The Edmonton Oilers drafted defenceman Beau Akey with their first pick of the 2023 NHL Draft on Thursday morning.
Akey spent the last season with the Barrie Colts, picking up 47 points in 66 games with the top team in the OHL. He helped anchor Barrie’s powerplay for much of the year before Brandt Clarke was sent back to the team at the midway mark.
While Akey may be a defender, much of the praise in his game comes from his offensive instincts and ability to transition play up the ice.
“He’s a very skilled puckhandler and distributor who doesn’t shy from jumping up into the attack. He looks to make plays and attack. Akey is a strong skater who is dangerous in transition. Inside the zone, he can make tough plays with the puck while also having a hard point shot that can beat goaltenders clean.”Corey Pronman, TheAthletic
That being said, his defensive play isn’t awful, it just lacks a bit of the polish you might want for a true top prospect at the position. The strongest part of his game is an above-average shot.
What Akey can offer to the Oilers
He will add a unique dimension for Edmonton’s defensive prospects as one of the pure offensive guys in a sea of defensive minded players. While his path to a prominent role with the Oilers is somewhat clouded, as Evan Bouchard is set to QB Edmonton’s powerplay for the considerable future, it will be interesting to see what he could develop into.
As for his draft position, this wasn’t a reach. Akey was expected to go somewhere in the second-round.
Here is a look at how Akey himself would describe his style of play:
This is the first time the Oilers have drafted a defenceman in the second round since David Musil in 2011.