At 154th overall in the fifth round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils drafted defenseman Chase Cheslock of Rogers High School in Minnesota. This is absolutely the point of the draft where teams take swings at prospects. As such, some of these names are fairly obscure. So here is what I can find on Cheslock.
Per his Elite Prospects profile, Cheslock was born on October 25, 2004 which puts him on the older end of the draft class for 18-year olds. He is listed at 6’3” and 205 pounds, which means he already has a large, filled-out frame. He is a right-shooting defenseman, which follows the Devils other picks so far as they are right-hand shots.
Cheslock was also very busy in 2022-23. He played 28 games for Rogers High, wherein he put up four goals and 31 points in 28 games. He also played 18 games for the St. Cloud Norsemen of the NAHL. The stronger competition understandably led to fewer production: a goal and three points in 18 games. Cheslock also appeared in 15 games for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, wherein he put up a goal and five points. And he even got a game with the United States National Team Development Program U-18 squad. That’s four different teams in one campaign for Cheslock. Clearly, he was a stud at the Minnesota high school level but faced stiffer opposition in junior leagues.
Elite Prospects’ own tweet about the pick indicates that Cheslock was a very good defender. His physical play was notable, which makes sense for a 6’3”, 205 pound 18-year old defenseman.
For another take (thanks dr(d)evil), Jordan McAlpine at The Rink Live put this short profile about Cheslock. McAlpine points to Cheslock’s skating being his best asset and he could develop into a shutdown defender. Which, hey, if that happens, then that is a role to serve at the professional level.
Mitchell Brown of Elite Prospects does add further to this along with some micro-stats to speak to what happened when Cheslock played with the Lancers. Apparently, he is capable of moving the puck on offense. That would be a good element in his game should it translate to the next level.
Chase Cheslock, new Devils prospect, was impressive with Omaha. Primarily a play-killer, combining timing, physicality, and mobility. Usually looks to beat pressure on the breakout to create space up the rink. And he can dish the puck in the OZ. Lots of upside here. pic.twitter.com/1GxoPaHElB— Mitchell Brown (@MitchLBrown) June 29, 2023
The next step for Cheslock may be the USHL or NAHL for next season. Per EP, he is committed to join the University of St. Thomas in 2024-25. That is two seasons from now. It is a D-1 school and they recently joined the CCHA, so he will be playing at the highest level in college hockey. It will just be some time. Ultimately, that is what this selection tells me. Cheslock is a project and so the Devils will let him develop at his own pace in college. This falls in line with past late draft picks like Artem Shlaine and Ethan Edwards among recent drafts. This is fine and if he does develop, then he can be the next success story after Wood, Bratt, Schmid, and Sharangovich among others.
Now that you know what I think about the pick and learned a bit more about Chase Cheslock, please feel free to give your reaction to the pick in the comments. Please also vote in our 24 hour poll (ends at 1:40 PM), that will lead to a later post describing what you, the People Who Matter, thought of the pick. Thank you for reading.
The Devils drafted Chase Cheslock at 154th Overall. What do you think of the pick?
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