For five years, I’ve been awarding one NHL Draft prospect the Trey Fix-Wolansky award. It has honestly been one of the most fun things for me to keep track of, and I decided to blow it out a bit this year with all the nominees and a little bit about them.
If you’re not familiar with the Trey Fix-Wolansky award, here’s a brief synopsis. It started in 2017 when I saw one game of Trey Fix-Wolansky and thought “dang this kid is good...why is no one talking about him?” I looked up his stats and he wasn’t producing a massive amount of points and he was listed as 5’8 tall. I ranked him based off of one viewing and with the caveat that he wasn’t going to get picked.
The criteria has changed a little bit since its inception, but it still remains largely unchanged. The criteria being:
1.) I wouldn’t be shocked if the player wasn’t drafted at all.
2.) Have to be way off the beaten path. There may be a mention here or there, but no one is talking about this player as one of the ones they’d want to take with a late-round pick.
Past winners of the Trey Fix-Wolansky Award:
2017: Trey Fix-Wolansky
2018: Trey Fix-Wolansky
2019: Raphael Harvey-Pinard
2020: Joe Miller
2021: Quinn Hutson
The Honorable Mentions
Frankie D’Ancona, F, USHL
I first saw D’Ancona at the Hlinka camp last year and I thought he was one of the better players on his team that included Gavin Hayes and Mikey DeAngelo. He wasn’t playing much in the USHL this year but I was watching Cole Knuble and D’Ancona had back-to-back shifts where he was outstanding against Knuble. On one he stole the puck and did a spin-o-rama pass for a high danger shot and the other he got tripped and stick handled on his knees past a guy and then got up and made a pass.
Overall, he never really did much to warrant a ranking. His production was poor, and his skating never seemed to have much pace. However, he gets credit for his limited viewings and hopefully with more opportunity D’Ancona will make a leap for next year’s Trey Fix-Wolansky award.
Ethan Beyer, RHD, HS-Prep
With Kazimier Sobieski out of the MacPhearson tournament; I came away impressed with Beyer’s ability to move the puck offensively and his ability to run the power play. I thought he was Shattuck’s best defensemen in the tournament and was surprised to see his counting stats so low when I looked him up after the tournament. He’s listed at 5’11 so a bit smaller, but he’s a player that I would be shocked if he got drafted but is definitely one I’ll keep an eye on the next couple years to see how he develops. No current plans for next year are listed on EliteProspects, but he is slated to join Arizona State for the 2023-24 season.
5.) Roenick Jodoin, F, OHL
Jordan Malette at Smaht sent me a message asking me if I’ve ever watched Jodoin play a few months back. I threw on a game of his at random and within the first couple minutes of watching, Jodoin did this:
2022's leading candidate??— Austin (@BMaster716) January 21, 2022
Roenick Jodoin pic.twitter.com/7ey0eOEoZR
Jodoin is slippery with the puck on his stick, and I’ve been impressed with the way he thinks the game as well. He’s 5’7 and had 17 points in 47 games this past year so I don’t think he’s going to get drafted. However, if he’s able to get a little faster and gets an opportunity to play up in the lineup next I can see myself really liking the player. He’s also got a lot of runway as he’s one of the youngest players in this draft with his September 10th birthday.
4.) Zaccharya Wisdom, RW, USHL
The younger brother to Zayde Wisdom; Zaccharya showed a tremendous motor in my two viewings of him and plays with pace and grit. He was tremendous in transition as well even though he wasn’t used as the primary puck facilitator on his line. He had 23 points in 53 games this past year with playing a very minimal role (I think he was at 9 and 12 minutes total ice time in my two viewings), but there’s a lot to like in his game especially the grit and motor he possesses that I would swing on him in the late rounds.
3.) Jacob Guevin*, RHD, USHL
Guevin is an overage defenseman who has great passing and deception as an offensive leaning d-man. He is able activate off the blue line and thread passes into dangerous areas, and I really liked his transition ability using the pass. He doesn’t try to do too much with his puck-handling, and is super effective in moving pucks efficiently.
His skating has always been a bit of an issue. Can he defend at the NHL level without having the physicality to separate players from the puck and with clunky backward skating? I think that is going to be the deciding factor with whether or now he gets selected by in the NHL draft.
I think he should. I’d be between him and another player on this list in the late rounds to bolster the RHD depth pool.
2.) Colin Kessler, C, HS-Prep
I was the MacPhearson this past year and one player caught my eye that I wasn’t expecting to, and that was Colin Kessler. He stood out in the game against St. Andrew’s where his line was able to put up big numbers against 2022 eligible Matthew Morden and company. Kessler was the focal point of the Culver attack and also drew the ire of the opposing team’s best defenders in every game. It didn’t matter: Kessler did what he wanted.
He deserves to have at least one highlight clip on here.— Austin (@BMaster716) July 6, 2022
In honor of the Trey Fix-Wolansky award article being submitted in an hour
Colin Kessler pic.twitter.com/ByKJE9JjIz
His skating will have to get better, but I did enjoy watching him live at the MacPhearson and he’ll go to the USHL next year before going to Vermont. I anticipate he goes undrafted, and depending on what he does in the USHL he may be a mid-late round pick in 2023.
1.) Zach Bookman**, RHD, AJHL
Last year I couldn’t decide between Bookman and Hutson, and eventually picked Hutson because I thought he had the higher chance to get drafted in 2021. Hutson didn’t get drafted (he should this year!), but Bookman had his coming out party in 2021-22. The AJHL and CJHL defenseman of the year put up a whopping 102 points in 55 regular season games. This, plus my early adopting him last year by ranking him, makes him the 2022 Trey Fix-Wolansky award winner.
As I say that Bookman then does this pic.twitter.com/xEkXRAaSIC— Austin (@BMaster716) January 1, 2021
I loved Bookman’s skating, puck skill, and overall demeanor on the ice last year and loved it even more this year. When Bookman is on the ice the games flows through him. He dictates where the puck is going to go, he activates and is super aggressive. He was given the green light to do what he wanted offensively this year and it showed. His defensive game in the AJHL was great. His skating and aggressive nature really played well there.
It's unlikely to see a guy get picked out of the AJHL after he's already been passed over in two drafts, but if I were an NHL scout I'd be banging the draft table in the 6th or 7th round for Bookman. He's a high-end skater, he's confident, and his defending is pretty solid too pic.twitter.com/YKxgbOjuw9— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) January 20, 2022
He’s a double overager in the AJHL. I understand the argument to take a chance on an 18 year old in a better league and hope they can grow into what Bookman is.
I am pounding the table for Bookman in the 6th round. You could talk me into earlier rounds. Give me all of the Zach Bookman stock.
Zach Bookman— Sabremetrix (@Sabremetrix) June 24, 2022
Played his DY+2 in the AJHL, but absolutely dominated with 102 points in 55 games (as a d-man!). Always activating in the offensive zone, very entertaining player. Committed to Merrimack
Range: Late roundspic.twitter.com/la93r0btlO
3 Bold Predictions for the 2022 NHL Draft
1.) Brad Lambert is picked in the 20s. He then decides he’s going to play in the WHL next year. He starts the year by being >1.5 ppg player at the World Juniors in August, and then goes and puts up 100 points in the WHL regular season. Everyone in Buffalo puts their collective foot in their mouth.
2.) Seamus Casey and Lane Hutson will have more combined points in their NHL careers than Ryan Chesley and Owen Pickering.
3.) Devin Kaplan is a 20 goal scorer in the NHL within the first two seasons he’s in the league.