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2023 Draft Pick Profile: Luke Coughlin

Photo by @turbuL3NT2

After taking Gracyn Sawchyn, Albert Wikman and Olof Glifford, Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito selected his second defensemen of the event when he picked Luke Coughlin in the sixth round (127th overall) of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft in Nashville.

  • Luke Coughlin (18)
  • Drafted: 191st overall
  • Position: Defenseman
  • Height/Weight: 5’10”, 170 lbs
  • Current Team: Rimouski (QMJHL)
  • Shoots: Left

Coughlin is a mobile two-way blueliner who has played two seasons for the Rimouski Oceanic after being taken fourth overall in the first round of the 2021 QMJHL Draft.

The 18-year-old was limited to just 37 regular season games during his draft season, totaling five goals and 14 assists. His 19 points were one more than he produced during his first season with the Oceanic, when he appeared in 55 games.

Why so few games played? Coughlin broke his collarbone at the end of the 2021-22 season. After returning from the injury early in the 2022-23 campaign, he was sidelined again after suffering an ankle injury which required surgery.

Going back to the stats – two of his five goals came on the power play and he registered 42 shots on goal, accumulated 16 penalty minutes and finished with a plus-five rating.

Coughlin appeared in all nine of Rimouski’s postseason games before the Oceanic were swept in the second round by eventual league champions and Memorial Cup winner, the Quebec Remparts.

He enjoyed a productive playoff run, scoring once (a power-play goal) and adding six assists. He registered 16 shots on goal (1.78 per game) and finished with an even rating.

Coughlin is currently in the midst of his first development camp with the Panthers. Due to injuries he has only played 68% of a possible 136 games in his first two seasons in the “Q.” More time and experience is needed for this sleeper prospect, who started off as a forward in minor hockey, to blossom.

EliteProspects has this to say in its 2023 NHL Draft Guide:

With his loose hips and flexibility, Coughlin can easily shift his weight to launch himself around opponents and open up his skates to walk the blue line while facing his options. He’s a fluid mover at the offensive blue line and a deceptive one, too, as he uses hip pocket handling and fake shots to keep defenders at bay and move the puck or find good lanes to fire in.