William Zellers - 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile - The Hockey Writers Latest News, Analysis & More (2024)

William Zellers

2023-24 Team: Shattuck St. Mary’s 18U Prep (USHS-Prep)
Date of Birth: Apr. 4, 2006
Place of Birth: Maple Grove, Minnesota
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 170 pounds
Shoots: L
Position: F
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2024 first-year eligible

Rankings

He was a standout at Shattuck St. Mary’s this past season as an 18-year-old and now, William Zellers is set to become an NHL prospect this month as the 2024 NHL Draft inches closer. With 57 goals and 111 points in 54 games, Zellers ran away with the scoring lead in the U.S. High School Prep circuit and led the way for Shattuck — 12 points up on teammate Ryker Lee.

Related:THW’s 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Beyond the numbers, however, Zellers excels in many aspects of the game. His speed helps him drive the transition game from his own end to create opportunities in the offensive zone. As his numbers would dictate, he’s a player that can not only score, but sees the game on a whole different level. He uses speed and his hands in tight areas to maintain possession and open up space for his teammates.

His shot, while not the top tier in the class, is deceptive and allows him to make medium danger shots tougher on opposing goalies. That should entice him to shoot more often. He understands the game on another level and is really developing into a top tier player.

William Zellers - 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile - The Hockey Writers Latest News, Analysis & More (1)

That said, there are areas of his game that could still use some growth. While offensively dominant — obviously — his defensive game and 200-foot coverage could use some rounding out. He is smaller in stature, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in skill and ability. Still, strength is something he will have to increase if he’s going to make a steady climb to the next level in the coming seasons.

As for next season, Zellers had originally committed to Boston University. However, in September he changed that commitment and will be attending the University of North Dakota where his NCAA career should help to close those gaps in his game.

William Zellers – NHL Draft Projection

There isn’t too much separation in rankings when it comes to where Zellers should go in this month’s draft. He’s listed on some as high as 53rd and others have him as low as 63rd. Either way, that would land him as a late second-round pick — not a bad spot for the Shattuck product. He’s the 54th ranked North American skater and with a few European skaters sprinkled in the first two rounds, it’s not out of the question that Zellers will be taken in the range of 58 to 65.

Quotables

“Zellers is a solid two-way player who uses intelligent stick checks to disrupt attacks and turn defence into offence quickly. He shows a nice passing range and good accuracy through crowded areas.” — Puck Preps

“I think he’s got a chance to be a really good player in the long run and he’s got such good hockey sense, which is one of the hardest things to teach and one of the most valuable things a hockey player can have. He’s got such a good feel for the game, he understands what’s going on and he can read and react. Plus, he’s got such a good work ethic and is a great kid to be around.” — Tom Ward, head coach of Shattuck St. Mary’s

Strengths

  • Skating and speed
  • Vision
  • Hockey IQ
  • Offensive awareness

Under Construction — Improvements to Make

  • Size and strength
  • 200-foot game
  • Winning puck battles

NHL Potential

The game has changed to an extent that favours players of Zellers’ size. While smaller, his pure skill and ability to possess the puck makes him such a threat offensively that it will likely earn him a shot at some point down the road. That said, his focus for the near future is at the University of North Dakota. From there, we’ll have a better idea of what he can bring to the NHL and how well his game will transition to the next level. He’s a support winger that could get a shot as a middle six — third line seems more likely — but he could land some power play time when he gets his NHL career off the ground.

Risk-Reward Analysis

Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 7.5/10, Defence – 6/10

Awards/Achievements

It’s a fairly empty case so far when you look at the awards and achievements that Zellers has racked up. You could consider his scoring title in prep hockey as an achievement this past season, but another notable moment in his young career was winning the bronze medal while representing the United States at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2023-24.

Interviews/Links

Locked on Senators — 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Will Zellers

The Rink Live — Maple Grove’s Will Zellers hoping to make the most of Hlinka Gretzky Cup roster spot

Alexander Zetterberg Stats

Videos

Beautiful feed by Trevor Connelly to find William Zellers to tie the game for USA #HlinkaGretzkyCup@FCHockey pic.twitter.com/asMP5l245n

— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) July 31, 2023
William Zellers - 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile - The Hockey Writers Latest News, Analysis & More (2024)
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