Courtesy of the Portland Winterhawks

Fantasy Summary

Highly intelligent two-way defenseman with advanced processing, awareness and manipulation habits. Puck skills are only above-average in isolation, but blend very well. Needs to add some strength and improve his skating, but could turn out to be a top-four defenseman at the NHL level.


Observations

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June 2023 – Cagnoni was selected 123rd overall by the Sharks. Pat Quinn

 

April 2023 – So much of Cagnoni’s game flows through his incredible intelligence; his breakout passing is calculated and layered with deception, his off-puck support — whether that’s off the rush or in the offensive zone — is meticulous, and he is constantly shifting the angle of his shot from the blue line, opening up shooting lanes for himself and making it easier for his forwards to tip his shots on goal. When Cagnoni gets the puck, he doesn’t delegate his problems — he solves them. Unfortunately, the market is ruthless when it comes to smaller defensemen with average skating. Cagnoni is likely not going to be a top-20 selection, but his intelligence is among the best, if not the best, among this year’s blue-liners, and we would definitely take the risk based on its upside. Whichever team drafts him in the mid-second round is getting a first-round talent, with lots of potential. Hadi Kalakeche

 

December 2022 – Cagnoni’s off to a strong start to the season with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL, playing in all situations on the top pair, top power play and top penalty kill. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defender isn’t the biggest, the strongest, nor the fastest, and yet he is a bright spot on the Winterhawks. The reason behind his success and his coaches’ trust is his top-of-the-class hockey mind.

Cagnoni is constantly scanning and taking in information on his surroundings, keeping in mind both threats and outlets consistently. On top of that, he blends in shockingly good small-area skill to manipulate the former and exploit the latter. He can go from retrieving a puck to jumpstarting the breakout with a single five-foot pass, can rid himself of a forechecker and open up ten feet of ice for himself to skate out of the zone unchallenged with a single head fake, and regularly sifts through the four or five options available to him as a blue-liner to opt for the better one.

His weaknesses are physical; his upright posture and extended knees limit his explosivity on pivots and sometimes result in him getting to dump-ins after the forechecker, and he struggles to exit pressure along the boards as well. His physicality is limited, and he can get outmuscled on 50/50 battles. Adjust his edgework and posture, however, and there is a dominant top-four NHL defenseman waiting to be developed in Cagnoni. He warrants a first-round pick, and should climb up our rankings by the end of the season. Hadi Kalakeche

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 8.5
NHL Certainty 7.5
Country CAN
Position D
Roster Type Junior
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth December 21, 2004
Height 5‘10”
Weight 172 lbs
Drafted 2023 Round 4; Overall: 123

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2015-2016 MHC Vancouver Selects U12WSI U122 0 00 0|        
 2016-2017 Burnaby Winter Club BruinsQC Int PW4 0 11 0|        
 2018-2019 Burnaby Winter Club U15 PrepCSSHL U1530 5 1722 16|Playoffs3 2 13
  Burnaby Winter Club U16 PrepCSSHL U161 0 00 2|        
 2019-2020 Burnaby Winter Club U16 PrepCSSHL U1634 7 2229 24|Playoffs2 0 11
  Burnaby Winter Club U18 PrepCSSHL U186 1 45 2|        
  Alberni Valley BulldogsBCHL3 0 11 0|        
 2020-2021 Burnaby Winter Club U18 PrepCSSHL U184 1 23 4|        
  Portland WinterhawksWHL10 0 33 2|        
 2021-2022 Portland WinterhawksWHL63 9 2736 12|Playoffs11 1 23
 2022-2023 Portland WinterhawksWHL67 17 4764 46|Playoffs9 1 67 10 
 2023-2024 Portland WinterhawksWHL65 18 7290 34|Playoffs6 3 69

Highlights