Weight: 171 Pounds
Date of birth: February 25, 2002
Hometown: Lake View, New York
Position: Right Wing
OHL Draft: Round 3, 57th overall, 2018 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings
Kitchener Rangers right wing Declan McDonnell played his Midget hockey with the Buffalo Jr Sabres Under-15 squad during the 2017-2018 season, scoring 64 goals and assisting on 44 in 73 games. The Rangers selected him with the 57th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. He was also selected by the Lincoln Stars at the 2018 USHL Futures Draft in the third round, 43rd overall.
The following season, McDonnell played in 54 games with the Junior Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 31 assists, He would add 4 goals and 7 helpers in 12 playoff games and was named to the OJHL Second Team All Prospect. McDonnell would also play in 7 USHL games with the Stars, scoring 1 goal.
In this shortened OHL season, McDonnell appeared in 63 games with the Rangers, scoring 21 goals and 21 assists. His 21 goals ranked third among OHL Rookies while his 21 assists ranked him 7th. His 42 points were good enough for second among OHL rookies.
One of McDonnell’s most interesting traits is his tenacity. He is seemingly almost always after the puck whether on the forecheck, attacking the opposition, or coming back on the backcheck. His ability to steal pucks and create turnovers is uncanny.
McDonnell also possesses some excellent speed and whether he’s just stolen the puck or is attacking he shows that speed off well and combined with some very good puck skills he can create scoring opportunities. He also uses that speed to come back and defend his zone.
McDonnell has an excellent wrister that he gets velocity behind and with some deadly accuracy. He has a lot of confidence in his shot and he has the ability to beat goaltenders with it. He’s not shy about using it either and he likes to use it coming down the wing. Adding a one-timer to his shooting could bode well for him.
McDonnell has shown some playmaking skills and appears to have the vision. He is strong in puck possession but could work on slowing down the play to give his teammates the time to get into scoring position.
McDonnell has been a climber in draft rankings after he wasn’t listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch lists or even their mid-term rankings. But he really took off in the second half of the season scoring at almost a point per game pace.
I expect a big season from McDonnell next season as he’ll get more opportunities with players graduating from the Rangers and more powerplay time. Getting some penalty killing time could be beneficial to him as well.
McDonnell projects as a third liner at the NHL level that could provide some energy and a bit of offence.