Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
For the first time in two years, the NHL Draft will be held in person, this time on July 7 and 8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que. This year, NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings include five players that played in the BCHL last season.
Leading up to the draft, we will speak with the prospects to get their thoughts on the process and a variety of other subjects.
The BCHL’s 2022 NHL Draft coverage is presented by Chevrolet.
Wenatchee Wild forward Cade Littler entered the 2021-22 seasons with only a couple of affiliate games in the BCHL under his belt, but he was still very familiar with league. His father Bliss Littler is the longtime head coach and general manager of the Wild, up until this past season when he transitioned to solely focus on the GM role, so he already knew what the league was all about.
That familiarity seems to have done wonders for Cade as he hit the ground running in his rookie season, finishing with 45 points in 50 games and making the league’s All-Rookie Team.
He comes into this week’s draft ranked 187th among North American skaters. He discusses his first season in the BCHL, his return to the league next year and his outlook for the draft.
BCHL: You enjoyed a productive year as a rookie in the BCHL, but your team seemed to make significant improvements as well. What did you think of the team’s play overall?
Littler: Our team made huge strides throughout the year. We all got better. We learned how to play as a team and everyone bought in more as the year went on. After Christmas, we started to win a lot more and it was a lot of fun.
BCHL: You ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, but you took the second-place Salmon Arm Silverbacks to seven games. What did you and your teammates learn from that experience?
Littler: It was good for us. After Game 2, we came back home down 2-0 and we won two big games at home. I think that showed a lot about us as a group and our resiliency. We battled back and showed that we were never out of it. We lost Game 5 up there and came back home in an elimination game and won it in the third period to force a Game 7. That’s what we wanted at the start of the series, to get a winner-take-all situation. We didn’t end up on the right side of Game 7, but I think it was positive that we battled back from down 2-0 and down 3-2 and took that team to seven games and made it competitive.
BCHL: You are coming back to the Wild again next year. What do you hope to accomplish in your second year?
Littler: I want to be more of an impact player every night. I want to be a player that can dominate. For the team, we’re coming back a lot better. We can be a team that can win every night and that can have a lot of success.
BCHL: You made it onto NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings ahead of this week’s draft. Was that a goal of yours during the year?
Littler: Every kid wants to be drafted. It was definitely a goal of mine to be on the list and to get drafted. I don’t think it defines me one way or the other. There’s still a lot of years ahead that matter.
BCHL: If you were speaking to an NHL general manager who was thinking of selecting you, how would you describe your game and how would it translate to the next level?
Littler: I’m a big centre that plays 200 feet. I’m smart on the ice and can help the team win by playing well defensively and offensively.