2018 NHL draft prospect profile #23: Calen Addison

KELOWNA, BC - JANUARY 17: Calen Addison #2 of the Lethbridge Hurricanes skates with the puck against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on January 17, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
KELOWNA, BC - JANUARY 17: Calen Addison #2 of the Lethbridge Hurricanes skates with the puck against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on January 17, 2018 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

This edition of The Canuck Way’s 2018 draft profiles features Calen Addison, a diminutive, highly skilled, right-handed defenceman.

We have our first Western Hockey League player on this list. The WHL won’t get a lot of representation in our first round rankings. However, they have a pair of good defencemen on this list.

The Vancouver Canucks have a mixed history of success when drafting from the WHL. They are often criticized for failing to draw from their own backyard. And sometimes when they do make the local pick, things don’t turn out as expected.

Defencemen are in the spotlight this year and hockey is trending towards mobile, highly skilled players. We are past the hulking defenders, devoid of any speed or talent. Size is a valuable commodity, but if that’s what you talk about first, that tends to be a bad sign.

Today, we are featuring Calen Addison. In this case, he ticks a lot of boxes: very fast and agile, great offensive instincts, right-handed shot. For these reasons, Addison sounds like a future powerplay quarterback. With this in mind, if he is this far down the first round, there are deficiencies in his game. Let’s not waste anymore time and break it all down.

The stats rundown

*Counting stats provided by EliteProspects

Height: 177 cm/5’10”

Weight: 81 kg/179 lbs

Birthdate: April 11, 2000

Position: Defence

Handedness: Right

Team (league): Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)




#30 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North America)

#24 by Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)

#33 by Craig Button


Looking at Addison’s production, he made a major jump from his rookie season. The goal totals were close (he had nine goals in the prior season), but the largest jump is in his assists. Addison had 24 of them in his rookie season.

Equally important to know is that 37 of those 65 points were with the man advantage. Comparing this season to his rookie year, Addison had seven more even strength points (28 vs 21). So, he does rely on the power play for more of his production. As you will find out in the scouting reports, Addison tends to play too safely at even strength and willing to take more chances and thus generate more offence on special teams.

Additionally, we can briefly look at advanced metrics. The WHL does not accurately track shots, so unfortunately, we can’t look at puck luck from the shooting percentage perspective. Ontario and Quebec have no problem tracking this, so I don’t understand what’s taking the WHL so long.

However, we can look at goals for and relative GF percentages. Lethbridge barely outscored the opposition with a 5v5 GF% of 50.3. Addison clocks in with a GF% of 49.09 and a relGF% of -4.32. This highlights one of his biggest weaknesses: his defensive play. Unfortunately, without shot metrics, it’s harder to break down luck and possession.

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Scouting reports

Ryan Pike, The Hockey Writers:

"Addison is a bit more risk averse and plays arguably a “safer” style of game with the puck. (…) Addison’s situational awareness – particularly in gauging how teams are structuring their rush and looking for holes – is very good. (…)He’s cautious with the puck at even strength (perhaps too much so), but he’s become more aggressive with his passing and movement on the power play where there’s extra time and space. Given some time, perhaps that aggression may find its way into his even strength play."

Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey:

"Addison is an outstanding skater. This helps him to play a two-way game, and be effective at both ends of the ice. He is one of the fastest skaters in this draft class, and shows this both forwards and backwards. His edgework, agility and pivots are also elite. He can transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. (…) Addison could use some more core muscle. (…)Addison also has the stickhandling ability to skate the puck out of danger, and even to lead the rush. Addison also has a very good snapshot and wrist shot. He gets them both off very quickly, with an excellent release. (…)Defensively, Addison maintains good gap control and is not afraid to be physical. Addison throws hits in the corners and battles for position in front of the net. However, his size is an issue. He can be overpowered, even at the junior level."

Justin Froese, Future Considerations:

"Addison’s ability to find ice is correlated directly with his ability to sense play and his high-end skating ability. Addison has electric footwork and balance to his skating stride, using a quick bound in his first stride to lead into a powerful separating sequence.  (…)As impressive as he was offensively, I didn’t have a lot of love for his passive defensive game. At this stage, Addison reminds me a lot of Kale Clague and Jake Bean, a player who prides themselves on offense, but struggles to do much more than play positional hockey on the back end. Addison’s skating ability is his saving grace in the defensive zone."

What we think

Additionally, international tournaments continue to aid draft years. Addison caught everyone’s attention early at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament with six points in five games. Canada was a very weak team at that tournament and Addison’s performance was a great start to his season.

As hockey changes, smaller players are given more opportunities. In the past, a sub-5’10” defenceman would never make the NHL. Regarding Calen Addison, 5’10” is generous. Obviously, he is not the tallest of blueliners. Hailing from Brandon, Manitoba, Addison possesses an incredible level of offensive skill. Defence is another story.

Thoughts on his defensive play range from in progress to poor. At the junior level, his speed and skating can cover up these deficiencies, but that won’t pass at the NHL level. Addison will also need to add much more strength. The old adage about small players is how easily they are knocked off the puck. Several small players in the NHL don’t have that issue, but Addison does.

With that in mind, we can’t ignore his offensive game. The hockey sense and shot placement is there, coupled with his mobility. His production is more skewed to the power play, which is a little concerning projection-wise, but a good developing environment can help him iron out those issues.

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In short, the team that selects him won’t be grabbing a finished product. Although, his success will test how well a team can develop its prospects. But if done properly, Calen Addison could bolster a team’s blue line on offence and be utilized as secondary threat on the powerplay.