The Pipeline: A conversation with Jimmy Snuggerud
Jimmy Snuggerud has the work ethic that all NHL teams are searching for.
And at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, the projected first round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft already possesses the mentality and the physical tools to be a power forward for any team that may draft him.
“I’m just a competitive forward…I’m like a dog on a bone and just work for the puck to set up my linemates,” Snuggerud told Guy Flaming during their interview on The Pipeline Show. “I like to play everywhere…the power play, the penalty kill, wherever the coach needs me.”
The US National Team Development Program forward had a solid season, posting 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) in 51 games.
Snuggerud is No. 41 in FCHockey’s Spring for the 2022 draft, and is slotted at No. 8 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm list. That’s not quite where his attention lies, though. At least not yet.
The 17-year-old University of Minnesota commit is focused on ending this season with winning a gold at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and doesn’t worry about his rankings for the upcoming draft in July.
“I think I’m one of those guys that puts it in the back of my head and lives in the present. I don’t really look at that stuff much.” he said. “My main goal right now, and I’m sure it’s all my teammates goal, is to win the U18 Worlds.”
Guy Flaming: When you’re playing internationally, I have to think you’re pretty confident in your ability to come away with the gold.
Jimmy Snuggerud: Yeah. I think our team plays really well, especially on the big ice, I think we are a speed team. It’s kind of our dynamic standpoint. When we get on that big sheet, the game changes for us. We still play our same game and that speed and that big ice factors in super well for our team.
Guy Flaming: Tell me about your season as an individual, Jimmy…56 points in 51 games. Now you played a bunch of those in the USHL and a lot against Division 1 opponents (in the NCAA) and then those international games too. Are you satisfied with the season that you’ve had statistically and the way you’ve played?
Jimmy Snuggerud: Yeah, I’m pretty satisfied. I think I might have changed from last year to this year in my game. I think our team had a super good season in the USHL and in college. We had one of the best winning records playing against Division 1 teams ever. So I think our team had a lot of success.
Guy Flaming: You said you made some changes to your game, can you explain what those might be?
Jimmy Snuggerud: My skating was a change I made in my game over the past summer. I kind of dialed it in on that and I also tried to improve my shot and my playmaking ability.
Guy Flaming: What’s your role on the team, other than the guy that puts up points. Are you a penalty kill and a power play guy…where do you fit in?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I like to play everywhere. The power play, the penalty kill, wherever the coach needs me. I’m just a competitive forward, I’m like a dog on a bone and just work for the puck to set up my linemates.
Guy Flaming: Are you a winger or are you in the middle?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I’m a winger currently right now, but I have played center in the past.
Guy Flaming: I know you got a lot of family that plays the game. Who got you into hockey at a young age.
Jimmy Snuggerud: I would say my dad and my grandpa on my mom’s side. My grandpa also played in the Olympics, as well as my dad. So we used to skate a lot on the rink outside.
Guy Flaming: You have a brother and a sister that plays too, right?
Jimmy Snuggerud: Yup. So my brother played through high school and then went on to become an equipment manager for some USHL and college teams. And then my sister played in high school. I always said she could have played after high school, but she went on to become a teacher.
Guy Flaming: Have you always been a forward or when you were younger did you try the blue line or even throw the pads on?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I was actually a defensemen til probably second year squirt. I played a little bit of D first year Peewee, but then I switched over to forward. I wasn’t a super strong backwards (skater) so my dad just switched me over.
Guy Flaming: I know high school hockey in Minnesota is such a big thing, it’s almost cult-like. Was it tough for you to leave to go to the program (USA National Training Development Program) or is the program just so renowned that if you get an opportunity, you gotta go.
Jimmy Snuggerud: My observation was that the program was so renowned that I had to go.
Guy Flaming: When did the program come on the radar?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I think, when it started to become a reality was in second year Bantam. I think I might have a chance at this and this is where I want to be for two years.
Guy Flaming: What’s it like moving away from home and joining the program in Michigan?
Jimmy Snuggerud: It’s a little different being away from home and not seeing your parents or siblings much, but I think it’s so fun being with my teammates and brothers these past two years. It’s unbelievable. They’re basically like family to me now.
Guy Flaming: The University of Minnesota is your college of choice and if everything goes right, according to plan, are you there next year?
Jimmy Snuggerud: Yup, that’s the plan to be there next year with them.
Guy Flaming: Jimmy, tell me about the upcoming draft. Is it something that you spend much time thinking about?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I think I’m one of those guys that puts it in the back of my head and lives in the present. I don’t really look at that stuff much. My main goal right now, and I’m sure it’s all my teammates goal, is to win the U18 Worlds.
Guy Flaming: For those of us who haven’t had a chance to watch you play yet, can you give us a bit of a scouting report on yourself?
Jimmy Snuggerud: I’m a competitive forward who likes to shoot the puck from many different places on the ice. I like to use my hockey IQ as an ability and my playmaking ability. I love to be competitive, I love to win and I’ll do anything to win. That’s the mindset I have coming to the rink everyday.
This interview has been edited for clarity and content.