Suamico native, Finley, prepping for NHL Draft
By Greg Bates
SUAMICO – When the NHL Central Scouting report was released earlier this year ranking the top skaters and goalies for 2022 NHL (National Hockey League) Draft-eligible players, Quinn Finley said he was interested to see where his name landed.
The Suamico native came in as the No. 45 skater in North America.
The NHL Draft will take place in July.
“It makes me want it that much more,” Finley said. “When I see guys in front of me, I want to be in their spot. I’m hungry and motivated to keep getting better. I’m humbled and proud. It’s a great ranking, but you’ve got to go and play on the ice. Hopefully, I can increase that ranking. I need to contribute on the ice, and we’ll see where that ends up.”
This season has been difficult for Finley to up his draft standing because he missed significant time with an injury.
While playing for the Madison Capitols in the United States Hockey League (USHL), he broke his collarbone during a game in mid-November and didn’t return until Feb. 4.
Finley, who had never been injured before playing hockey, had surgery shortly after the injury.
“During my rehab, I was on the ice almost every day,” Finley said. “I was shooting and puck handling in moderation.”
During rehab, Finley commuted from Madison to Green Bay.
Before his injury, Finley — who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 USHL futures draft by the Capitols — played in 14 games and tallied 10 points (five goals and five assists).
Since his return to the lineup from injury, the 17-year-old Finley has averaged almost a point per game, scoring 15 points (six goals and nine assists) in 17 games played.
Included in those totals, Finley had three assists against the Green Bay Gamblers March 19 and a hat trick the next night.
For his efforts, he was named USHL Forward of the Week for the first time in his career.
The Capitols are 6-2 when Finley finds the back of the net this season.
Playing in 31 games this season, the Capitols winger has tallied a career-high 25 points (11-14-25).
“I like my playmaking ability and my high IQ plays,” Finley said. “I’m a strong offensive-minded forward who can shoot and score.”
Finley said one area off the ice he’s concentrating on is getting stronger.
He stands 6-feet tall and has upped his weight to close to 180 pounds.
When Finley was with the Chicago Steel for the 2020-21 season — the Capitols were on hiatus during the pandemic — he got to play with a couple of NHL first-round picks in Matt Coronado and Mackie Samoskevich.
“They were good mentors,” Finley said. “I can ask them questions, and they’re like my best buds. It’s been good to listen and learn from them.”
Finley said he can’t wait for the opportunity to hear his name called during the draft.
“I’m excited,” he said. “The draft is a huge day, so I want to set myself up for the best possibility to go as high as I can. Whichever team that is, I’m humbled and proud.”
Despite not knowing which NHL city he’ll land in, Finley has his next few years mapped out.
Next season, he’ll play out his senior year with the Capitols.
For the 2023-24 season, Finley is planning to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which he said was his dream school.
Wisconsin and Northeastern were Finley’s final two college choices, with the Badgers winning him over with their coaching staff.
“(Wisconsin Head Coach) Tony Granato, his resume speaks by itself,” Finley said. “He played in the NHL, and he’s coached some of the best. I think if I can learn from him, I can set myself up.”
Finley said he’s looking forward to making the jump from the USHL to NCAA Division I hockey as a true freshman.
“Once you have a good year and you dominate at the USHL level, it would be time to go to college,” he said. “If I can dominate next year, it would be time to go to Wisconsin.”