Alex Newhook, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Age on Draft Day: 18.41 Years Old
Height/Weight: 5’11, 190 pounds
2018-2019 Stats: 53 GP, 38 G, 64 A, 21 PIM
NHL Central Scouting (North America only): 13th
Bob McKenzie: (not top-15)
Future Considerations: 18th
ISS Hockey: 14th
Craig Button: 27th
Tobias got a great in-person look at Newhook while attending the U18 World Championship this past April, and so he put together a lengthy scouting report on Newhook.
Alex Newhook is one of the most dynamic and skilled players in this draft but he’s also one of the most divisive prospects. A year ago he was seen as a likely top 5 pick while now he’s ranked pretty much anywhere in the first round.
Playing in the BCHL makes him tough to evaluate because it’s a lower level league and there are very few good comparables to look at. There are however a few of them so let’s look at how Newhook compares.
(PPP% is Power Play Points %, PS% is how many of his teams goals he has a point on)
D-1 - GP: 45 G: 22 A: 44 P: 66 P/GP: 1.47 PPP%: 27.3 PS%: 39.5
DY - GP: 53 G: 38 A: 64 P: 102 P/GP: 1.92 PPP%: 28.4 PS%: 48.2
D-1 - GP: 46 G: 23 A: 22 P: 45 P/GP: 0.98 PPP%: 33.3 PS%: 26.3
DY - GP: 48 G: 42 A: 62 P: 104 P/GP: 2.17 PPP%: 42.3 PS%: 47.9
D-1 - GP: 57 G: 36 A: 36 P: 72 P/GP: 1.26 PPP%: 33.3 PS%: 32.9
DY - GP: 48 G: 60 A: 51 P: 111 P/GP: 2.31 PPP%: 47.7 PS%: 53
Newhooks linemates P/GP was 1.26 / 1.09 while Josts linemates were at 2.07 / 1.5 and Turris linemates were at 2.09 / 1.79
He’s a fantastic skater who’s fast in a straight line, but what really stands out is his agility and edge work. The way he uses his skating makes him kind of a nightmare to defend against. Not only does he have explosive speed which allows him to beat D-men on the outside, but he also has the ability to slow the game down when he wants to. He’s definitely in the conversation for the second best skater in the draft after Hughes.
Newhook is the guy who drives his line, from zone exits to zone entries to being the focal point in the offensive zone. He’s primarily a playmaker who uses his skating and stickhandling to open up passing lanes. While not the most physical player in the world, he still doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas.
His release is quick and accurate and he should probably shoot the puck more instead of mostly looking for the pass.
Off the puck he works hard and uses his high hockey IQ to position himself well and break up plays.
Aside from the U18 World Championship, I got a few BCHL views of Newhook because he was linemates with Rangers’ draft pick Riley Hughes in Victoria.
In a draft full of skilled, creative centers, Newhook is one of the best. There are a lot of players who are good at passing through open channels, but Newhook actively creates those seams with his movement. He’s an excellent skater who can turn on a dime, and so he drags defenders with him one way before exploiting the opening from where he came.
He’s always clever with his touch passes, putting the perfect weight on his setups to tee the puck carrier for a shooting opportunity.
He also has a full toolkit of dekes and moves to beat defenders and make plays. His agility is phenomenal, and so he can change directions quickly. This is a player who can make offense happen from innocuous rushes, draw penalties, or leave goaltenders guessing on breakaways.
I believe Newhook has enough shooting talent to score his fair share and keep the opposition honest. His wrist shot isn’t powerful, but his release is so quick. Goaltenders are going to have a hard time with pre-shot recognition, as his blade doesn’t offer much of a tell. He is also generates a ton of rush opportunities because of his speed.
There is some unknown with Newhook just because he played in the BCHL, which is a relatively low level of competition. It was a necessary evil for him to maintain his NCAA eligibility, but the result is that NHL scouts are justifiably going to have questions about how he’ll fair against tougher competition. Beating up on B-level junior players is visually exciting, but it doesn’t offer the same assurance as playing well against major junior level competition.
I do think he answered a lot of those questions at the U18 World Championship. He tied for Canada’s team-lead in points, producing five goals and five assists in seven games.
This is the part of the draft where, at least in our opinions, expectations start to drop a bit. Newhook probably is a talented, versatile player. He’s a top-caliber passer who quarterbacks the power play from the side boards. He creates zone entries and is incredibly confident with the puck on his stick. He takes the initiative to make offense happen when play is otherwise at a standstill. He’s a smart defensive center, and while he probably won’t fill a go-to shutdown at higher levels, he will make strong reads and do his job. He’ll spend a year, maybe two, at Boston College before turning pro. Newhook has upside as a second-line, playmaking center.
We rate Newhook as a soft trade-up option for the Rangers. This is as an uncertain draft crop, and Newhook’s limited exposure to high-end competition might result in teams going for safer bets. If he is available in the teens, then he is the type of player we can imagine the Rangers making a move to grab.
What Others Have Said
“The left-shot forward led the BCHL in points while showcasing great skating, hands and vision. Patience will be key as Newhook continues his development at Boston College next season, but the payoff could be big.”
- Adam Kimmelman, NHL Central Scouting Bureau
“[Newhook] works as hard as anybody in junior hockey and deserves to be in the first round,”
- Victoria Grizzlies linemate Alex Campbell, via the Times Colonist
“Alex’s consistency, and his will to compete, have really stood out.”
- Victoria Grizzlies Head Coach Craig Didmon, via the Times Colonist