2024 NHL Draft Profiles, WHL: Tij Iginla, Cayden Lindstrom, Berkly Catton

Profiling three elite forwards from the WHL who project to go in the top 10 this draft

2024 NHL Draft Profiles, WHL: Tij Iginla, Cayden Lindstrom, Berkly Catton
Photo by Jeremy Allouche / Unsplash

We continue our NHL Draft previews, and today we will be looking at three potential options at forward from the Western Hockey League: Tij Iginla, Cayden Lindstrom, and Berkly Catton. Be sure to read our previous ones as well to be well-versed heading into the draft at the end of June.

Tij Iginla, C/LW (Kelowna Rockets)

6'0, 185 lbs, shoots left


Iginla's name has been around there for a while, and for good reason...his father, Jarome. He's always been seen as a potential future NHLer, and this season he really took off. He was taken 9th overall in the WHL Bantam Draft, so he didn't exactly come out of nowhere. In his rookie season of 2022-23, Iginla had a pedestrian 18 points in 48 games, but the Seattle Thunderbirds were a juggernaut that won the WHL, so it was not surprising to see him low on the depth chart with fewer points than expected.

In the summer, he was dealt to the Kelowna Rockets for a 1st, 3rd, and non-roster player in what has turned out to be a steal for Kelowna. He was much more of a go-to offensive weapon in his draft year, alongside Andrew Cristall and Gabriel Szturc. Iginla had an impressive 84 points in 64 games, with 47 of those being goals. The Rockets still weren't that great, finishing 12th/22 in the WHL, making those 84 points more impressive.

At the beginning of the season, Iginla wasn't even in Craig Button's projected first round, and it made sense based on his production in 2022-23. But after a wildly impressive season, he's ranked as high as 4th (Button) and as low as 18th (Recruit Scouting) amongst the major publications. Although he's usually listed a bit lower than 7th, it wouldn't be a stretch for Ottawa to take him at all. We know they love their sons of former NHLers, and Iginla's stock has seemingly only gotten better as the years have gone on.

Scouting Report:

The common theme amongst scouts who watch Iginla is that he's always hungry for the puck, especially along the boards. Although he's an efficient goal scorer who should be able to score a good amount at the NHL level, he's still strong away from the puck due to his aggressiveness. Corey Pronman of The Athletic had this to say about his game:

"He gets to the inside to score as well and displays a strong effort away from the puck. His pure sense and playmaking don't stand out like the rest of his game, though. He projects as a strong top-six wing who will score a lot of goals"

He might not be one of the more skilled players in the draft, but his work ethic and tenacity should make up for that. Furthermore, Tony Ferrari loves how he can score in different ways:

"His goal-scoring comes in various ways as well. Whether it's a shot from the faceoff dot or crashing the net and burying a rebound, he is always around the puck. That said, Iginla’s playmaking is probably the most underrated part of his game."

Considering his father is a Hall of Famer, I'm not surprised at all that Tij is known as a hard worker, and that is something the Senators would love.


As mentioned, Iginla had 84 points in 64 games, which is quite impressive for draft-year production. That was 22nd amongst WHL skaters, and fourth amongst WHL skaters in their draft year or younger. He also had 15 points in 11 playoff games, tied with Cristall for first on the team in scoring. Just as impressive (if not more so) was his run on the Canada U18 team, where he had six goals and six assists in just seven games, good for fifth in the tournament and third on Canada for points.

Iginla was quite consistent throughout the season, with his longest pointless drought being six games, but after that he never went more than two games without a point. According to Byron Bader's model, Iginla has a 21% chance of becoming a "star" player and a 62% chance of being an NHLer, although I like his odds better based on his upbringing and his upward trajectory. His point comparables are a mixed bag as they include Jonathan Huberdeau, Ray Whitney, and Brad Richards, but also two busts in Jason Sessa and Nikita Gusev:

Further reading and watching:

Cayden Lindstrom, C (Medicine Hat Tigers)

6'4, 216 lbs, shoots left


While Lindstrom didn't come out of nowhere in the WHL, he was taken 54th overall in the Bantam draft, which isn't nearly a top prospect. The centre from Chetwynd, BC dominated the U17 Delta Hockey Academy in 2021-22 with 60 points in 31 games, but in a very high-scoring league, he was only 10th in the league in points per game. In his first WHL season for the Medicine Hat Tigers, Lindstrom performed well with 42 points in 61 games, which was fourth on the team and just 18 points back of the team leader, Oasiz Wiesblatt. The Tigers were a mediocre team with 69 points in 68 games, so it wasn't surprising to see Lindstrom with numbers that didn't jump off the page.

Coming into the 2023-24 season, Button was a fan of his game due to his size, strength, and potential upside, as he said, "I think when you look at potential, he is a fascinating player to watch over the course of this year for me." He was ranked 19th among 2024 prospects, but that number would just keep rising. Lindstrom ended up with 46 points in 32 games, and he missed time due to a back injury that also seemed to affect him in his four playoff games. Before his injury in December, he was on a stretch with 13 goals and 8 assists in 12 games. Although he missed a good chunk of time, scouts love his potential and he's been ranked between 3rd and 12th among the big publications, with most of those coming in the top 5.

