02/29/2024

VGK:

4

BOS:

5

Final

CAR:

4

CBJ:

2

Final

NYI:

5

DET:

3

Final

MTL:

3

FLA:

4

Final

BUF:

3

TBL:

2

Final

ARI:

2

TOR:

4

Final

WPG:

1

DAL:

4

Final

MIN:

1

NSH:

6

Final

COL:

5

CHI:

0

Final

PIT:

0

SEA:

2

Final

LAK:

5

VAN:

1

Final

ANA:

6

SJS:

4

Final

03/01/2024

ARI:

5

OTT:

3

Final

PHI:

2

WSH:

5

Final

NJD:

3

ANA:

4

Final

03/02/2024

WPG:

5

CAR:

3

Final

FLA:

4

DET:

0

Final

EDM:

2

SEA:

1

Final

COL:

1

NSH:

5

Final

MIN:

1

STL:

3

Final

VGK:

2

BUF:

7

Final

OTT:

2

PHI:

4

Final

MTL:

3

TBL:

4

Final

NYR:

3

TOR:

4

Final

BOS:

1

NYI:

5

Final

CBJ:

5

CHI:

2

Final

SJS:

2

DAL:

3

Final

PIT:

3

CGY:

4

Final

03/03/2024

ARI:

5

WSH:

2

Final

NJD:

1

LAK:

5

Final

WPG:

5

BUF:

2

Final

SJS:

3

MIN:

4

Final

VAN:

2

ANA:

1

Final

PIT:

1

EDM:

6

Final

03/04/2024

VGK:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

FLA:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

BOS:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CHI:

0

COL:

0

09:00 ET

SEA:

0

CGY:

0

09:30 ET

03/05/2024

FLA:

0

NJD:

0

07:00 ET

CBJ:

0

PIT:

0

07:00 ET

EDM:

0

BOS:

0

07:30 ET

STL:

0

NYI:

0

07:30 ET

MTL:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

SEA:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

CHI:

0

ARI:

0

09:00 ET

VAN:

0

LAK:

0

10:30 ET

DAL:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/06/2024

BUF:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

DET:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

OTT:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Hunter Brzustewicz

Hunter Brzustewicz skating for the Kitchener Rangers
Photo: Robert Lefebvre

The Scouting Report:

Hunter Brzustewicz from Washington, Michigan, born November 29th, 2004, is a top defensive prospect in the 2023 NHL entry draft class. The 2023 NHL draft class is incredibly deep, and it lacks solid defensive prospects. The majority of Brzustewicz’s rankings are confusing, as Brzustewicz is a standout defenseman in this draft class. However, incredible talents in each draft class fall under the radar. Brzustewicz had to make a pivotal decision for his NHL draft-eligible year, either continue playing with the US National Development Program or commit to the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. A decision that has been incredible for Brzustewicz since committing to the Kitchener Rangers. Brzustewicz posted a stat line of six goals and 51 assists for 57 points in 68 games for the Kitchener Rangers. Brzustewicz has consistently put in the work to fill his frame out, as he currently stands at 6’0″ and 187 pounds. This is a solid frame heading into the NHL, and Brzustewicz should have no problem adjusting to the NHL level.

Ranked #37 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #41by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #61 by TSN/Craig Button
Ranked #54 by Daily Faceoff
Ranked #20 by Recruit Scouting
Ranked #45 FC Hockey
Ranked #44 by TSN/Bob McKenzie

Conrad Jack of Inside the Rink has Hunter Brzustewicz projected at 32nd overall.

It baffles me that more draft rankings don’t have Hunter Brzustewicz ranked higher, Brzustewicz is an anchor on the blueline and will be a steal if he goes in the mid-to-late second round or any later than that.

Diving Deeper:

Hunter Brzustewicz is a leader on and off the ice and can become a solid top-4 defenseman in the NHL if he continues his strong developmental path. Let’s take a deeper dive into Hunter Brzustewicz’s attributes.

Skating:

I’m usually extra critical of a defensemen’s skating, however, Brzustewicz gives any scout an exceptional amount of hope for his skating. Brzustewicz is so good at reading passing lanes and skating into a pass that will force a turnover, this is an exceptional read while skating and driving play. There are an incredible amount of similarities between current NHL offensive defenseman and Hunter Brzustewicz, which will be an asset for his development path. Brzustewicz is incredibly reliable on the ice, and his skating plays a big part of that.

“Brzustewicz is a mobile and strong kid who has worked hard to fill out his frame (the lost season helped with that), defends the rush effectively and is now getting to show that he has always had more offense to his game than his production at the program (where players like Seamus Casey and Lane Hutson were awarded greater opportunities offensively) showed last season.”

Scott Wheeler – The Athletic – Nov. 1st, 2022.

Related Story: 2023 NHL Draft – Nashville

Defensive Awareness & Hockey IQ:

These two attributes go hand-in-hand in Hunter Brzustewicz’s game, when Brzustewicz is on the ice, you have a dependable defenseman. Brzustewicz is incredibly aware of how to anchor the blueline and be calm when facing pressure on odd-man rushes. When Brzustewicz isn’t on defense, he’s making the lives of the opposing team’s defenders a nightmare. He passes with calmness and is incredibly accurate, giving his teammates extra room to add pressure.

“Passes it like a pro, with pace and accuracy. Can run a PP1 in junior, but will that skill project to the next level?”

Sam Cosentino – Sportsnet – Oct. 19th, 2022.

On-Ice Abilities:

Hunter Brzustewicz is a solid powerplay defenseman and even better at maintaining the pace of play and establishing where the puck does not cross. While Brzustewicz doesn’t always stand out when he’s on the ice, he will certainly surprise you when you realize he is on the ice. Brzustewicz is super calm and comfortable with controlling the puck in all three zones. If his development path continues, Brzustewicz may become one of the best picks outside of the first round in this draft class.

Final Thoughts:

Reliable, a true professional, easily coachable, and a well-liked teammate, Hunter Brzustewicz has all the tools to become a solid NHL regular defenseman. Brzustewicz can easily be a highly effective and dependable second-pairing NHLer if he continues his development path. Teams should draft carefully, as you don’t get players like Hunter Brzustewicz in the second or third rounds of an NHL draft usually. This is a steal for any team looking to pad their prospect pool.

Stats via Elite Prospects
Highlights via MyNHLDraft.com

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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