The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a profile on left wing Andrew Basha of Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

Andrew Basha needed assurance that he could become a legitimate force with great potential after Medicine Hat selected him the fifth round of the 2020 Western Hockey League bantam draft.

"We had him as a player that, if he played, was going to be a good player but the question was, is he going to play?" Medicine Hat coach Willie Desjardins said. "It was a little about the size, a little bit of the strength, physical training and things like that ... he hadn't matured yet.

"But we knew if he does mature that he was going to be a pretty good player and, fortunately for us, he put the time in the gym and is moving in the right direction with what we envisioned Andrew to be."

What Basha (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) has become is a bulldog on every shift.

The 18-year-old left wing was third on the Tigers with 85 points (30 goals, 55 assists) and 10 power-play goals and tied for second with two short-handed goals in 63 regular-season games. He had five points (three goals, two assists) in five WHL playoff games.

Desjardins, who was an NHL coach with the Vancouver Canucks (2014-17) and Los Angeles Kings (2018-19), appreciates how Basha has matured into the player he is and will become in the future.

"He's always looking to attack," Desjardins said. "He doesn't take a shift off, is always hungry and always working. No one had him ranked very high two years ago or even last year, so his trajectory is a really good one.

"I always measure that because it's one thing if you're there and you're falling off but it's another if you're gaining speed, and I think Andrew has gained speed entering the 2024 draft."

Basha grew up in Calgary and played all sports, especially hockey and golf. His mother, Ronda, is a psychologist and his father, Richard, owns The Garrison Pub & Eatery in Calgary.

"The BLT is my go-to," Basha said when asked for his favorite lunch order at the pub.

"What I'm most grateful about my parents is just kind of how they let me decide what I wanted to do and which sport I wanted to pick. It wasn't, 'You're doing this.' I tried them all out. Obviously, hockey's what I picked, and I haven't really looked back since."

Basha, No. 26 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft, is in his third season in the Western Hockey League, and has 155 points (55 goals, 100 assists) in 178 games.

"I like watching Tim Stützle of the Ottawa Senators ... I just love his skating and his offensive ability," Basha said. "I think confidence is a big thing when it comes to playing at the next level. I mean, it starts with the draft and you're getting drafted for a reason. I think if you can play the game that the team drafted you to play, and you don't lose that edge, it's huge.

"Obviously with the NHL being a man's game, the sooner you can kind of fill out and become a man and have that strength, the easier it's going to be. I think that's the biggest thing, is just making sure that you're physically and mentally ready."

Basha, who speaks fluent English and French, has gone through that process at an amateur level to earn the playing time he's received with Medicine Hat after being chosen in the fifth round (No. 105) of the WHL bantam draft.

"Basha is a high-IQ type player," said NHL Central Scouting's John Williams. "He has the ability to make plays and decisions at high speed. He has great vision, speed and quickness. I feel he's another player that can be a difference-maker in all situations."

Keep in mind Basha was forced to play an even bigger role this year after Medicine Hat center Cayden Lindstrom, a projected top-10 pick in the 2024 draft, sustained a back injury and missed the final 36 games of the regular season. He had 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 31 games after Lindstrom was injured.

"[Basha] meant a lot to the team," Lindstrom said. "Obviously I played on his line for the first full half of the season, and I think we produced really well ... me and him together. He's just an overall great guy, great teammate and really skilled player."

Basha works out with his friend Carter Yakemchuk, a 2024 top draft-eligible defenseman with the Calgary Hitmen, whenever he can at a gym in Calgary.

What has Basha improved the most in his three seasons with the Tigers?

"His quickness, and it does come from his physical training," Desjardins said. "I think he's become more powerful. He's always had a good mind and could read the game well, but now he can get to those holes. It's his confidence, too, because he just has more of it now.

"A season ago, maybe the hole was there but he didn't know if he should go. Now he goes, so he's become a different player in which things have come together for him."

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