I feel that up until here, I’ve been hyping this player up like I would a potential first-rounder, so why isn’t Wiesblatt considered in this rarified air? Firstly, the elephant in the room is, as always, the player’s size. Wiesblatt isn’t the smallest player in the draft, however, the NHL is an archaic beast and size still matters to an extent.
Secondly, and from what I can see, the bulk of the criticism comes from Wiesblatt’s poor showing in tournament play. Way back in January (2020), Ozzy was unable to leave his mark in the CHL Top Prospects game. Specifically, he had no shots on net, was unable to pick up an assist, and ended up a minus two (if you’re into those sorts of things). While only a single game, it somewhat reflected a sub-par Hlinka tournament in which he scored only a single point across five games.
"“He also was nearly invisible at the Top Prospects’ Game in Jan. 2020, scoring no points, taking zero shots, and ending the contest a minus-two, which revealed a significant gap between his skill level and the rest of the 2020 draft class.” –Dayton Riemer, The Hockey Writers"
The playoffs would have been a great opportunity for Ozzy to clap back at his detractors, though, unfortunately he won’t get that opportunity this season. It’s worth noting that he did score 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in 23 playoff games last season, in his supporting role on the Raiders championship team. Nonetheless, some worries remain that Wiesblatt is a tier below his “Top Prospect” peer group.
Thirdly and finally, the only further criticism that I can find is that Wiesblatt is somewhat one-dimensional in the offensive zone. As stated above, his point production primarily comes off of the rush. Adding versatility to his game should round out his skill set. Should he add some strings to his bow in this area, it’s likely that his tournament scoring and play against stronger competition, will improve.
As an NHL comparison, how often do we see scoring off the rush in playoff hockey as opposed to sustained offensive zone time? The stronger Wiesblatt can become at maintaining a strong in-zone cycle, the more effective he should become as an overall offensive threat.
"“He’s a dynamic game-breaker who hid in plain sight for a stacked Prince Albert team last season but is poised to be a go-to offensive figure in his draft year. He’s a dynamic skilled forward who can pull the trigger and skate with the best of them, he should be a factor anywhere up or down the lineup on this team and is certainly underrated going in.” – Justin Froese, Future Considerations"
"“Terrific hands, nice edging, and a strong offensive zone cycle… all around skill and all the attributes that point to advancement to the higher levels of play… quick stride and drives play into the attacking zone” –Bill Placzek, Draftsite"
"“Wiesblatt is a good skater who plays an up-tempo game with a bit of ferocity. He is an excellent skater who excels in the offensive zone when given the freedom to be creative. His vision allows him to create for opponents and his IQ allows him to find quiet spots in the offensive zone to set up for a scoring chance. In transition, Wiesblatt is shifty and smooth through the neutral zone and carries the puck into the offensive zone before attacking the front of the net. He likes to funnel the puck below the dots and into the net-front area. His game offensively is predicated on his speed and agility as well as his willingness to fight through traffic to find soft spots in coverage.” –Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects"
"“He has a never-quit mentality, bringing a high-energy pace to every shift and both ends of the ice. He’s not afraid to get under the skin of his opponents, sometimes reminding me of the Tkachuk brothers in his play. He’s a good skater, evident in his transition play where he also shows off his great puck handling. He has a high hockey IQ, allowing him to make great plays on a regular basis. I see him as a middle-six player that could play up and down the lineup and on any special teams. As I said, for the team that drafts him, he’ll be a fan favourite.” –Josh Bell, The Hockey Writers"