2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Will Skahan

Photo Credit: INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION (IIHF)

The Scouting Report

If you are seeking a defenseman with a blend of size and agility, keep a close watch on Will Skahan during this NHL draft. Many will certainly note that Will hails from a hockey family, with his father, Sean, having served as an NHL Strength and Conditioning coach with NHL athletes for both the Anaheim Ducks (2002-2015) and the Minnesota Wild (2016-2022). However, his on-ice abilities’ are uniquely his own.

Will’s exceptional discipline, physical conditioning, and thorough readiness for the demands of the game are clearly displayed each time he hits the ice. He embodies the modern defenseman, showcasing particular prowess in disrupting his opponents and excelling in penalty-killing situations. The talented defenseman earned a spot in the 2024 All-American Prospects Game, showcasing the top American-born prospects eligible for the upcoming NHL Draft. He certainly achieved this through his outstanding performance and his thorough understanding of the game, as well as his talent on the ice.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #58 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #56 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #44 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Ranked #73 by Elite Prospects.com
Ranked #64 by Consolidated Ranking

Conrad Jack of Inside the Rink has ranked Will Skahan at 58th.

On-Ice Abilities and Hockey IQ:

While his physical stature is noteworthy, he stands at 6′ 4″ weighing at 212 lbs., Will’s ability to defend the net is equally impressive. His skill in clearing the front of the goal combined with a potent shot that often goes unrecognized. He has that type of mindset where he plays the game smart and knows when to make those big hits, but remains aware of when and how to keep himself out of the penalty box. Skahan is unafraid to engage in a physical style of play, although he understands that referees scrutinize larger players more closely. This is not to say that he is penalty-free, but he seems to understand when taking that risk is warranted and when it is not.

Exposure to NHL players has only further boosted his already impressive hockey intelligence. Skahan demonstrates exceptional read-and-react abilities at a high level and maintains strong defensive positioning. His broad wingspan and quick foot speed allow him to effectively disrupt opponents and engage with the puck swiftly. It is not surprising that he looks to current NHL stars Jacob Trouba and Alex Pietrangelo as role models, given these qualities.

During the 2023-24 season, he was chosen as an alternate captain for Team USA, showcasing his leadership skills by effectively guiding his teammates. In a recent interview with Pete Krupsky in March, the young defenseman expressed the following:

“I think the guys sometimes see me as just a leader, someone who is vocal a lot, as somebody who tries to be as positive as much as he can.”

– Will Skahan

Prospect Potential

Will Skahan is presently committed to Boston College, where he is expected to concentrate on enhancing and honing his skills. He will not be alone in this endeavor, as his current teammate Teddy Stiga has also pledged to join BC. Additionally, another teammate from Team USA, James Hagens, who is eligible for the 2025 Draft and is considered a top prospect, will be part of their group as well.

One aspect that will likely remain under scrutiny for Skahan will be his scoring potential. Despite having scored effectively in lower leagues, this success hasn’t directly carried over to the USNTDP. This could be attributed to the abundance of scoring talent within Team USA, causing less emphasis on Skahan’s individual scoring contributions and more on his defensive talent. However, Skahan was able to score five goals and provide nine assists for Team USA in the 2023-24 season, demonstrating a clear ability to find the back of the net.

Final Thoughts

NHL teams that value size in defensive players, who can also skate well and provide solid coverage in front of the net are going to be looking to Skahan. Skanan will likely become known for being difficult to play against and could excel as a shutdown defenseman at even strength, matching up against opponents’ top lines, and contributing solidly on the penalty kill. While his offensive output may be less than what many would see as ideal, his performance in the 2024 U18 Worlds was modest, with one goal and one assist, this defenseman will still do well in this year’s draft, especially for a team looking for a highly skilled defenseman, with a mindset to lead, and the flexibility to adapt as needed.

“Skahan is a menace for opponents on the ice. He forces them to keep their head up to avoid his stick or stumbling into one of his big hits. He defends the zone by keeping an intense pressure on the opposition and he clears the front of the net with ease.”

– EliteProspects 2024 NHL Draft Guide

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

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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