Peddle is turning heads with Team Canada right now after an explosive start to the QMJHL season. There aren’t many better pure goal-scorers in the 2023 NHL draft than Peddle.
The list of NHLers from Antigonish, Nova Scotia isn’t that long.
Just five players have made it to the NHL from there, highlighted by Craig MacDonald’s 233-game career over eight seasons. No other player broke the 50-game mark, and Alex Grant, who played seven games between Anaheim in Arizona in 2013-14 and 2015-16, was the last to do so.
Tyler Peddle looks like he’ll be the sixth to make it, and if all goes well, he’ll be the best.
Peddle has been a major part of Canada White at the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa, a four-team event pitting three randomized U-17 teams against the women’s national squad that’s preparing for the Olympics. Typically, Canada’s three teams play against other international powers, but travel restrictions and other complications due to COVID-19 forced Hockey Canada to get creative.
And while the competition is a little different this year, the opportunity is still there for stars like Peddle to shine. Peddle was drafted second overall by Drummondville of the QMJUHL last summer after spending a year at the esteemed Shattuck St. Mary’s prep program.
“I got a pretty good opportunity there,” Peddle said about Shattuck’s. “It was great for development. I mean, I just loved playing the game. So it was great. I got a pretty good opportunity there. Not a lot of teams got to play. But we got in about 40 to 50 games. So it was great for development.”
Peddle and his family later toured some American colleges, with the potential of sending him down the NCAA route. But Drummondville believed in Peddle, trading up to get the second pick, and it was decided that his time would be better spent playing against top junior talent for two years before heading off to the 2023 NHL draft.
So far, so good.
Through 20 games to start his major junior career, Peddle has 10 goals and 13 points – both good for first among first-year eligible QMJHL rookies. He’s the only 16-year-old to hit double digits in goals, and Jeremy Lapointe is the only player on Drummondville to do it, too.
Goal-scoring has always been a strength for Peddle, who has two goals and an assist in three games played for Canada White. In his final year of bantam in Nova Scotia, Peddle had a whopping 57 goals and 84 points in 33 games to lead the league – no other player had more than 33 goals. At Shattuck’s, he had 31 goals in 47 games. It’s still early, but Peddle already looks like one of the best natural goal-scorers for a goal-heavy 2023 draft.
“Undoubtedly, this guy is going to be a 40-goal scorer in the NHL,” a Canadian scout said. “He just gets it. He knows how to get the puck where he wants it.”
But even when he isn’t putting pucks in the net, Peddle has emerged as an effective all-around player. His defensive game has taken a nice step forward this year and his skating continues to get better.
“There’s basically everything I can work on,” Peddle said. “The little things, the habits and I always try ways to improve my shot speed. Just skills in general.”
Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov and Adam Fantilli appear to be the top three choices, while Canada Red duo Brayden Yager and Riley Heidt also look like top-five options. Peddle should be a first-round pick, although it’s still quite early to get a read on the class, especially after most players didn’t get a proper season last year.
Peddle will return to Drummondville later this week and attempt to take the momentum gained against the top 16-year-olds from Canada towards continuing a strong run in a tough Central Division fight. Peddle has a bright future ahead of him, and he’s just now starting to introduce himself to the masses in a big way.
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