Who is Kameron Kielly?
Kameron Kielly is a center currently playing for the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL. This past season was actually his third in the QMJHL, but this will be his first opportunity to enter the NHL draft. The 18-year old had a solid year as an alternate captain for Charlottetown, and looks to be a possible late-round pick in this year's draft. Kielly is a decent size though not necessarily big either, coming in at 6'-1" and 183 pounds. After a slow beginning to his major junior career in his initial season in the QMJHL with the Gatineau Olympiques, Kielly was traded to Charlottetown, where he has started to progress as a player. His career numbers thus far from Elite Prospects can be found below.
In terms of the rankings, Kielly is generally projected to go in the lower rounds of the draft, so he doesn't show up in a ton of "Top 100" type lists, but NHL's Central Scouting has him at #83 among North American skaters. Elsewhere, for what it's worth, he is projected to be taken 176th by DraftSite.com and showed up in a couple of TSN's Craig Button's midseason Top 100 lists.
Kielly is touted mostly for his ability to contribute in all three zones as an offensive and defensive player. The information that is out there on him indicates that he is a hard worker and is trusted by his team in almost every situation. He's also not afraid to get in a scrap every now and then, with eight fights combined in his last two regular seasons in the QMJHL. As an alternate captain for Charlottetown, he seems to garner respect from his coaches and his teammates, and while he's not a top offensive talent, he has shown some ability to be an offensive contributor for his team with 49 points in his most recent season.
What Others are Saying About Kameron Kielly
There aren't a ton of publicly available profiles on Kielly out there for the time being, but first we'll take a look at some comments from his coach. They come from a piece done on Kielly on the Charlottetown Islanders website and go into some of his strengths and possible expectations as a prospect:
"I think he projects well in the NHL. I think he has the chance to be a third line, second line centreman.
Those guys that play both sides of the puck can play the game the right way…they are few and far between. He does a lot of things the right way out there and he leads by example."
Dwyer said Kielly deserves to and will be drafted.
"He’s come a long way from his first few seasons in the Q. He’s a go-to-guy for us. He’s a guy that can play in every situation, he’s a guy that we want on the ice in every situation and his game continues to improve as he moves along."
His coach also gets into how he was able to adjust to being moved from the wing to center after joining the team:
"He thrived in that position. He’s goal orientated. He’s a guy that’s out there that wants to get the job done and he plays with purpose.
Since that move last year, credit to Kameron on really developing in that role. He’s one of those top guys that can produce offensively but still play against and shut down some offensive guys."
So it seems like Kielly very much fits the two-way center prototype as a prospect. And while it is from the team's own website, it's good to see his coach sing his praises so highly. That his coach trusts him in any situation bodes well for having a well-rounded game.
Next we'll take a look at a scouting report from one of Kielly's games this past season from HockeyProspect.com:
Kielly played a sound two-way game today, supporting his defensemen well in his own end and making some nice plays with the puck in the offensive zone. Showed good vision finding [fellow Charlottetown forward Daniel] Sprong on a couple of occasions in the offensive zone, scoring his goal by going to the net with his stick on the ice and receiving a perfect pass from Sprong from the corner. Worked hard in all three zones, and while he is not a speedster and doesn’t have the best shot, I like his smarts.
This builds on the picture of Kielly as a two-way forward, as he is described as a factor in both the offensive and defensive zone. It also points to some of his limitations though, mentioning a lack of speed and a shot that isn't necessarily high-end.
And this last bit comes from a profile by Ross Bonander over at The Hockey Writers:
A responsible centerman who skates hard in all three zones, he routinely finds himself playing against the opposition’s top line. He’s a versatile center for Charlottetown, able to contribute on the score sheet, play on the PK and the PP, and shadow a star player on the opposing team.
So Kielly definitely seems to have some potential as a shut-down forward. And while he doesn't have top talent as an offensive player, he can still contribute well at that end of the ice.
So there aren't a ton of current videos highlighting Kielly out there right now, but this video from the Charlottetown Islanders starts off with the team's goal of the year, which Kielly got the primary assist on with a great backhanded feed. The whole sequence with he and his linemates is Globetrotter-esque and definitely worth a watch:
Here's another one from the Islanders' year-end awards videos, this one being "most dedicated player," which Kielly was nominated for:
And here is an interview from this past season where Kielly gets into his development as a player and his junior team's season:
And just for the heck of it, here's one of his fights from this past season:
An Opinion of Sorts
In the late rounds of the NHL draft, you're never going to get a sure thing, so a lot of times it's difficult to determine whether a pick is good or not. Generally speaking, I prefer the Devils pick the highest ceiling possible, but they could probably do worse than to take a guy like Kielly. His skill isn't top-end, but he's not completely bereft of offensive talent either, and he can play strong defense and seems well-respected by coaches and teammates alike. He has enough ability that it doesn't seem completely crazy to think he could be a solid third-line contributor in the NHL. Overall, he may not be my ideal pick, but I think he makes some sense as a later-rounder, especially in the 6th round if he were to fall there.
So what do you think of Kameron Kielly as a late round pick? Do you think he has enough skill to make an impact in the NHL some day? Could he be worth the pick for his ability as a defensive forward? Is he the type of prospect you'd like to see the Devils picking with their later selections? Sound off with your thoughts below and thanks for reading.