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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Austin Wagner

Cole Hamilton Avatar
June 4, 2015


Get to Know Austin Wagner

Date of Birth: June 23, 1997 (17)
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 178 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Left Wing
Team: Regina Pats

Austin Wagner is a big two way winger for the Regina Pats who had a breakout season in his draft year. After registering just two points last season as a 4th line forward, Wagner emerged this year as a major role player for the Pats, registering 20 goals and flying up draft boards almost as quickly as he flies through the neutral zone.


What Scouts See

Cody Nickolet, WHL Scout for Future Considerations Hockey:

Austin Wagner is one of those fun surprises in a draft year. He showed massive improvement in his game and production compared to the 4th line guy who had one goal for Regina last year. He’s got a good frame and is a flat out burner. His size and speed combo are enough to get him drafted all by themselves. I do have some questions about his hands and ability to process the game at a super high level, but there’s no doubt he’s tracking as a potential top 60 pick.

ISS Hockey

Very impressed with his size and skating. Big body who looks bigger than he’s listed. Dangerous every shift due to his speed. Has some grease to his game and has the ability to get under opponents skin.

What BSN Avalanche sees

When Austin Wagner gets himself up to top speed, he is an absolute freight train on the ice. The 6’1”/6’2” winger has an explosive first stride and follows it up with impressive top speed. He’s a big body who can fly down the ice and he has a quick wrist shot which he loves to use on the breakaway. Wagner’s defensive game isn’t particularly evolved, but he does work hard in the defensive zone and was recognized by Regina’s coaching staff with lots of penalty killing time.

After scoring just 2 points last year, Wagner managed 20 goals and 39 points this season. The offensive growth for Wagner is encouraging, but there are still big questions about his offensive capabilities. Wagner lacks high end passing, shooting, or offensive creativity, and uses his feet and big frame to generate most of his points. He’s something of a one-trick pony, and when he doesn’t have time and space to get up to full speed, he can disappear in the offensive zone.

Defensively, Wagner is solid but unspectacular. With his lanky frame, he has a long reach that he uses to shut off passing lanes, but his defensive stickwork needs improvement, and players with high end puck handling often take advantage of him. Overall, Wagner is a solid two-way winger with a low talent ceiling, but with the physical stature and skating to make him intriguing for NHL scouts.

NHL Potential

Because his offensive toolkit is limited, Wagner doesn’t project as a high scorer in the NHL. If he can refine his physical game and continue to develop defensively, he could be a Top 9 winger who brings some offense to a team’s third line.

Expected Draft Position

Wagner’s rankings top out with NHL Central Scouting Services as the 35th overall North American skater. Others like Future Considerations and Craig Button rank him as a mid-late second rounder.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

Wagner is a very raw prospect but brings the kind of size and speed that the Avalanche would be very interested in at forward. While the organization might be better off looking for a player with more offensive upside in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, Wagner could be a quality depth piece for an Avalanche prospect pool nearly devoid of future NHL forwards.

For a look at some of the other forwards ranked near Wagner, check out these prospect profiles:
Christian Fischer
Yakov Trenin
Nicholas Roy
Erik Foley
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

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