OHL Prospect Profile: Kaleb Nelson

– Kaleb Nelson –

York Simcoe Express (ETA) | Centre | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

5-foot-10, 153-pounds | April 13th, 2003

Kaleb Nelson is one of the ETA’s premier goal scorers, battling alongside the league’s elite prospects for the scoring title. Amongst the Express, Nelson is a leader by both example and by voice. Not only has he been the team’s most consistent and dynamic offensive force in the ETA, but Nelson has also led the Express in scoring at each of the team’s major tournaments thus far.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

On the smaller end of the size spectrum, Nelson makes up for it with high-end hockey sense, reading and adapting to developing plays on the fly and positioning himself in quiet and advantageous spots. A quick skater with impressive puck skills at top speed, Nelson can pick goaltenders apart with his lightning-quick release or his upper-tier playmaking.


  • Agility & Acceleration
  • Shot
  • Hockey Sense

While Nelson’s goal totals may suggest that he plays with a sniper’s mentality, he also possesses tremendous smarts that he uses to make decisions of the fly as to whether to shoot, or slip a pass to a teammate. With noteworthy skating abilities, Nelson can fly down the wing or dipsy-doodle through the middle of the ice with relative ease.

Related: Don’t miss any of our 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles.

Boasting incredible poise with the puck, Nelson can effectively cut in and out of traffic in order to gain the offensive zone. However, it’s his shot that really gives him an edge. With a quick and powerful release, Nelson can pick corners on the rush as well as hammer home one-timers. He often slips into a soft spot as well that allow him to deposit the puck into the back of the net off of a feed from a teammate.

Area of Improvement:

  • Size & Strength

With modest height and weight, Nelson has had to overcome the challenges of being a player of smaller stature all his life. As he looks forward to his future in the OHL, those challenges will only grow and force him to adapt more than ever. With that said, there’s no reason to doubt his ability to compete and thrive alongside larger competition.

Perhaps most significantly, Nelson exhibits promising skating and intelligence; two imperative assets in the modern era of hockey. In any case, this will remain an area of focus as Nelson continues to grow and mature. Being able to hit the gym and bring his weight and strength up for training camp will go a long way to dictating where Nelson ends up for the 2019-20 season.

Future Potential:

In all, Kaleb Nelson is an intelligent centre who plays a very impressive, 200-foot game. Showcasing above-average skating and puck skills, Nelson demonstrates all the traits of a natural goal scorer. He has consistently led his team as an offensive catalyst in both regular season and tournament action this season.

Nelson has been able to adjust and improve his effectiveness throughout this year, becoming one of this year’s rising prospects. For the time being, he projects as one of the ETA’s top prospects and as a potential second round pick at the 2019 OHL Draft.

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