NHL Draft

Nate Danielson 2023 NHL Draft Profile

This year’s first round seems like it’ll have plenty of players from the WHL chosen and Nate Danielson will likely be one of them. The Alberta product plays a well-rounded game with some above-average skills. He’s projected to go any where from the mid to late first round and wherever he’s selected, there will be some solid reasoning behind it.

Who is Nate Danielson?

Nate DanielsonCRight6’1″185lbs

Nate Danielson’s on ice production

YearDraft RelativeLeagueTeamGPGAP
2017–18D-5AMBHLRed Deer Rebels U15 AAA3691726
2018–19D-4AMBHLRed Deer Rebels U15 AAA29263359
AMMHLRed Deer Northstar Chiefs U16 AAA2404
2019–20D-3CSSHL U18Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep27263460
2020–21D-2AEHL U18Red Deer Chiefs U18 AAA56410
WHLBrandon Wheat Kings2431215
2021–22D-1WHLBrandon Wheat Kings53233457
2022–23D+0WHLBrandon Wheat Kings68334578

Danielson’s stats can be tracked back to when he was 13 years old playing for the Red Deer Rebels in the AMBHL. His first season he scored nine goals and put up 26 points in 36 games, one of his only two under-point-per-game seasons so far. In his D-4 year, Danielson’s production took a massive jump potting 26 goals and 59 points in 29 games meaning he was scoring over two points game.

As a 15-year-old, Danielson joined the Northern Alberta X-Treme Prep and had an even better year than the prior season. When the pandemic hit, he started his season with the Red Deer Chiefs for five games scoring 10 points and then joined the WHL team that drafted him, the Brandon Wheat Kings. Danielson was impressive in the bubble year putting up 15 points in 24 games.

He continued developing and had a good 2021–22 season. Danielson and the Wheat Kings made the playoffs in 2022 and went on to lose to his hometown team, the Red Deer Rebels in six games in the first round. This season, his draft year, Danielson took on the responsibility of being the captain of his team. Even with his leadership and great production of 78 points, it wasn’t enough for him and the Wheat Kings to make the playoffs and they finished 17th in the standings.

Danielson’s strengths

Offensive game

Danielson has quite a few quality strengths when it comes to his offensive game. Compared other players his size, Danielson is a good skater. He has solid top speed and great acceleration and will use it to his advantage. He’ll have players attacking him, leaving him to be covered, then he’ll suddenly explode leaving the opponents behind and becoming open.His edgework is pretty average and he prefers to skate in a straight line style, but it’s solid enough to be effective.

Danielson has a super balanced shot. No type of shot really pops out with him, he’s just good at shooting any type of shot. His favourite appears to be the wrist shot, he flattens the puck and then rips a hard wrister that’s fast and accurate. He’ll use the best shot for the situations he’s in. His passing is good as well, it’s simple and gets the job done. He has flashes of strong passing ability that could be utilized more, but he decides to make the safe play because it’s more likely to lead to a goal. When in the offensive zone, he can draw players in which allows him to make his simple plays.

Defensive game

Danielson has a strong understanding of the defensive part of hockey and often executes plays like a true two-way forward. It’s like he is reading the opponents potential ideas like a children’s book and shuts them down. He’ll place his stick in passing lanes, usually leading to takeaways. He isn’t afraid to step in front of the puck too and will block shots and passes with his body. Scanning the area, allowing himself to know where every attacking player is so he can get into a strong position is something Danielson is great at. He’ll leave lanes open purposefully, so opposing players are attracted to these open lanes and then he’ll shut them down immediately.

Danielson’s areas of improvement

Offensive game

Although he’s well-rounded on offence, Danielson still has flaws. When transitioning into the offensive zone, Danielson will often find himself stopping or slowing down which tells the defenders he’s looking to make a pass or to take a shot, making it easy for the play to be killed or blocked. This stoppage also shuts down all the skating momentum he had, removing the options of driving the net or faking out defenders.

Although his shot is a strength, he does need to be more consistent with it. He seems to miss the net more times than you’d want and is subject to shooting some muffins from time to time. He’ll also panic under pressuring leading to terrible quality shots. Danielson possesses very average stick handling that really isn’t a weakness but can be strongly improved. Simple left to right moves is what Danielson will make and doesn’t make any flashy moves often. Sometimes he does make that nice move, but he’s way too inconsistent with creating those moves at the moment. When deking is needed, he can do it, but it looks very unlikely his hands will be a strength at the NHL level if there’s no improvement.

Danielson’s comparables

Danielson’s top comparable is probably Seattle Kraken Yanni Gourde. Just like Gourde, Danielson is a hard working, two-way forward who you’ll likely be able to rely on for a solid amount of points. Both also play smart and simple and don’t have a skill that stands above the rest.

Fit with Flames

Nate Danielson will likely be available when the Calgary Flames pick and seems like the type of the player they like to pick. Add on that he’s from Alberta and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Flames call Danielson’s name come draft day.

With Mikael Backlund potentially on his way out, Danielson would be close to the perfect predecessor. He plays that simple yet reliable style of hockey and is a very smart player. Like Backlund, he’ll probably put up points but will have a limited offensive game. The Flames would be getting someone who could play on the second or third line and put up 40–60 points a season while being able to match up against higher quality opponents.


Nate Danielson is one of the safer picks in the upcoming draft. He likely won’t be a star, but I can almost guarantee he’ll play a solid amount of NHL games. With a hard working mindset that’s paired with an rounded skillset, Danielson at the very least should be in the middle-six of some team. His ceiling isn’t high and at best he will be a second line centre. If a team feels pressured to ensure their pick will make the show, Danielson will likely hear his name called by that organization.

Risk: 1/5

Reward: 3/5

Projection: Middle-six, two-way forward

All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles

Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:

Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek

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