Already the size (if not bigger) than many in the NHL, Carson Lambos is one of the most well-rounded rookie defensemen in the CHL. The top-ten NHL talent was drafted second overall in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft and packages mobility and physicality with excellent defensive awareness.
Lambos played five games with the Ice (then in Kootenay) last season, which gave him the necessary experience to prepare him for full-time WHL duty this season. Lambos was the second highest scoring defenseman on the Ice as a rookie and consistently played a top four role for Winnipeg.
Also relied upon by the Ice on special teams, Lambos contributed ten points on the powerplay and three while shorthanded (including a shorthanded goal). Three of Lambos’ goals this season were game-winners.
Lambos has also excelled in international tournaments. He captained Team Manitoba at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and racked up three goals and seven points in six games. Lambos followed that up with a five point showing at the 2019 U17 World Hockey Challenge as a top pair defenseman on Canada White.
There really is a lot to love about Lambos’ game. His combination of size and strength really showed in the WHL this season — his adjustment from minor hockey looked almost seamless, and he didn’t struggle much against older and more experienced offensive players. He’s a reliable pillar in his own end, reads developing plays well, and is almost never out of position. His gap control is excellent, and Lambos will use his body to force opponents to the outside, and can keep up with them thanks to his strong skating.
Lambos is also an excellent puck mover — whether it’s hitting his teammates with outlet stretch passes or rushing the puck up the ice himself, Lambos has the vision and puck control to get it done. He won’t overcommit to plays and allow himself to get out of position, but also isn’t afraid to walk the blueline and fire pucks at the net. Lambos is always aware and engaged in developing plays in his own end, and his ability to anticipate plays allows him to make the proper adjustments defensively.
As far as his offensive game goes, Lambos has an exceptional release and heavy shot that he can get off from almost anywhere on the ice. Lambos will creep from the blueline into open areas of the ice or pinch up in order to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He has the ability to slow the pace of the game when the puck is on his stick.
Already having shown incredible promise in his WHL rookie season as a number one shutdown defenseman, Lambos will look to improve his overall offensive consistency. He has the ability to drive offense, and as his role in Winnipeg increases next season (he’ll likely get top pair minutes), so too will his opportunities to create.
Strengths: Defense, Physicality, Skating
To Improve: Offensive Consistency
“I like to play a 200-foot game and I like to take pride in my defensive game first,” the Winnipeg, Man. native said. “I like to think I’m a hard player to play against, but I’m also able to make plays on the offensive blue line when I’m given the opportunity.” [Lambos on his game via The WHL]
Lambos is a rock defensively. He leads the Ice in plus-minus and his defensive IQ is high. Lambos credits his off-ice training as the main factor of his on-ice success. He had a strong showing at the U17 Hockey Challenge, recording five points in six games. [The Hockey News]
Lambos is strong beyond his years and a powerful skater which allows him to confidently patrol the ice. He is a great puck rusher who can take it end to end or hurt you with a smart breakout pass if you over commit. Lambos has a very hard shot, with a lethal one timer, and is always activated offensively looking to generate a chance. His physicality stand out with punishing hits on much older players in the WHL. [2019 Black Book]
CARSON. LAMBOS. Remember that name. pic.twitter.com/nV2YflPqP3— dylan (@FuelledbyDylan) September 29, 2019
Carson Lambos (#2021NHLDraft) thought he had the opening goal of the game for the @WHLWpgICE but it's called back for goalie interference.— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) February 27, 2020
Lambos has such a good shot from the point. I love his game. He's a top-5 player for the 2021 draft in my eyes. pic.twitter.com/cgAw4jGIUI
All statistics from Elite Prospects and the Western Hockey League.