it doesn’t matter… Zam is the first guy in the rink every day. He would come skate eight hours a day if he could get in here.Partrick Andrews, head coach of Hermantown boy’s hockey
Zam is a really fun player to watch… He plays the game with a lot of creativity, he sees the ice and he makes other players better. He plays with pace and the most impressive thing about him is that he has that high-end skill level but he also competes consistently. That will help our team and it bodes well for him in the future.Roger Grillo, Under-18 Team USA General Manager
- Has a non-stop motor
- Great offensive instincts
- Strong skater
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
While he has a solid offensive toolkit, Plante still needs to improve his shot. It’s okay as is right now, but it’s an aspect of his game that could be refined into a real asset that sets him apart from other players.
In the modern NHL, there will always be space for undersized but driven forwards to carve out their own niche. Championship-winning teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning have proven the value of these players, and someone with Plante’s skillset has a very direct path to the NHL.
While the team that drafts him will need to take plenty of time to develop his game, he could easily slot into a third-line role in four to five years. Depending on how his development goes, he could even take up a role on the powerplay or penalty kill as well, giving him new ways to contribute on the ice. Either way, he should have a future in the league.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 3/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6/10, Defense – 7/10
Zam Plante Statistics
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Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.