With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Luca Cagnoni?

Photo credit:Megan Connelly / CHL Images
Ryley Delaney
10 months ago
The last time the Edmonton Oilers drafted from the Portland Winter Hawks was in 1994.
Well, Caleb Jones eventually played for the United States-based Western Hockey League team, but that was after he was drafted. Today, we’ll be looking at our first left-handed shooting defenceman, Luca Cagnoni, who last played for the Portland Winter Hawks.
The cream of the crop for Oilers left-handed defenceman is Philip Broberg, who was drafted eighth overall in the 2019 draft. The smooth-skating defender played 46 games in 2022-23, scoring a goal and adding seven assists. He also played nine playoff games, albeit in sheltered minutes. Believe it or not, he’s not a bust and is expected to get more opportunities next season.
Their cupboards for left-shot defenceman thin out after that. Markus Niemeläinen and Cam Dineen both have NHL experience but it’s difficult to call them prospects at their age. The Oilers drafted NCAA product Luca Munzenberger with the 90th overall pick in the 2021 draft, but he’s a long way away from NHL action. The same goes for Max Wanner and Nikita Yevseyev. 
The Oilers could definitely use an offensive defenceman in the farm system for the position, and Luca Cagnoni could fill that role.


Luca Cagnoni Scouting Report and Profile

Position: Defenceman
Shoots: Left 
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: December 21, 2004
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 183 lbs

The 18-year-old was born in Burnaby, British Columbia, and has spent his junior career playing for the Portland Winter Hawks in the Western Hockey League. After scoring nine goals and 36 points in 63 games in 2021-22, he exploded on the scene, scoring 17 goals and 64 points in 67 games in 2022-23. 
Portland made it to the semi-finals of the playoffs, before being knocked out by the host Kamploos Blazers. In those nine games, Cagnoni scored a goal and added six assists, but was a -6.
Cagnoni ranks anywhere from the 20th-best draft prospect available (according to DobberProspects) to the 110th-best draft prospect available (according to McKeen’s Hockey). Moreover, he ranks as the 35th-best North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting. Usually, he ranks in the 40s and 50s, meaning that it’s possible he’s available when the Oilers draft.
The defenceman is on the short side for defensive prospects, standing at just 5’10.” He finds a way to impact the game on the offensive end and is not hesitant to pinch. He has great offensive awareness, which can be seen in his shot selection. 
The Hockey Writers’ scouting report notes that he doesn’t have the strongest shot, but knows to shoot it when traffic is in front of the net for a teammate to deflect it He is solid at handling the puck, but also likes to set up teammates with the one-timer. Another attribute is his skating, he has great edge work according to Elite Prospects. He also barrels down the ice to become open for a pass in quick breakouts.
Defensively, he’s okay at best. He’s on the shorter side, so he’s not nasty and means like a Niemeläinen. He has good gap control and knows when to pester opposition players with the puck. His tendency to be a fourth forward in the offensive zone can get him in trouble from time to time, as is common with offensive defencemen.
There’s a lot to like in Cagnoni, and if the Oilers want a left-shot defenceman who excels in the offensive end, the 18-year-old may just be available to be chosen.

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