The scouts of the NY Islanders must have seen something they like in Quinn Finley, as it may look like they took a bit of a gamble drafting him so early in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Rankings for the 17-year-old seem to be scattered depending on where you're searching. FC Hockey ranked the Valparaiso, IN native 227th overall, meanwhile, NHL Central Scouting ranked him 36th among North American skaters. The Isles ultimately decided to select Finley with the 78th overall pick
At 6’0″ and only 166 pounds, Finley is going to have to put on some serious size to be able to compete at the next level. He is an offensive-minded winger with speed. He is at his best without the puck, finding open spaces where his teammates can set him up. He has decent puck skills but can still use significant improvement.
Competing in the USHL for the Madison Capitols, Finley is considered to be one of the most talented players in the league. He is a sniper who has the shot to compete at the highest level if he can round out the remainder of his game. Here is how Elite Prospects describes Finley's shot:
"Showed a one-timer, two-touch wrister, and a clean catch-and-release. Takes the puck across his body, chooses to handle only if necessary, elevates his top arm elbow, and drives through his shot. It’s projectable to at least a 6-grade (out of 10) shot, and that base gives him plenty of ability to add new shooting skills. He’s a rebound-generating machine"- Elite Prospects
The defensive end is where Finley is going to have to improve his game the most, often puck-watching and not keeping up with his assignment. That along with the type of player he projects to be is what makes him such a reach.
His skill set consists of that of a top-6 forward. He doesn’t show the body type or the checking ability to play bottom-6 minutes. He is a bit of an all-or-nothing type project for the Islanders. If he can put on the weight and fine-tune his game, in a few years he could make this pick worth the reach. Finley's age also allows him extra time to develop as he was one of the youngest players selected in this year's draft.
Finley showed flashes of his skill during his 2021-22 season in Madison, scoring 12 goals and adding 17 assists in 39 games. He helped lead his team to the Clark Cup Finals (USHL Championship) for the first time in the organization's history. Finley and the Capitols ultimately were defeated by the Sioux City Musketeers but not before the Islanders' third-round pick finished the playoffs with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 14 games.
The USHL season for Finley and the Capitols is soon approaching as the puck drops, beginning their 2022-23 campaign on September 22. He is committed to playing collegiately at the University of Wisconsin under Head Coach Tony Granato in 2023-24.