2019-20 Team: Guelph Storm (#35)
Date of Birth: Dec. 22, 2000
Place of Birth: Munchen, Germany
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 202 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 second-year eligible
The rise of Nico Daws is an incredible story. Not many seventh-round picks in the OHL Draft get to do what Daws has done in Guelph. After being an understudy to Anthony Popovich for two seasons, Daws was handed the keys to the crease and has taken off.
The flavor of the day for the Guelph Storm coming into the 2019-20 season was rebuild. No matter what publication you read, Guelph and rebuild were in the same sentence. After winning an OHL Championship the season before and losing many of those players, the thought was the Storm would easily be one of the worst teams in the Western Conference.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Daws saw that and used the summer to make changes to his habit. He lost almost 30 pounds in the summer because he knew his chance was in front of him. He became stronger and more agile as a result.
The result was a brand new Daws. He helped the Storm steamroll their competition midway through the season to the tune of a 12-0-1 streak. Overall, Daws leads the OHL in both save percentage (,924) and shutouts (5). He is also third in goals-against average (2.48). His season helped him go from NHL undrafted player to Team Canada’s starting goalie on Boxing Day. Needless to say he won’t be passed over a second time.
What stands out about Daws is his control of the situation. He makes difficult saves look easy. He plays his position well and is able to go side-to-side in a quick manner. You almost have to be perfect in order to beat him. Plus he has a lightning quick glove.
Two things stand out to me in terms of improvements. In the games I saw, he let most of his goals get by him on the blocker side. I’d like to see him lock that down more. I’d also like to see him perform better on the bigger stage. This points to consistency in his game against stronger competition. It was quite the leap to make in just one season, so I expect this will rectify itself over time.
But what a story Daws is. When he got his chance, he ran with it and has made a name for himself. If there is one thing you can expect fro him moving forward, he’ll be ready to prove any doubters wrong about how good he can be at the next level.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Nico Daws – NHL Draft Projection
Daws is the number one goalie prospect on Central Scouting’s North American list. How high he goes in his second try at the draft will depend on how teams view his upside. The earliest I would consider him would be the end of the second round. Personally he falls in round three mainly due to performances on the bigger stage. Take nothing way from what he’s accomplished. He just needs to show consistency in the bigger games and has yet to do that.
“I loved Daws at the CHL-Russia series and with his size and quick feet, I believe he’ll be one of the top Canadian goalies available. Not his fault the Storm played the veteran Popovich so much in his original draft year.” –Ryan Kennedy/The Hockey News
“Daws is a big goaltender at 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds and moves very well from post to post, but his quick glove hand is typically what you notice first. Daws wasn’t a threat for the 2019 draft due to a lack of playing time, but now, he’s the top goaltending prospect in North America.” – Steven Ellis/The Hockey News
- Strong positionally.
- Quick glove.
- NHL frame.
- Highly motivated.
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Consistency in the bigger games.
- Better on blocker side.
Daws’ potential is an interesting topic depending on who you ask. Those that believe he can be a number one someday point to the season he’s had in Guelph now that he’s had his own crease. But others point to performances on the big stage not living up to expectations. I tend to lean toward the former considering how many thought Guelph had no chance this season. He took it upon himself to be ready and has more than answered the call. I do see him getting his shot in due time.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 4/5
Daws has two major victories under his belt. He won an OHL Championship playing as the primary backup to Anthony Popovich. He then won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships splitting time with Joel Hofer.