Will Cuylle scouting report

With their second round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Rangers took forward Will Cuylle. The Rangers traded Lias Andersson to the LA Kings for the pick, so this is basically a trade of Andersson for Cuylle. Bob McKenzie’s draft board had Cuylle at #45, so based on that this appears to be a bargain. The scouting report on Will Cuylle is a big power forward with a great shot.

This season, the big winger put up 22-20-42 in 62 games with the Windsor Spitfires. This was only a one point increase in production from his age-17 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 ConsiderationsElite ProspectsDobber Hockey, and others on Twitter (@SternScouting,  @aj_ranger, @ManUtdTobbe, and I’m sure I missed a bunch).

Scouting Report

Cuylle is a big winger at 6’3″ and 204 lbs. But he is a solid skater, something that the Rangers appeared to have focused on this year. Usually there is inherent risk when drafting these big kids, as the skating sometimes doesn’t match the production. That doesn’t appear to be a concern with Cuylle, who matches his solid skating with great lower body strength. He’s surprisingly elusive for a big guy.

Cuylle’s greatest asset is his shot. He has a great combination of power and stealth in his shot selection, making him a solid goal scorer. As you can imagine, the power forward also has a nose for the net. His deflections in front need work –he’s no Chris Kreider– but that’s a skill that can be taught.

Defensively, Cuylle is fine. He prefers to make the safe play, which says more about his need to improve his reads than anything else. Making the safe play is fine, but it limits potential offensive ceiling. The rub on this pick is just that, his offensive ceiling.


When Cuylle was drafted, again immediate comparisons were made to Ryan Gropp. That again is an unfair comparison, as Cuylle isn’t being propped up by Mat Barzal. Cuylle is a much better skater, again a common theme, and has a better skill set. I understand the comparisons with Gropp, but there isn’t much there other than fear.

Cuylle’s lack of vision is the big concern here. It limits what he sees as potential options in all three zones. There’s also concern that since he’s so strong at a young age, he’s been able to rely on that to success. Naturally at higher levels, he won’t have that advantage. However that doesn’t appear to be as big a concern, as he does have the skills to get to the next level.

The scouting report on Will Cuylle shows a ceiling of a middle-six power forward. However he is a project pick.  The big thing is watching for continued improvement. Cuylle didn’t take a big step forward from his draft -1 year to his draft year. That’s a red flag. This coming season, if there is one, is a big one for Cuylle. Showing improvement quells some of these concerns.

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  • Will Cuylle, big good skating power forward, good shot, and can play defense, sounds like a decent pick to me. If he can play top nine, that’s just fine !!!!!!!!!

    • According to Pronman

      62. William Cuylle, LW, Windsor-OHL

      Feb. 5, 2002 | 6-foot-3 | 204 pounds

      Skating: 50
      Puck Skills: 55
      Physical Game: 60
      Hockey Sense: 55
      Shot Grade: 60

      Dude doesn’t skate, all specialist take a note of it

      • You know who else Pronman gives a 50 skating score to that he’s listed in the Top 106 players under the age of 23?

        Gauthier, Howden, Kravtsov and Kakko.

        • Krav and Kakko 55….. didn’t see Gauthier and Howden, since didn’t observe them, but I am sure more then 50…..

          And wait didn’t see you highlights? isn’t it enough to say he is not a good skater….

          • “9. Kaapo Kakko, RW, New York Rangers

            Feb. 13, 2001 | 6-foot-3 | 198 pounds

            Tier: Special/elite bubble

            Skating: 50
            Puck Skills: 60
            Physical Game: 55
            Hockey Sense: 65

            90. Vitaly Kravtsov, RW, New York Rangers

            Dec. 23, 1999 | 6-foot-4 | 183 pounds

            Tier: Very good NHL player

            Skating: 50
            Puck Skills: 65
            Physical Game: 50
            Hockey Sense: 60”

  • I am of the opinion that the NYR are trying to go 2 or 3 deep in every position. Top 6, middle 6, bottom 6, etc. Many of the draftees will be in the AHL for 2+ years, where they can begin to make a name for themselves. This will give ample time to develop or fade away.

    This kid has a chance to start in the bottom 6 and move up from there.

  • He seems to be someone who will need to improve in a few areas if he is going to make it in the NHL. He has some potential from what I’ve read, and he relies on a heavy shot to score (as opposed to being deceptive.) His size can make him intimidating to some defenders, but there are big players in the NHL compared to some of his prior competition. He should at least do well in the AHL, and might just get to the big club some day if things go right. Seems like he was worth the gamble and should be better than Gopp has turned out to be.

  • The kid is a lot better than Gropp and should end up being a good and cheap role player for us down the line in a few years. He’s exactly the type of player everyone clamored for a few months back —- and of course now that we drafted him a number of fans are already taking pot shots at him. These are not the type of players you draft with your 1st rounders, consequently they will not be perfect and will always have to develop some aspect of their game — in Cuylle’s case his “flaws” should be manageable with proper coaching and hard work.

  • According to Pronman

    62. William Cuylle, LW, Windsor-OHL

    Feb. 5, 2002 | 6-foot-3 | 204 pounds

    Skating: 50
    Puck Skills: 55
    Physical Game: 60
    Hockey Sense: 55
    Shot Grade: 60

    Dude doesn’t skate

  • This is the type of player the Rangers we’re looking for! We do not have an abundance of this type of player in the organization. Or any!!

    Anderson whore out his welcome here, he wasn’t going to play for Rangers again. with the right coaching and his ability, maybe a few years down the road we will have a player that will help us.

    For that this trade is a win win for us.

  • Power forwards like Cuylle and Gauthier notoriously take longer to develop. I’m sure the Rangers will have Cuylle work on his skating and other weaknesses to make him a well rounded player.
    The kid seems motivated to get better, and that’s half the battle

  • Windsor has been a mess since Rocky Thompson bailed, everybody underperformed.

    Likely a bottom 6 F; lack of hockey this year and an underwhelming Rangers development program makes that the ceiling, will need an elite skills coach to coach him up.

    • I hear what you’re saying, but ultimately it’s the player’s responsibility to get better. Not the organizations!
      Organizations will point players in the right direction, and offer suggestions like skating coaches, strength and conditioning, etc
      If players don’t heed this advice, it’s hard to say the Rangers don’t do a good job in development.

      • The ability to take instruction and synthesize it quickly is a skill.

        The organization has been demonstrably bad about this for the last 5 years: so either the team can’t scout properly or their development model is garbage.

        I hope Drury is the next Devils GM.

  • What we know for sure, is that we do not know for sure. It is such a crapshoot to project how these kids’ games will translate in the NHL.

    But the one MUST prospects must have, is that they must know how to skate. Unless they have the skills of a Lafren to make up for average skating.

    And this was always the pet peeve of mine about Lias at 7. The Rangers, even when they first picked him, admitted his skating was suspect. How do you make a pick in the top 10 that has suspect skating and no elite offensive skills? Hence, the current result of that pick.

    And, P.S., Cuylle is not a Gropp pick, and any comparisons of the 2 players is 100% ridiculous. And a “lazy” assessment of the 2 players.

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