Weight: 185 pounds
Date of birth: January 20, 2000
Hometown: Pleasant Lake, Michigan
OHL Draft: Round 6, 106 overall, 2016 Priority Selection – Round 2, 23rd overall, 2016 USHL Futures Draft
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 86th North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at present
Being a native of Pleasant Lake Michigan, it made sense that the Saginaw Spirit had eyes on 6’2” right shooting defenceman Caleb Everett when they were on the clock to make their sixth-round selection in 2016.
During the 2015-2016, Everett manned the blueline for the Compuware Under-16 squad where he scored twice and added four assists in seventeen games and played a key role in helping his squad win the State and National Titles. He would also get into a trio of regular season and playoff games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.
Ontario Hockey League Central Scouting report on Everett read as follows:
Caleb is one of the top American defenders this season. He isn’t a player that is going to wow you with his skills and offensive flashes, he plays a simple and safe game. He is solid defensively and makes very few mistakes during the course of a game. He takes a calculated approach in his game. He makes the simple play and moves the puck up to his skilled forwards. He is the type of defender that coaches love because you always know that you are going to get a very effective and competitive effort.
This season Everett appeared in 58 games for the Spirit scoring 6 goals and 14 assists. The Spirit were faced with the daunting task of going up against the top ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League – the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – in the first round of the playoffs and were eliminated in four games. While Everett didn’t register any points in the series, what you saw from him is what was expected.
There were – and maybe still are – questions about how much offensive ability Everett possesses. Consider this however: When the calendar flipped to 2018, he trailed only the big three of Evan Bouchard, Ryan Merkley and Rasmus Sandin in points among draft eligible defencemen while playing in the second fewest games. He had 4 of his 6 goals and 12 of his 14 assists by that time (26 games). And he did that after missing the first three weeks of the season, sustaining an injury on opening night against the Windsor Spitfires. Poor offensive numbers in the second half dropped him out of the top 10.
We try not to make excuses but would rather try and find an explanation because, unlike Central Scouting’s report, Everett has shown some offensive flashes. It’s possible that the OHL schedule took a toll on Everett. He was not accustomed to playing a 68-game schedule, or 3 games in 3 days.
At 6’2” Everett has good size. He’s a good skater with very good mobility and moves well and moves extremely well laterally. Defensively, he maintains close gaps, gets into passing lanes, is using his size more effectively and becoming more physical, has an excellent work ethic and doesn’t give up in battles. He makes a good first pass to clear the zone and as he matured as the season went on, became more comfortable at skating the puck up ice. He has the ability to be an excellent shut-down defenceman.
Again, the questions with Everett arise offensively. But he has shown he can create some offence. He makes excellent reads at the offensive blue line making safe pinches at the right time. He has the mobility to walk the line and create lanes to the net or for passes. He has a decent shot from the point and finds the target. He was given the opportunity to quarterback the powerplay and has shown an ability to do so.
Don’t be fooled by the sixth-round selection. Central Scouting had him ranked much higher and the lack of commitment as to whether he would go the OHL route or the USHL/NCAA route caused him to drop. And the Saginaw Spirit made no secret about that in the press conference announcing his commitment.