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Fantasy Summary

Highly skilled offensive threat with elite shooting ability and great hockey sense. Needs to add strength and quickness but should eventually grow into a top-six goal scorer who can provide solid defensive value at the NHL level.


Observations

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March 2024 – Yager came into this season with a lot of pressure and expectations on his shoulders. When drafted in June he was immediately thrust into being the top prospect for the Penguins. Yager has done well he continues to show the speed, transition game and high end shot that got him drafted 14th overall. As Yager continues his development he does need to continue getting stronger and drive the middle more effectively in traffic. Yager has top-six upside with a potential to be on the top line. He will be a major part of the next generation of Penguins hockey. As he heads into the WHL playoffs he will be looking to carry his Moose Jaw team to a deep run. Tyler Ball

 

June 2023 – Yager has been selected 14th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2023 NHL Draft. Curtis Rines

 

April 2023 – It has been a difficult season for Yager, as he has dropped on just about every single board, and ours is no exception. Yager’s shot is a truly high-end tool. He generates great power and accuracy from a variety of releases and he doesn’t need much space to get them off. He has also built on his playmaking game a fair bit this season, flashing moments of impressive lane manipulation and passes through multiple layers of defense. He’s also a plus-level defensive player, dropping low in the defensive zone, scanning for threats, and fluidly switching assignments while keeping his stick in lanes. That said, his defensive game and goalscoring have both stagnated this season. The biggest concerns we have with his projection are his struggle to play through heavy physicality (we are far more concerned with his lack of physicality than with Benson, Cristall, or Perron, for instance) and his average skating and hockey sense. Yager is really slight, and he will need to either build out his frame and lower body significantly and/or develop his skating or hockey sense to be an adaptive tool to circumvent physical pressure. There is certainly second-line upside here, but there is also a possibility that Yager struggles in making the leap to the NHL. Sebastian High

 

September 2022 – Yager was a prominent figure on a talented Moose Jaw team in 2021-22, notching 34 goals and 25 assists in 63 regular season games before adding seven more points in 10 postseason contests on his way to earning CHL Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to star at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer, finishing tied for second in tournament scoring with five goals and four assists in five games to help Canada earn a gold medal.

Yager has a well-rounded and dynamic offensive toolkit but it is his pure shooting ability that often stands out. He drives possession at a high rate and is dangerous from all over the offensive zone with a snap-release wrister that comes off his blade with force and deception. Yager is a threat off the rush because of the way he constantly scans play, identifying lanes ahead of time and attacking where the opposing defense and netminder are most vulnerable. He just feels threatening whenever the puck is in his vicinity. Yager also works well off the puck to get himself free in open space around the net and has a good sense of timing for attacking downhill or to the back door. He has good vision and moves the puck efficiently but he is more of a facilitator than a pure playmaker, relying on his processing speed and anticipation rather than imaginative or creative passing plays. Yager is a fine skater but he is still a bit rigid and his lack of ankle flexion can limit his agility and short-area explosiveness. That said, he can back defenders off and change gears to create space when he gets a head of steam in transition, allowing him to utilize his deadly wrist shot. Yager also provides value on the defensive side of the puck, effectively supporting play in all three zones and utilizing his quick hands to come away with his fair share of contested pucks, but he sometimes takes poor routes or angles and will have to clean that up this coming season. There is room for improvement in his skating, and he will have to continue to add strength as he matures, but his hockey sense, puck skills, and elite-level shot give him the potential to grow into an impactful top-six scorer who brings a solid two-way game at the NHL level. Nick Richard

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.5
NHL Certainty 8.0
Country CAN
Position C
Roster Type Junior
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth January 3, 2005
Height 6‘0”
Weight 170 lbs
Drafted 2023 Round 1; Overall: 14

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2014-2015 Saskatchewan Jr. PatsBrick Invitational6 3 69 0|Playoffs3 2 24
 2017-2018 Martensville Marauders U15 AASAAHL U1531 35 2459 38|Playoffs2 5 27
 2018-2019 Martensville Marauders U15 AASAAHL U1531 44 59103 22|Playoffs9 13 1528
 2019-2020 Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAASMAAAHL44 18 2442 16|Playoffs6 2 68
  Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAAMacs Tournament4 0 33 0|        
 2020-2021 Saskatoon Contacts U18 AAASMAAAHL6 4 711 8|        
  Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL24 7 1118 4|        
 2021-2022 Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL63 34 2559 18|Playoffs10 3 47
 2022-2023 Canada U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup5 5 49 0|        
  Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL67 28 5078 14|Playoffs10 6 1016
 2023-2024 Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL57 35 6095 20|Playoffs6 6 410
  Canada U20WJC-205 2 35 2|        

Highlights