2021-22 Team: Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Date of Birth: June 13, 2003
Place of Birth: Orleans, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 170 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 second-year eligible
Cameron Whitehead is a bigger goaltender with decent mechanics who plays more of a reactionary butterfly style of goaltending. He is strong athletically and is quick in getting from post to post. He has a good, engaged vision, which keeps him alive on every puck. He can throw those mechanics away when he needs to and get creative to make a save in broken-play situations.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Another thing that works to his advantage is that he’s a decent skater with good edgework that allows him to explode off the post quickly to make saves. He has good awareness and anticipation that factor into that.
Whitehead has room to improve upon how he handles breakaways, as he sometimes looks like he’s caught guessing. That won’t just be helpful for regulation but in shootouts as well. Some other things he needs to look to improve have to do with his play with the puck. The first is controlling rebounds better to avoid giving opponents second-chance opportunities. Then when he has the puck, he needs to be better at handling it and finding the right passing option.
This season, he generally split starting duties for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Lincoln Stars. In 31 games, he had a 3.19 goals-against average (GAA) and .892 save percentage (SV%) with a shutout. He finished the year with a 16-8-4 record and saw no postseason action despite the team’s three games. Those 16 wins are definitely a good sign, but he’ll want to see that save percentage rising above .900 before attending Northeastern University for the 2023-24 season.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Cameron Whitehead – NHL Draft Projection
He has good size for a goaltender at 6-foot-3, and that’s something that’s going to catch the eyes of some NHL general managers. Teams needing to bolster their goaltending depth, such as the Seattle Kraken, could take a shot on him in the later rounds of the draft and monitor how he develops. He’ll likely go no earlier than the fifth round.
Whitehead was listed as a C-prospect on the NHL Central Scouting 21-22 Preliminary Players To Watch List, which projects a prospect to be a fourth, fifth, or sixth-round candidate.
“Cameron Whitehead is noticeably a big goaltender, standing at 6’3, 170lbs with a very good tactical and mechanical skill set for an 18-year-old… For a goaltender of his size, Whitehead has the ability to be explosive laterally and while exiting/integrating into his posts. He does a good job finding sightlines to pucks through congestion, and he competes for loose pucks that might become available around the crease.” – Frank Longo, Recruit Scouting
“My first view of Cameron is that he looks like a pro. He’s big, he’s talented, he’s structurally sound in the net, but he’s also very athletic. He’s continuously got better throughout the course of training camp and into the regular season. He’s going to continue to get better as we move along.” – Lincoln Stars head coach Rocky Russo
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Rebound control
- Puck management
- Breakaway goaltending
- Decision-making while puck handling
Despite the unenthusiastic draft projection, that’s not to say he can’t find his way to the NHL. It’s always tough to predict how goaltenders will turn out, especially because a lot of goaltenders are often years away from the NHL when drafted. His height is an advantage for sure, but he’ll need a lot of development before becoming an NHL starter. Like many goaltenders, he’s a project.
Whitehead could become a dependable backup on a good team down the line or even a 1B on a team that doesn’t have a definable No. 1. He’ll need to improve on his puck-handling and decision-making because, as recent times and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin has shown, goalies are becoming more willing to send the puck up ice to start the break for their team.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
Committed to Northeastern University for the 2023-24 season.
Cameron Whitehead Statistics
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.