Tyler Angle 5-10, 172 pounds
Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
7th round (#212 overall), 2019 NHL Draft
Playstyle comparisons: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Max Domi
NHL upside: Second/third line center
Professional debut: 2020
Continuing our early trend of undersized, late round forwards, is 2019 draft selection Tyler Angle. An underwhelming start to his junior career left Angle as a fringe prospect in the minds of many, causing him to fall deep into the seventh round of the draft. In fact, just five players were selected after him in 2019, after an OHL season where he scored 20 goals and 44 points in 58 games. But for the Blue Jackets, who had just three selections in that draft, Angle has been a pleasant surprise.
Following his selection, Angle returned to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, where he emerged as a more productive player, finding the back of the net 28 times and adding 38 assists in 62 games played, before the season was wiped out due to the COVID pandemic. A shortened AHL season followed, where he posted an eye opening 11 goal, 24 point season in just 23 games. But the 2021-22 season was mostly forgettable for Angle (11g, 37pt, 71gp) and the rest of the Cleveland Monsters, and is one that the young pivot will look to bounce back from.
While he doesn’t possess one particular, elite asset, Angle is a solid all-around offensive player, with occasional highlight reel flashes of brilliance. He can stickhandle smoothly, find open teammates with a smart pass, or unleash an underrated shot that is quick and accurate. He is more than willing to go to the dirty areas to retrieve the puck or create offense, and does a good job finding open space, especially in transition. Like many other young offensive talents, he will need to improve his two-way play to make a real impact at the next level, but it is something he has improved upon in his time with the Monsters.
Already with two professional seasons under his belt, Angle looks primed to spend another year in the AHL for 2022-23, but I do think he will earn one of the first call-ups to the big club, when injuries arise. While I don’t see him skating on the team’s top line at any point, I do think he could be come a second or third line player, who can bring some secondary scoring and slide up and down the lineup as needed.
The issue, like the other prospects in this range of our list, is finding a place for him in the NHL. The Blue Jackets have done a fantastic job adding quality, high end prospects to the system, and already boast a quality, young NHL roster. For a prospect like Angle, the upcoming season feels like a make-or-break opportunity. He will need to cement himself as a productive offensive player, and show the big club that he can hold his own defensively – or risk being passed up by younger, more talented prospects.
Angle definitely has the skill and drive to make a push, especially for a team short on talent and depth down the middle – so don’t count him out just yet. He’s proved a lot of people wrong in his journey to professional hockey, and he could make for some hard decisions for the Blue Jackets, at some point in the near future.