With their second first round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Rangers took defenseman Braden Schneider. It was a bit of a surprise, since there were a bunch of other more “popular” names on the board. But Schneider was still #17 on Bob McKenzie’s draft board so the Rangers weren’t reaching. They moved up from #22, packaged with the #72, to move up the three spots to grad him. The scouting report on Braden Schneider is a three zone defenseman who delivers big hits and is an excellent skater.
This season, the righty defenseman put up 7-35-42 in 60 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings. This was a big increase from his 8-16-24 last season.
It’s worth noting that I am no draft expert. I did a lot of Googling and Youtubing. You should be checking out sites like Future Considerations, Elite Prospects, Dobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting, @ManUtdTobbe, @aj_ranger, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).
The scouting report on Schneider is a three zone player who is an excellent skater. He’s also very strong on his skates, which makes him difficult to knock off the puck and win battles in front of the net. At 18 years old he’s already 6’2″ and 200 lbs, so his strength should only get better as he develops more.
Schneider has solid hands and is a good puck mover. He’s not going to wow you, but he’s fundamentally sound and has a great first pass. This makes him a great asset in the transition game. Think Anton Stralman – he moves the puck up but isn’t going to be the guy you count on to gain the zone. Schneider also has a good shot with a quick release. One of his strengths is getting his shots on net, opening up rebound opportunities for his teammates. He sees the zone very well.
Schneider’s highlight reel is filled with big hits. That’s something he brings is an ability to deliver that hit without taking himself out of position. The emphasis here is on not taking himself out of position. He’s solid with his positioning and gap control, which is critical when going for those big hits. When he’s not delivering the big hit, he has an active stick in passing lanes. He had tremendous vision, which helps him read plays and anticipate passes for turnovers.
Schneider is a very talented player. Initially after the pick, there were too many comparisons to Dylan McIlrath, since the Rangers took a defenseman that can deliver a big hit. However the scouting report on Braden Schneider is the exact opposite. Those comparisons were knee-jerk and not based on anything tangible.
Schneider isn’t going to make the immediate jump to the NHL. He needs development time. Expect him to spend at least another two seasons in the WHL before turning pro. At his absolute peak potential, Schneider can be a top pairing defenseman. More realistically, assuming he pans out, Schneider is more likely a top-four defenseman.