2023 QMJHL Draft | Under the Microscope: Zachary Wheeler
Zachary Wheeler chose the perfect time to have the most offensively productive season of his young career. Thanks to his success with the NBPEIMU18HL’s Moncton Flyers in 2022-23, he’s become a highly touted player ahead of this summer’s QMJHL Draft.
With 21 goals and 60 points in 34 games, the 16-year-old led the league in scoring while also taking on an important leadership role as a second-year player. Wheeler’s rookie season with the club ended in dream fashion with a NBPEIMU18HL title, a U18 Atlantic Championship and a Men’s U18 National Club Championship.
Through it all, Wheeler has grown into his role and made great progress since joining his hometown team as an underage player last year. The centreman is highly skilled and has the hockey IQ to match.
“It goes without saying that Wheeler had a great regular season after leading the NBPEIMU18HL in both assists (39) and points (60) in just 34 games. The skilled forward has great playmaking skills and a great vision of the game. In addition, he’s able to effectively position himself in the offensive zone to produce high-danger scoring opportunities for he and his teammates,” explained Justin Blackmore, New Brunswick CSR Scout. “His high IQ and active stick also make him reliable in the defensive zone. Thanks to a strong two-way game, he is quick to jump on loose pucks or to steal them from opposing players.”
While his offensive outburst this season was impressive, he also does the hard work in the defensive zone and is relied upon in all game situations, including the penalty kill. Wheeler is mature for his age, and accepts responsibility and accountability while always challenging himself to be better.
“Everybody talks about the 200-foot player and he’s all of that. He plays below the goal line in his own end as well as in the offensive zone, and I think that’s the part that’s really going to serve him well,” said Flyers head coach John DeCourcey. “It’s his goal to be a hockey player, he wants to play in the QMJHL, and he’s really driven to want to accomplish that. It’s important to take it one step at a time, but right now he’s on a good trend.”
With a complete game that will translate well to the Major Junior level, and one that he hopes can eventually develop for the pro ranks as well, it should come as no surprise that Wheeler is drawing lots of attention with the draft just around the corner.
Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 165 lbs
Date of Birth: January 16, 2007
Birthplace: Moncton, New Brunswick