Scouting Report:

Lindstrom is someone that scouts drool over: a centre with size, skill, and physicality. He has no problem scoring on his own, he can use his size to his advantage, and it's easy to dream on his potential as a number one centre. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic had this to say about Lindstrom's ability:

"He can play off of the puck, take up space in front and make plays in tight, or jump into space off the rush with his skating, play on the cycle and stay over pucks to help his team maintain possession inside the offensive zone, create in transition — putting defenders on their heels with a head of steam — and even make skill plays from a standstill inside the offensive zone getting to the inside (a real strength). He's a strong, powerful skater who can pull away in open ice and win races."

That kind of player sounds very intriguing, although Pronman has some hesitations about his long-term fit at centre:

"Lindstrom has good offensive skills, and can score goals. His playmaking is something I've questioned at times although he's shown good instances this season. He has the potential to be a true No. 1 center if he hits although I don't see a lot of NHL centers who play the way he does and I could see him get pushed to the wing."

Whether he's at centre or left wing, Lindstrom is a rare kind of player, and it's easy to see why teams love him.


Lindstrom's 46 points in 32 games gave him 1.44 points per game, which was tied for 16th in the WHL, quite good for someone in their draft year. What's interesting about his game is that he also had 66 PIMs in just those 32 games, so some of that could be him simply out-muscling other players, or it could be a sign of things to come as he morphs into a power forward.

In Bader's model, Lindstrom grades out well but probably not as bullish as others are. Based on his point production, the model gives him a 36% chance to be a star and a 60% chance to be an NHLer, which is a bit more upside than Iginla, but you'd like to see those higher. His point comparables include star producer Jason Arnott, three developing prospects in Anton Golyshev, Brendan Brisson, and Maxim Beryozkin, as well as bust Brian Swanson. I love using models like this to get a sense of their historical comparables, although I feel confident that someone with Lindstrom's frame can outperform the model due to his projectability and growing maturity.

Further reading and watching:

Berkly Catton, C (Spokane Chiefs)

5'11, 163 lbs, shoots left


Catton grew up demolishing his peers in Saskatoon as a young teenager and was then taken 1st overall in the WHL Bantam draft, as he showed a ton of promise. He went to Shattuck St. Mary's for his age 15 season where he put up a good but not incredible 23 points in 15 games, but he also played 21 games in the U18 Saskatchewan league where he had 41 points—beating up on more of his peers. 2022-23 was his rookie WHL season and he had an impressive 55 points in 63 games, which was second on a bad team that finished 2nd last in the entire league.

Catton had some hype coming into the season, ranking 8th on Button's top prospect list due to his strong rookie season. He didn't disappoint on that hype, as he posted a whopping 116 points in 68 games, which led the team by eight points over Connor Roulette. The Chiefs were still not a great team, with 66 points in 68 games, plus they only had one player affiliated with an NHL team, so those 116 points look even more impressive.

Scouting Report:

Catton is definitely on the smaller side, which would go against the Senators typical drafting strategy, especially for a centre. However, he sees the game at an elite level and can easily attack opposing defensemen with his quickness and great reads on passes. Tony Ferrari has this to say about his smarts:

"Catton’s awareness on the ice and feel for hockey are elite. How he identifies the small things to give himself the advantage makes him incredibly dangerous. Whether it’s understanding where to put the puck when stickhandling and attacking a defender head-on or his ability to see a passing lane develop as players move around the zone, Catton will pick opponents apart. "

Something that stuck out to me was Luke Sweeney's report from Dobber Prospects that talks about his transition game, which is his bread and butter. Transition games have been emphasized a lot more recently, and Catton would be a perfect catalyst for helping with zone entries:

"Catton is one of the most dynamic players in the draft, with a well-rounded and versatile offensive toolkit, evidenced by the fact that he was the highest-scoring draft-eligible in the entire CHL this season. Catton’s most projectable skills lie in his transition game where he can be both an individual transporter and an entry target."

He doesn't profile as a hard-nosed player, but his talent is undeniable.


As mentioned, Catton had 116 points this season, which was fourth in the entire WHL. Almost all the other top players around him have been drafted already or are over-agers who are multiple years older than him, with Terik Parascak and Gavin McKenna being the only close ones who are his age or younger. His 1.71 points per game compares quite favourably with Lindstrom's 1.44 and Iginla's 1.31. In fact, Catton's numbers are an excellent indicator of a future great player or even a star.

Bader's model has Catton at a 59% chance of becoming a star (but interestingly just a 68% chance of being an NHLer), and his top point comparables are very encouraging: Vladimir Tarasenko, Pavel Brendel, Cole Perfetti, Bryan Little, and Leon Draisaitl. That's one superstar, one star, a solid top-six forward, a probable top-six forward, and a bust—I'll take those odds.

Further reading and watching:

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