With the 2022 NHL Draft just weeks away, the Washington Capitals are getting their ducks in a row, as they decide what they want to do with the No. 20 pick.
In the 2021 NHL Draft, the team went defense-heavy, taking four blueliners in Vincent Iorio, Brent Johnson, Joaquim Lemay and Dru Krebs and also selecting goaltender Chase Clark while adding just one forward: center Haakon Hanelt.
Nicklas Backstrom’s current situation and Tom Wilson’s ACL surgery recently gave way to questions regarding the organization’s forward depth, especially on the right side. And now, with regard to the future, the Capitals may be more drawn toward taking a center or winger in the first round.
Fortunately, this year’s draft pool has several talented options, and one name that might stand out is right wing Jimmy Snuggerud.
Snuggerud is ranked No. 11 among North American skaters for this draft and is committed to play NCAA hockey with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. He spent 2021-22 with the U.S. National Team Development Program, dishing 24 goals and 39 assists for 63 points in 59 games. He also played 26 USHL games with the USNTDP Juniors, racking up six goals and 20 assists.
Looking at Snuggerud’s skillset, he has a wicked shot and is able to shoot the puck from pretty much anywhere, whether it’s in tight, from a sharp angle or from the slot. He is a powerful skater with a quick release and has great speed and vision that helps him fly somewhat under the radar in the offensive zone and catch his opponents by surprise. Not only that, but he has quick hands and isn’t afraid to battle hard for the puck and be aggressive on the forecheck.
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) January 4, 2022
At the other end of the ice, the 6-1, 186-pound winger displays good defensive awareness and uses his size and strength to his advantage. He reads the play very well and can also get the puck out of danger while moving it effectively up the ice. While his playmaking and passing can improve, that’ll come with more time and development.
The 18-year-old also hails from an impressive hockey family. His grandfather, Jim Westby, and his father, Dave Snuggerud, both laced ’em up for Team USA and the University of Minnesota. Dave also played for the Buffalo Sabres. Snuggerud’s cousin, Luc, also went to the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Draft and is currently playing in Slovakia. His sister, Ellie, also plays.
Looking at his future, he is likely to be a strong middle-6 forward and solid NHL goal scorer. He has plenty of potential and upside and several years to grow. Right now, Washington needs more depth on the right side, and the Capitals could score big with Snuggerud, one of many impressive products from the USNTDP this draft.