Weight: 202 Pounds
Date of birth: May 2, 2002
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Position: Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 2, 3rd overall (Peterborough Petes) 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
Windsor Spitfires left winger Will Cuylle played his Minor Midget AAA hockey during the 2017-2018 season with the Toronto Marlboros where he registered 33 goals and 29 assists in 43 games. He added 9 goals and 3 assists for Toronto in 6 games at the OHL Cup, leading the tournament in points and was named to the all-star team.
The Peterborough Petes called Cuylle’s name out with the third pick at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. OHL Central Scouting had this to say about Cuylle at the time:
William is your prototypical power forward that combines size, skill and skating. He is a powerful skater that gets to top speed quickly and has deceiving speed as most defenders don’t expect such a big forward to move as effortlessly as he does. His puck skills are elite and he has turned nothing into something on numerous occasions this season. He shoots the puck better than most junior players already. He has a lightning quick release with a very accurate shot.
But Cuylle would never where the Pete’s jersey as the Spitfires acquired him for 6 draft picks and a conditional 7th pick on August 31, 2018.
During his rookie season with the Spitfires, Cuylle appeared in all but 5 games scoring 26 goals and 15 assists. He added 2 goals and a helper in 4 playoff games. He was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team at the end of the season. Cuylle also represented Canada Black at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. He scored twice and added an assist in 5 games.
Cuylle began this season with a solid but unspectacular performance with Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He posted 2 goals and an assist in 5 games as Canada captured a silver medal. While we saw him as an early second round possibility, NHL Central Scouting had seen enough to rank him as an A prospect (first round potential) on their pre-season and November rankings. On their mid-term rankings, they list him at 21st among North American Skaters, which would make him one of the first picks in the second round.
With 18 goals and 19 assists through 56 games this season, Cuylle’s offensive numbers are not at the level we would have liked to see them or anticipated. His goal production has dipped from .41 goals per game a year ago to .32 goals per game. And while his assists per game have gone from .23 per game to .33 per game, his points per game have gone virtually unchanged (.65 to .66).
Despite not taking the next step offensively, we are impressed with the package and the potential Cuylle has. Everyone is looking for the next power forward, and Cuylle could be that next one. He has taken remarkable strides in using his big frame and strength almost to the point that the opposition has to be aware when he is on the ice. He hits hard, yet clean and looks to finish his check each and every time, something that was lacking early in the season.
You have to love Cuylle’s shot. Its hard, heavy and has an incredible release. It was an NHL shot a year ago and is even better now. If I have a knock on it, it is that he doesn’t utilize it as he should. He’s looking to be the playmaker more then the shooter now, and while he is capable of setting up teammates, his strength is his shot. That can partially explain the drop in goal production as well.
Cuylle is an intelligent player who understands the defensive game and is near perfect in his defensive positioning. He is very adept at breaking up the opposition plays especially when they are trying to enter the zone. He is also very effective on the PK.
We don’t see first line potential for Cuylle at the next level. His upside is that of a second line power forward who can give you second unit powerplay time as well as on the penalty kill.