2023 Draft Profile: Brayden Yager

Photo: Nick Pettigrew/Moose Jaw Warriors

We are less than one week away from the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. As we continue our profiles of top prospects in this year’s draft, today we take a look at forward Brayden Yager. 


David Reinbacher
Matvei Michkov
Colby Barlow
Oliver Moore
Dalibor Dvorsky
Andrew Cristall
Gabe Perreault
Zach Benson
Will Smith

BRAYDEN YAGER – (18) – 6’0” – 165LBS, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

In January, TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranked Yager at No. 7, but his stock has fallen off since then. Furthermore, his NHL Central Scouting rating went from No. 5 to No. 11 among North American skaters.

The Saskatoon native had a strong year with the Moose Jaw Warriors racking up 78 points (28 goals, 50 assists) in 67 games, along with a 16 point (six goals, 10 assists) postseason. Last year, he was named the CHL Rookie of the Year, tallying 59 points (34 goals, 25 assists) in 63 games with the Warriors.

Yager’s specialty is his shot. It is deadly accurate and heavy. We have not talked enough about snipers so far, so we decided to give them some love.

He is a very lengthy skater with a long and powerful stride. He’s not like Oliver Moore where he uses very quick strides to generate speed. Whenever Yager generates speed, he can blow by defenders and create high-danger scoring chances.

He is not known to be a playmaker, despite having 50 assists, but his passing improved as his season went on. That was something he addressed before the year.

“I was kind of known as just a skate down the wing and shoot the puck in the net [guy], so just kind of just rounding out my game a little bit and being more deceptive. It was about finding different ways to produce offence. I was really happy with how that went this year.” Yager said in an interview with TSN.

Like most young players, Yager’s compete level needs work. He definitely has a 200-foot game to him, but it is not always consistent.

Yager is definitely a player that the Capitals should look at only if they trade down. As we said in our Colby Barlow profile, Washington could use another high-end scorer.



Scott Wheeler: The Athletic

Yager plays a threatening, attacking, puck-dominant game with skill in straight lines and in cutting sequences in transition. He’s got smooth skating mechanics. He’s also dangerous inside the offensive zone from the top of the circles in with a quick-release wrister (one of the faster releases in the draft) that comes off of his blade hard and with a slight, goalie-fooling adjustment pre-shot; good puck skill in congested areas; an ability to attack in bursts and make something happen out of dead plays; and an equal ability to play off of coverage and make himself available for his linemates.

He’s a natural scorer and creator who plays a direct style, but he’s also got plus vision and deft touch (though I wouldn’t say his creativity is necessarily a strength). I like the way he supports the puck defensively as a centreman, too, though he’ll need to get stronger to be as reliable defensively at the NHL level as he is in junior. He is very intentional with his routes, offensively and defensively, which should help him stick at the centre position long term. I don’t think he’s going to become the kind of star you’re hoping to get out of a top-10 pick, but he’s got 2C, PP1 upside if he can fill out his frame and continue to add dimension.

The Hockey Writers

The thing that jumps out at you about Yager’s game is his shot and his willingness to use it. He’s got a quick release and hits his target with deadly accuracy. He has 60 goals over his last two seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and could probably have a lot more if he was asked to adopt a shoot-first mentality. His shot does not rival the best goal-scorers in the world, but it is dangerous enough that he could develop into a 30 goal-scorer in the NHL at his peak.


The Hockey News: 10
Craig Button: 18
Draft Prospects Hockey: 12
Elite Prospects: 22

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to 2023 Draft Profile: Brayden Yager

  1. hockeydruid says:

    Would rather have this young man than Michkov. I would think 1 maybe 11/2 years in the AHL then in Wash. About the same time Frank and Miroshnichenko gets here and maybe Llapierre and Chesley will already be here and the same with McMichael.

    • Sprak says:

      Would definitely like him as a choice besides Dvorsky, Reinbacher, and Leonard. The caps like to choose players close to 6’ or higher.

      • hockeydruid says:

        I would be very happy with Dvorsky or Yager. maybe a trade of Kuzy and someone from Hershey could get us another 1st later in the draft and maybe a late draft pick.

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