With the 83rd overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have selected centerman Riley Stotts of the Calgary Hitmen.

Stotts, a 6’0, 172-pound center, was drafted by the Swift Current Broncos 10th overall in the bantam draft but spent his first season and a quarter struggling to gain any traction with the Broncos, tallying just 19 points in his first 74 WHL regular season games while playing down in the lineup on a deep team and receiving limited power play opportunities.

After the trade to Calgary in late November of the 2017-18 season — Stotts was one part of a massive nine-player transaction — the Winnipeg native’s numbers took off: He racked up 41 points in 47 games and established himself as an offensive driver on a weak Hitmen club.

Riley Stotts Scouting Report

Courtesy of the 2018 NHL Draft Blackbook

Stotts is a former top pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, selected 10th  overall by the Swift Current Broncos. Riley struggled at the beginning of the 2017-18 with the Broncos, failing to establish himself as a top-6 forward on a top team, recording 3 points in 22 games. He was a major beneficiary when he was traded to the Calgary Hitmen after 22 games, immediately assuming top 6 minutes and a consistent role on the team’s top powerplay unit. With the Hitmen he saw a major increase in production, recording 17 goals and 41 points in 47 regular season games.

Riley is an offensive minded centreman who plays a skilled game. His skating ability is effortless, with a long and exaggerated stride. His elusiveness and ability to make time for himself comes from his edgework. He eats up defenders because he doesn’t lose speed when gliding, and can turn and transition effectively. He can change directions both in space and when in tight quarters, combining his skating skills with great ability to determine the presence and pressure of a defender when he has his back turned.

Stotts’ strengths are with the puck, he is a playmaker and by time with his skating ability and soft hands in order to find teammates. His playmaking skills and vision make him a consistent offensive threat, he can make tough plays through traffic and consistently has his head up when puck-handling. In addition to his playmaking, he has also shown the ability to finish plays. He has a deceptive and accurate shot, which he could use more. Around the net he is patient, and has the ability to create his own chances, scoring a few highlight reel goals by making defenseman miss followed by a nice finish around the net. Although his production with the Hitmen was slightly below a point per game, he was the driving offensive force for a poor team. His linemates were average offensive players, and he seemed to create regardless of his wingers.

Stotts’ has the talent and skill to be a top scorer in the WHL and expect him to take more strides in terms of production in his third season in the league. The hit on Stotts’ game is his competitiveness. It is tough to determine his overall effort level because skating comes so easy to him. He saves ice very well and can stay engaged in the game with very few strides because of his efficient edge work. But, his game is not physical, he is prone to losing battles, especially in his own end. This also extends to consistency in his offensive game. Riley can disappear periods at a time and there is a question of his will to be a dominant offensive player. Stotts is a talented player, but his ability to develop into top-6 forward as a pro is in question because of his inconsistency.

Kyle Dubas on Riley Stotts

He was an interesting player. Early in the year in Swift Current, they were a very, very good team and they were trying to give him an opportunity. They moved him. It wasn’t one of those moves in major junior where people are unhappy at all with their situation. He went to Calgary and he really hit [his stride]. Our scouting people – Tim Speltz, of course, but Garth Malarchuk and Dale Derkatch – were really, really excited about him, especially as he progressed in the second half of the year. He was very high on our list. They pushed for him. He seemed like a very well-rounded young man. We are excited to see what he can do in Calgary over the full season next year after our development camp.

Riley Stotts Statistics

Date of Birth: Jan 05, 2000
Age: 18
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Position: C
Height: 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight: 172 lbs / 78 kg
Shoots: L
2013-14Winnipeg Monarchs Bntm AAA Div 2WBAAA23043337626|Playoffs131112238
Winnipeg Monarchs Bantam AAAWBAAA10000|
2014-15Winnipeg Monarchs Bantam AAAWBAAA2939296840|Playoffs1112102220
Winnipeg Monarchs City MdgtWCML11230|
2015-16Winnipeg Wild Midget AAAMMHL3831275824|Playoffs103364
2016-17Swift Current BroncosWHL52971612-3|Playoffs140332-2
Canada Red U17WHC-1722130|
2017-18Swift Current BroncosWHL2221312-6|
Calgary HitmenWHL47172441342|

Riley Stotts Video