2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Berkly Catton

Photo Credit: Hlinka Gretzky Cup

The Scouting Report

Berkly Catton originates from Saskatoon, Canada, where his outstanding achievements culminated in Catton being chosen as the first overall pick in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft by the Spokane Chiefs. He began his rookie season with the Chiefs at the age of 16 in the 2022-2023 season, and delivered a remarkable performance, netting 23 goals and accumulating 55 points across 63 games. These impressive statistics led to Catton being honored with the Spokane Chiefs Rookie of the Year.

Catton has continued to make a name for himself and has stood out as one of the most well-rounded two-way centers – excelling in defensive duties, shot release, battling for possession, and acceleration. Catton, who served as Team Canada’s Captain for the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, scored at least one goal in every game of the tournament, including one in the championship game. He led all tournament scorers with eight goals, with two assists, and was one goal shy of the tournament record. In all, Catton and tallied 10 total points over five games played in the tournament where Team Canada ultimately came home with the cup.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #8 by INSIDE THE RINK

Ranked #7 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM

Ranked #10 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE

Ranked #15 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON

Ranked #8 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

Ranked #9 by SPORTSNET/COSENTINO

Ranked #7 by SPORTSNET/BUKALA

Ranked #5 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY

I have highlighted some of Berkly Catton’s’ attributes, let’s take a deeper dive into those attributes and areas of improvement.

Hockey IQ

Although Catton has demonstrated his scoring prowess consistently across all levels, his playmaking skills are elite and possibly more captivating to observe. One drawback to Catton’s playmaking is his tendency to occasionally force plays. Despite this, he possesses exceptional vision in the offensive zone.

He effectively uses his body positioning and edgework to shield the puck despite his stature. Catton excels at drawing in defenders and then distributing the puck, displaying adept no-look passes effortlessly. His puck control is remarkable, characterized by smooth, quick, and skillful handling. While he doesn’t often rely on flashy dekes, he has the finesse to outmaneuver goalies when those opportunities arise.

Skating

Catton’s achievements can be attributed to his remarkable skating ability. His exceptional first step, smooth skating strides, and precise edge work set him apart. Demonstrating mechanical efficiency, he adeptly maintains momentum by leveraging his edges during transitions. Whenever he is in possession of the puck, Catton effectively utilizes his acceleration and strategic stride technique to deftly outmaneuver defenders. Employing a skillful combination of hesitations and sudden bursts, he navigates through the neutral zone with finesse.

While Catton possesses a potent three-level shooting arsenal, his most influential skill lies in his playmaking abilities. His dynamic playing style, combined with his exceptional puck-handling skills, allows Catton to consistently outwit defenders and execute crucial plays in proximity to the goal. As a forward, he adeptly disrupts defenders by positioning himself strategically, often rendering defenders’ reactions ineffective. Utilizing his body to shield the puck, Catton craftily maneuvers past defenders, setting up his teammates with accurate passes, thus highlighting his remarkable situational awareness on the ice. Renowned for his spin-o-rama pass, Catton’s playmaking ability mirrors that of elite athletes who excel in controlling the game’s tempo and effortlessly locating all four of their teammates on the ice.

Prospect Potential

After making a strong impression at the Hlinka Gretzky opener during his draft season, Catton has showcased an exceptional performance in the WHL this year. Participating in all 68 games, he scored an impressive 54 goals and 116 points, finishing fourth in points. His average of 1.71 points per game not only positions him third for this season but also situates him among the top three performers in WHL draft-eligible seasons over the past two decades.

His dedication to continuous improvement is a key factor in enhancing his overall potential. Combining a strong competitive spirit with a clear focus on the necessary steps to elevate his performance helps set him apart. Continuously seeking opportunities to refine his skills and contribute meaningfully to his team, he strives to excel.

“He’s one of those guys who just has this drive in him that’s pretty unique. He’s a very driven kid. And he’s quick, for sure. But what stands out is how competitive he really is on and off the ice. He always wants to be lifting more and going harder than even he should be but that’s just the way he is.”

Blaine Whyte, Founder Pro Sport Rehab and Fitness

Catton possesses a remarkable vision and a keen hockey sense, which are among his most notable attributes. Furthermore, his exceptional puck-handling skills, ability to lead the play, proficient passing, and outstanding skating capabilities contribute to his overall skill set making his potential as an NHL playmaker all the more prominent.

Areas of Improvement

Catton is recognized for his outstanding dynamism, skill, and creativity but must enhance his defensive abilities before making the move to professional hockey. Increasing muscle mass would elevate his skating as he moves to the next level of play, making his current defensive challenges easier to handle. Improving size is not the sole aspect Catton needs to work on to excel as a center in the NHL; it will enhance all facets of his game.

Although recognized for his assertive defensive approach, he sometimes demonstrates overly aggressive behavior toward the puck. Catton’s focus lies in disrupting passes and forcing opponents to seek defensive support, but this tactic can expose him to vulnerabilities stemming from less-than-ideal positioning. While skilled in puck defense, his physical stature may limit his efficiency at times, especially in defensive situations. Improving in this area will be crucial for Catton’s progression as a top-tier center in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

After an impressive WHL season and several international showings, Catton’s draft status may have declined, primarily attributed to size-related concerns by some. Nonetheless, I consider him a standout prospect in this draft class, with his talents potentially being undervalued. Positioned among several skilled centers, Catton does contend with formidable competition from a strong contingent of European talents and NCAA athletes heading into the 2024 NHL draft. However, for teams prioritizing looking to optimize their cap space, Catton certainly is a prospect who could offer substantial value, contingent upon a willingness to commit the right resources towards refining and developing his abilities.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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