2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Carter Yakemchuk

Photo via NHL.com

The Scouting Report

Defenseman Carter Yakemchuk is one of the better two-way defensemen in the 2024 NHL Draft. At 6’3″ and 194 pounds, he has the size to be effective in the defensive zone yet is mobile enough to be productive on the offensive end. He increased his draft stock during the 2023-24 season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He raised his goal total from 19 to 30, his assists from 28 to 41, and his overall point total from 47 to 71 in two seasons. Last season, he led WHL defensemen in goals with 30, showing he is capable of leading an offense. His overall game needs some work, but he is a top-tier talent among defensemen.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #24 by DOBBERPROSPECTS

Ranked #18 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM

Ranked #11 by TSN/ CRAIG BUTTON

Ranked #13 by DAILY FACEOFF

Ranked #11 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA SKATERS)

I’ve highlighted some of Carter Yakemchuk’s attributes. Let’s take a deeper dive into his attributes and areas for improvement

Diving Deeper

Despite being one of the older players in the draft, he comes with an array of tools in his skill set. Offensively, he is as gifted as any and plays like a fourth forward. On defense, he hits like a truck and plays positionally sound hockey. He is a force on the power play and effective in closing gaps on the penalty kill. A player of many talents.

“With good size, deft puck handles and a wicked shot, he resembles a skilled power forward. Instead, he’s an high-end offensive defenceman.”- Sam Cosentino- Sportsnet- March 13th

Attribute One

Yakemchuk is one of the better skating defensemen that could go in the top 10-15 picks. He is not Paul Coffey but he can take the puck end-to-end and skate the puck out of trouble. If there is a turnover, he can make it back into position on defense with no issues. He is good on his edges, which makes him a better skater with a long stride. He is not a flawless skater but he can out skate some forwards.

“I had my doubts heading into the season, but they’re mostly erased now. The 6-foot-3 defenseman is so smart, he’s an excellent skater and he has tremendous offensive instincts.”- Steven Ellis- Daily Faceoff- March 9th

Attribute Two

Yakemchuk is most effective on the power play as he can find seems through traffic. His shot cannot only find its way past the goaltender on a one-timer but his shot can also be deflected and chased for rebounds as his shot is only inches off the ice. He is a great passer on the man advantage and finds the open man with ease. A great puck handler who can keep the puck in the zone with his long reach. He has a great fake shot that opposing forwards bite on, opening space for his cannon of a shot. Smooth operator at the point, and patient with the puck.

Areas for Improvement

Yakemchuk can improve his hockey IQ. He tends to take too many chances offensively, leaving the team at a disadvantage. Although he is defensively responsible, he puts his offensive game before his defensive game. He also can miss a play, unable to recognize the play before it begins.

 “One of the oldest players in the draft class, Yakemchuk has a highlight reel that’s a mile long featuring goals and big hits, but it comes with a lot of risk. Yakemchuk is not only one of the highest-scoring defensemen in the draft, but he’s also one of the most penalized.” – Rachel Doerrie- ESPN- April 2nd

Yakemchuk is an offensive-minded defenseman and it costs him pinching in the offensive zone as this leads to penalties. He needs to work on taking fewer penalties because this has resulted in goals against the Hitmen. He is one of the WHL’s most penalized players (120 in 2023-24) and has taken bad penalties at bad times. Some of these penalty minutes is caused by fatigue due to his minutes played.

Prospect Potential

Yakemchuk has the potential to be a top-pairing defenseman on any team if he cuts down the time in the penalty box. He can also be a quarterback on the first power play unit as he has done a lot of damage from that spot. When he does make the NHL, expect him to be a point-every-other-game type of player, getting 40-45 points a season with the occasional 50-point season.

Beast Potential Fit

With his draft stock high, he could go anywhere from #4-#16. At the #6 spot, Utah will be picking and they could use a franchise defenseman to build around and he could fit in well. At #9, the Calgary Flames could use a point-producing defenseman to operate while the team finds its identity. At #11, the Buffalo Sabres may take him if he is still there. Buffalo already has Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin but they are left-handed shots. He could be part of a talented Sabres team that leads them to a playoff spot.

Final Thought

For Yakemchuk to be successful at the next level, he needs to cut down on the penalty minutes and concentrate more on the defensive side to round out his overall game. He has the potential to be a well-rounded defenseman who could be a star in the league. He could be anywhere from a bottom-pairing defenseman if he does not clean up his game to an all-star defenseman if he does.

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
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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