Guerin and Brackett really like their blueliners.
The six-foot-tall, 174-pound blueliner from Edmonton, Alberta is a classic Judd Brackett pick - fast skating, skilled and has some good tools for moving the puck up the ice. The Rebels were a rebuilding team over the past couple seasons, and, mainly because of an awful lower-body injury suffered in the fourth game of the 2019 season, Masters didn’t get the ice time needed to build his game to a point where he could be an early-round selection, totaling only two goals and 11 assists in 44 games over the last two seasons. But many scouts believe that with some more experience, Masters should be able to improve the parts of his game that need it, including defensive responsibility and becoming an impact player.
Kyle Masters - @Rebelshockey— Puck Preps Western Canada (@PuckPrepsWestCa) March 21, 2021
One of the most improved players thus far in the young WHL season. Kyle shows poise and control with the puck, using his frame and agility to his advantage. #2021WHLDraft pic.twitter.com/oS5loavYp6
Masters did show enough in his first year in Red Deer to get the attention of the Canadian U17 program, where he was selected to participate with the Canada Red squad in 2019, putting up three assists in four games among some strong junior players north of the border.
Elite Prospects’ draft guide says this about Masters’ game:
He’s a play-planner, moving the puck, not to the most obvious target, but the one that creates the most favourable situation up the rink. He activates into the rush by filling space on the weak side, as the trailer, or becoming a forward — in every situation, he sprints past his man, establishing body positioning if necessary, and adjusts his route and speed to become a passing option.
Draft analyst Steve Kournianos had this to say about the offensive defenseman from Red Deer:
118. Wild take RHD Kyle Masters who can do some crafty things with the puck. pic.twitter.com/CTDSXSyJ2B— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) July 24, 2021
If there’s a knock on his game, it’s that his defensive game can use some work, especially when it comes to decision making, as scouts like Justin Froese believe that he can sometimes make high risk plays and make questional decisions with the puck. However, with more time on ice to learn and develop, the “boom-or-bust” prospect will have a good chance to smooth out the wrinkles in his game by the time he makes it to Iowa.
Unlike the Bankier pick in the third round which, according to rankings, might have been a bit of a reach, grabbing Masters at 118 looks to be an absolute steal. Elite Prospects had Masters at No. 38 on their big board, and many other NHL draft ranking products had the Canadian defenseman in their top 100.
Guerin and Brackett have really been focusing on defense so far in this year’s draft, adding Masters to a 2021 class that already includes Carson Lambos and Jack Peart, as well as goaltender Jesper Wallstedt. With only three picks remaining in this year’s draft, you’d have to think that offense will be the priority in the late rounds.
This is a developing story