Mobile defender with great size and good offensive instincts. A bit of a project but has upside as a top-four defenceman at the NHL level.
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June 2023 – Pickering had a solid draft-plus-one season where he improved upon the tools that made him a first-round pick in 2022. He increased his point output in the WHL and made his AHL debut at the end of the year. Pickering is still a raw prospect who shows flashes of offensive upside while having a very sound all-around game. Pickering excels at passing the puck and orchestrating breakouts. He will need to improve his creativity in the offensive zone and his shot from the point to improve his offensive arsenal. Pickering’s rush defense is a strength of his game but he will have to find ways to better use his 6-4 frame in his transition to the pro level. Pickering projects as a middle-pairing defenseman who gets powerplay opportunities in the NHL someday if his development continues along as expected. Tyler Ball
July 2022 – The Pittsburgh Penguins have selected Pickering with the 21st overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
December 2021 – Drafted in the 9th round of the 2019 WHL draft, Pickering has blossomed into an important player for Swift Current. He registered nine points while playing over 21 minutes per game in 23 contests in 2020-21 and has seen his role increase in his second season, averaging almost 24 minutes of ice time per game through the early part of his draft year.
There just aren’t a lot of defencemen with Pickering’s combination of size, mobility, and offensive instincts. He has a long, powerful stride but is agile for such a rangy defender. He is able to mirror oncoming attackers with good footwork and can turn to skate with opposing forwards when they try to beat him with speed. Pickering’s mobility allows him to step up and smother passing options in the neutral zone with his great reach because he has the ability to recover if the play gets behind him. He also shows a willingness to push play from the back end and jump into the rush when he sees an opportunity. In the offensive zone, he makes quick reads to pinch down the wall or skate into shooting space and he has some finishing ability – he currently sits just one goal back of Mateychuk for the goal-scoring lead among WHL draft-eligible defencemen. Pickering is still growing into his body and with added strength, he could become a strong defensive presence with the ability to generate offense at the NHL level. It might take a while to get there, but his upside is about as high as anyone who is projected outside the top-10 in the 2022 draft. Nick Richard
|2013-2014||Winnipeg Jr. Jets (Brick)||Brick Invitational||6||1||1||2||0||||
|2017-2018||Eastman Selects U15 AAA||WAAA U15||7||0||1||1||0||||
|2018-2019||Eastman Selects U15 AAA||WAAA U15||35||6||11||17||14||||
|2019-2020||RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg U16||CSSHL U16||34||5||16||21||8|||||Playoffs||2||0||3||3||0|
|RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg U18||CSSHL U18||3||0||0||0||2||||
|2020-2021||RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg U18||CSSHL U18||3||0||2||2||2||||
|Swift Current Broncos||WHL||23||2||7||9||8||||
|2021-2022||Swift Current Broncos||WHL||62||9||24||33||39||||
|2022-2023||Swift Current Broncos||WHL||61||9||36||45||30||||
|2023-2024||Swift Current Broncos||WHL||19||3||9||12||8||||