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Canmore Athlete On NHL Scouts’ Radar

The 17-year-old defenceman for the Youngstown Phantoms could go high in the NHL draft

From Mark Messier to Jarome Iginla, some of the NHL’s greatest superstars started here in Alberta. 

But NHL superstars aren’t just made in big cities like Edmonton and Calgary. They come from every corner of our province. 

This season, a player from Canmore is turning heads among NHL scouts. 

Finn McLaughlin is a 17-year-old hockey player, and his skills as a defenceman are getting attention.

Moving up the charts

On October 25, McLaughlin was put on the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Players To Watch List. As the name suggests, scouts add players with potential to this list.  

The list ranks scouted players from A to W. 

A player with an “A” ranking indicates a first-round candidate in the NHL draft. A player with a “W” ranking indicates a sixth or seventh-round candidate. McLaughlin was given a C rating, which means he might be picked in the middle rounds of the NHL Draft in 2024.

“I’m really fortunate to be recognized by those guys, but it doesn’t change anything I’m doing with my team. I’m focusing just on hockey. It’s great to have that, but it’s not the end goal. It’s to keep focusing on the season and helping my team the best I can,” McLaughlin told the Rocky Mountain Outlook

Finn’s a rookie with the Youngstown Phantoms in Ohio, a Tier 1 United States Hockey League team

Improving his game 

Over the summer, McLaughlin worked hard to get stronger, faster, and bigger. Thanks to a teenage growth spurt, he now stands tall at six-foot-one. The young athlete feels better than ever on the ice. 

Finn McLaughlin | Alberta Junior Hockey League

McLaughlin is a dual citizen of Canada and the USA and has won some awards playing for the USA Hockey teams. 

In August, McLaughlin and his team competed in the U18 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Trenčin, Slovakia. His skills and hockey knowledge helped the offence-minded defenceman play a big role in helping the team secure the bronze medal. 

He also assisted the USA’s U17 team in winning a silver medal at the Five Nations tournament in Colorado Springs last year. 

McLaughlin also played a bit for his hometown team in Canmore, the Canmore Eagles. A wrist injury forced McLaughlin to miss a few games, but that didn’t stop him from performing when he was on the ice.

In the 2022-2023 season, McLaughlin played almost 40 regular season games, scoring four goals and 21 points. His coach, Andrew Milne, had nothing but praise. He described McLaughlin as a committed and detail-oriented player who will only get better with time. 

“With a little bit more time and the fact that he works on it every single day and does the little things, I think that’s going to add up over time, and the best things for Finn are still to come,” commented coach Milne. 

The last player from Canmore who got picked in the NHL Draft was Jacob Bernard-Docker in 2018, and the last Canmore Eagle to be drafted was Calgary’s Alex Young in 2020. 

If drafted, McLaughlin would be on track to become another Alberta-born NHL superstar.

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