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With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Hunter Brzustewicz

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Brennan Delaney
3 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers should add some defenders to their farm system at this year’s draft. As they say, you can never have too much depth on the blueline.
With Evan Bouchard developing a full-time NHLer and Philip Broberg seemingly on the cusp of doing the same, the Oilers don’t have many defencemen in the farm system. They traded right-shot defenceman Michael Kesslering for Nick Bjugstad, while Vincent Desharnais has graduated to a “sixth or seventh defenceman” type of player.
In terms of recent drafts, 2022 sixth-rounder Nikita Yevseyev performed well as an 18-year-old in the KHL with the Kazan Ak-Bars. Moreover, 2021 third-rounder Luca Muzenberger recently played his second season with the University of Vermont, and 2021 seventh-round pick is set to turn pro next season. 
The Oilers aren’t set to make their first pick until late in the second round of this summer’s draft, but there’ll still be plenty of quality blueline prospects available to them. Today, let’s talk about Hunter Brzustewicz.

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Hunter Brzustewicz Scouting Report and Profile

Position: Defence
Shoots: Right 
Nationality: United States 
Date of Birth: November 29, 2004
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 187 lbs

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Hunter Brzustewicz was born just outside Detroit, Michigan, and started his junior career with the U.S. National Development Team in the United States Hockey League. Originally drafted by the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), his rights were traded to the Kitchener Rangers early in 2022.
This past season, the 18-year-old made the transition to the OHL and scored six goals on the back end, while adding an additional 51 assists for a total of 57 points in 68 games.
In terms of where he’ll be selected, Brzustewicz ranks anywhere from 20th to 91st. Daily Faceoff has him at No. 54, while TSN’s Craig Button has him at 61st. It’s entirely possible that the 18-year-old will be chosen before Edmonton’s first pick, but he’d complement the farm system wonderfully.
Brzustewicz’s calling card is his strong skating. Per Dobberprospects, his edge work is borderline elite while also having great stride mechanics. Another aspect of his game that shines is his composure under pressure, while also being a great puck mover due to his intelligence.
“Brzustewicz is the exact type of player a contending team will rush to the podium to draft in the back end of the first round in the 2023 draft. He is a smooth-skating, intelligent right-shot defenseman who is calm under pressure and should be able to play an NHL role sooner than most other defensemen in the class. While he lacks high-end puck skills, a threatening shot, and aggressive transition defensive habits – such as a tight gap – he does a lot of things very well and simplifies the game, which makes him a valuable diffuser of play under forechecking pressure.” – Sebastian High, Dobber Prospects 
He lacks a heavy shot and struggles to close the gap on defensive transitions, but he has a high floor and should be NHL-ready in just a few seasons. The Oilers could definitely do with more defensemen in their prospect pool, and if Hunter Brzustewicz is available, he would be a nice fit for the Oilers.

Previously in this series…


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