Justin Kirkland
Image: WHL

Justin Kirkland


Camrose Alberta

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









3rd round (62nd overall), 2014


190 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C


2010-11: Justin Kirkland played for the Camrose Kodiaks bantam AAA team in Alberta and played for the Northeast Flyers in the Alberta Cup. He scored 1 goal with 3 assists in four Alberta Cup games. Kirkland was selected by Kelowna in the fifth round (103rd overall) of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

2011-12: Kirkland made his WHL debut as a 15-year-old — skating in six games with the Kelowna Rockets in December — while attending the College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan and skating for the Argos midget AAA team. He had 1 assist and an even plus/minus in his brief experience with the Rockets. Kirkland scored 13 goals with 22 assists and had 26 penalty minutes in 43 regular season games for the Argos and scored 5 goals with 4 assists and 8 penalty minutes in eight playoff games.

2012-13: Kirkland returned to Notre Dame for a second year — again playing with Kelowna during the holiday break and skating in one game in March; rejoining the Rockets for the WHL playoffs. He scored 2 goals and was +2 with 6 penalty minutes in six regular season games and was +1 with 1 assist in six WHL playoff contests. Kirkland skated in one game with the Notre Dame Hounds junior team with no points or penalties. He scored 25 goals with 24 assists and had 42 penalty minutes in 44 regular season games for the midget AAA Argos and had 2 assists and 2 penalty minutes in three playoff games.

2013-14: Kirkland played in 68 of 72 regular season games for Kelowna in his first WHL season. He scored 17 goals with 31 assists and was +23 with 40 penalty minutes. The Rockets finished first in the B.C. Division and had the WHL’s best record. After winning eight of nine playoff games to reach the Western Conference finals Kelowna lost in five games to Portland. Kirkland scored 5 goals with 5 assists and was +3 with 20 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games. He was ranked 67th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Nashville in the third round (62nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

2014-15: Kirkland was a point-per-game scorer for Kelowna in his second WHL season before suffering a lower-body injury in February. He returned to the lineup during the WHL playoffs after missing over two months and had five points in five games at the Memorial Cup. He scored 21 goals with 30 assists and was +31 with 25 penalty minutes in 50 regular season games. Kirkland returned to the lineup during the Rockets’ second round series against Victoria. He scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was +7 with no penalties in nine WHL playoff games. Kelowna defeated Brandon in the WHL Finals and advanced to the Memorial Cup championship game, falling 2-1 to Oshawa in overtime. Kirkland had an assist against Rimouski and scored 2 goals with 2 assists in Kelowna’s 9-3 win over Quebec in the semifinals, finishing +1 in five games at the Memorial Cup.   

Talent Analysis

Kirkland has the size to be a prototypical power forward and is willing to play in the small areas and in front of the net. His stick handling and pass receiving skills are still a work in progress and will need to improve if he is going to succeed in the tighter spaces at the pro level. Not overly abrasive despite his size, he is still developing in terms of positional play.


Kirkland attended prospect camp with the Predators in July and will attend the 2015 training camp before returning to Kelowna for his third WHL season. With the possible exception of Oilers' prospect Leon Draisaitl, the Rockets return the core group of forwards from their championship club and Kirkland is expected to step into a top line role. Long-range Kirkland projects as a power forward-type with secondary scoring capabilities and the strength to win battles along the walls and in front of the opposing goaltender. His skill set would offer a compliment to the high-flying, smaller skill forwards in the Nashville pipeline.

Nashville Predators junior prospects continue the talent influx

by Tony Piscotta
Anthony Richard - Nashville Predators

Photo: Nashville Predators prospect Anthony Richard had 91 points in his draft season and now forms part of a formidable offensive attack for the Val d’Or Foreurs (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The bulk of the Nashville Predators prospect pool is now skating at the pro level — either with the Predators, the AHL affiliate Milwaukee Admirals, or in Europe. The club has seven players currently skating at the junior level — including Gatineau Olympiques teammates Yakov Trenin and defenseman Alexandre Carrier.
Read more»

Nashville Predators prospects hope to help a contender in 2015-16

by Tony Piscotta
Yakov Trenin - Nashville Predators

Photo: Gatineau’s Yakov Trenin, the Predators’ first pick of the 2015 Draft, got a late start on the QMJHL season due to training camp but can provide steady offense for his club (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators organization has undergone quite a transformation in the nearly 17 months since Peter Laviolette took over as the second coach in franchise history. That transformation figures to continue as some of the veterans brought in to revive the franchise eventually retire or are moved to make room for the young prospects coming up through the system.

Read more»

European talents dominate Top 20 Nashville Predators prospects

by Tony Piscotta
Kevin Fiala - Nashville Predators

Photo: Kevin Fiala remains Nashville’s best prospect but might need an exceptional AHL start to propel him into the NHL (courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

With the exception of goaltender Magnus Hellberg being traded to the New York Rangers — and some uncertainty about the progress of top defense prospect Jack Dougherty — little has changed in the top half of the Predators Fall Top 20 from the previous list last spring.

Read more»

New era Nashville Predators loaded with award-worthy prospects

by Tony Piscotta
Pontus Aberg - Nashville Predators

Photo: Nashville Predators 2012 second-rounder Pontus Aberg showed promise in adapting to North American hockey early in the season (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

The 2014-15 season saw a shift in focus in the Predators’ organization from the Smashville philosophy of the early years to a more wide open skating style. Partly due to necessity, Nashville featured bigger, hard-hitting players playing tight defense and making things difficult on opposition players during its early years.  That changed this season as new coach Peter Laviolette emphasized a north-south skating game that fit the talents of scorers like rookie Filip Forsberg and veteran Mike Ribeiro, who had a resurgence in his first year with the Predators.

Read more»

Kevin Fiala takes over the top spot in the Nashville Predators Top 20

by Tony Piscotta

Photo: Nashville's top prospect Kevin Fiala is nearly a point-per-game in the AHL since arriving in Milwaukee. (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Photo: Nashville’s top prospect Kevin Fiala is scoring nearly a point-per-game in the AHL since arriving in Milwaukee. (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Filip Forsberg’s Calder Trophy-caliber campaign has pushed Nashville to the top of the NHL standings, making his the most notable graduation of the season. Add to that the trade that sent Brendan Leipsic to the Leafs, Patrick Cehlin’s return to Sweden, and solid pro seasons for Calle Jarnkrok and Taylor Beck, and the result is a shake-up in Nashville’s Top 20.

Read more»

Related Articles

Win a PlayStation 4 + a copy of NHL 16 from GameRevolution and Hockey's Future! Complete one or more of the action... in Contests on LockerDome