Names To Know: Berkly Catton Projects As A Top-Flight Center At the Next Level As NHL Teams Gear Up For 2024 Draft

By Will Chase on May 27, 2024 at 1:45 pm
2024 NHL Draft prospect, Berkly Catton, Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League of the Canadian Hockey League
YouTube/Canadian Hockey League

Welcome to the 9th installment of our "Names To Know," 2024 edition, a look-ahead at prospects who the Columbus Blue Jackets could select in the upcoming NHL Draft.

Today, we're looking at Berkly Catton, an 18-year-old forward, standing 5-foot-11, 163 lbs.

In 2023-24, he played for the WHL's Spokane Chiefs, wearing the "A" as an alternate captain leading the team with 116 points and 54 goals, and coming in second with 62 assists in 68 games. He had four assists in four playoff games.

In 2022-23, Catton had 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) in 63 games.

The Athletic's Corey Pronman wrote about Catton in his April prospect rankings and what NHL teams can look forward to:

Catton was one of the best players in the WHL this season and was the best player at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in the summer. He is a well-rounded center and a high-end skater, with powerful edge work that will make him very difficult to check in the NHL. His footspeed is strong, but not at the same level as his edges. He's a very skilled puckhandler and a great passer. Catton makes a ton of difficult plays on the move and has a lot of pace in his game. He's not overly physical, but he competes. He wins pucks, gets to the net and can kill penalties. He projects as an excellent top-six center with a chance to be a No. 1 center.

Catton sounds like a player who has the tools to be successful as an NHL center and The Athletic's Scott Wheeler talked about Catton in his May rankings:

The WHL’s fourth-leading scorer this season, Catton registered 54 goals and 120 points in a combined 72 regular season and playoff games on a Spokane team that lost more games than it won. He had real pedigree even before this season, too, as a No. 1 pick into the WHL who was an offensive catalyst on a bad Chiefs team in his rookie season who also led Canada Red to a silver as captain at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with 12 points in seven games and then again captained Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with a tournament-leading eight goals and 10 points in five games.

He’s dangerous whenever he’s on the puck and shines with his knifing, slippery game. Inside the offensive zone, the way he baits and shades, drawing players to him and then playmaking past them with a pass or a cut, is pretty impressive to watch. Catton is a heady playmaker who uses spacing to his advantage and sees the ice at an advanced level, regularly executing quick plays through coverage or delaying into a pre-planned play. He’s got multi-dimensional skill, with an ability to play both with speed on the rush (he’s a smooth, fast and nimble high-end skater) and more slowly inside the offensive zone when the pace ramps down and he has to spin away from pressure (which he does so well). He’s got great instincts offensively. He tracks back consistently and will get up and under sticks to win his fair share of battles, with more room to round out his game defensively (mostly inside his own zone). He thrives in tight spaces and on cutbacks, he can play on the perimeter or take it to the net, and he’s got a dangerous and quick release while moving. He does such a good job losing defenders with his back to them to avoid getting pinned down because of how adjustable his skating is through stops and starts and tight turns. He draws a lot of penalties with his skating. Catton went from fitting right in as a rookie who was asked to play center on a top line and handled it extremely well (he even won the majority of his draws last year) to constantly threatening as a deceptive and dangerous player offensively has positioned him as one of the top forward prospects in the draft. He was also a top penalty killer in the WHL this year. He's got some very translatable top-six elements with his skating and skill set type. I believe he’s got the chops to stick as a center despite being on the smaller side, as well, because you want him getting touches lower in the zone so that his skating can lead in transition. He’s got a bit of an injury history which has impacted a couple of offseasons and led to him sitting out U18 Worlds, but he's an exciting talent.

Among the best forwards and centers in the first round, Catton will have a home soon among NHL teams in need of his services. 

Mock Draft Results
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My NHL Draft 5th
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