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Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #3: Beau Akey

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Bruce Curlock
5 months ago
The brand new second-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers, Beau Akey, makes his debut at #3 in the Prospect Countdown.
Position: Defense
Shoots: Right
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: February 11, 2005
Drafted: 2nd round, 2023
Height: 6’0″ / 183 cm
Weight: 174 lbs / 79 kg
Ranking last year: Not ranked
If you ask me what the prototype of an NHL defenseman looks like in five years, Beau Akey would be part of the discussion. Look, I am no homer. Long before Akey was drafted by the Oilers, this player was a favourite of mine.
That stat line in his first year of draft eligibility is very impressive. What makes it more impressive is that while he finished 19th in defence scoring in the OHL, he was the second youngest player in the top 20. Every other player was 18 or older while Akey was playing his 17-year-old season.
However, it is not his scoring that first drew me to the player. It was his skating. This is the part of his game that I think foreshadows what defensemen will skate like in 5 years. Akey is a tremendous four-way skater. Watch this clip of how effortlessly he changes direction three times without loss of speed or balance.

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Here is another example in the offensive zone.

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Now why do I think this is where the game is headed? Look at the development of skating by forwards. These players are faster every year and are much quicker laterally than ever. The successful defender will be the one who can change directions quickly without a loss of speed or balance. The ability to stay attached to the puck carrier by using your feet will be more and more important in the coming years.
Akey also has really nice offensive skills. He’s got excellent vision and is very creative with the puck on his stick.

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Watch this second clip and see how he scans the ice three times before even getting the puck on his stick. This allows him to make a great pass leading to a goal scored.

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Akey also has a very underrated shot. It is not the most powerful shot for certain. However, because he keeps moving his feet, it makes it hard for goalies to stay square and defenders to block it. In addition, it is very accurate.

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Wanna see the definition of constant motion?

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If you are a young player, do this on every shift. It is hard to defend.
Now Akey didn’t fall to the second round for no reason. His size is slightly smallish at 6’0″ and 175 pounds. He will have time to get bigger and stronger and he will need to because his area that requires improvement is in-zone defending. When opponents establish possession, he can struggle in small-area battles.

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For this season, I want to see Akey develop this part of his game. Some of that comes from off-ice work for certain. Some is just using more of what he already has which is plus-level skating. Getting into position before the attacker gets the puck and making it hard for them to make a play. This will offset his smaller size and allow him to transition pucks out of the zone for his team.
The Edmonton Oilers did not have many picks in the 2023 NHL draft, but Beau Akey has the very real potential to be a stalwart on the Oilers blueline for years to come.

Previously in the countdown

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