In case you missed it, Kirk Luedeke of Red Line Report joined me this week to discuss the first round of Friday’s NHL draft. Click here for the writeup on his thoughts regarding where Boston’s 2015 selections currently stand.
Following are Luedeke’s thoughts on a number of the defensive prospects that could be available at the 14th overall pick, which the Bruins currently own along with No. 29. Red Line Report has Jake Bean as their top defenseman in the draft, while Luedeke has BCHL defensemen Dante Fabbro as his No. 1 defenseman this year.
“I don’t think there’s any clear emerging dominant defenseman this year,” Luedeke said. “There’s quality at the top of the draft. I think this draft has really good value from picks 1 to 15 or 16 depending on the order of where those players go. There might be a couple of guys that jump into that 15 or 16 that are not currently projected there. But the defensemen are a solid crop.”
Luedeke thinks there is a strong group of D in the first half of the first round and that there are enough quality forwards to push some of the defensemen down. As such, Luedeke feels that moving up would be a waste of assets.
“I don’t think that there’s any defenseman that you need to be moving up to get because I think someone good is going to fall to them,” Luedeke said.
He also noted that he doesn’t feel Kevin Shattenkirk “constitutes good enough to move 14” given that Shattenkirk is ideally not a top-pairing defenseman and only has one year left on his contract.
Here are Luedeke’s thoughts on some of the individual players:
Jakob Chychrun, LD, Sarnia (OHL), 6-foot-2, 194 pounds
I will tell you that Jakob Chochrun has been a tad disappointing. He was the one that was projected to be ‘the guy’ entering this season. A lot of people felt he would go No. 2 overall behind Auston Matthews. That hasn’t materialized. On the plus side, he’s a big kid, he can really skate, handles the puck with confidence. On the downside, there are questions about his vision, his instincts. He didn’t have a strong Under-18 tournament, didn’t have a strong second half of the OHL season, so there are some questions. Chochrun’s sliding. I don’t he’ll slide all that far, to be honest with you, just because there are teams out there that value him, but I see Chychrun has a high-floor, low-ceiling kind of defenseman.
He was seen as a franchise cornerstone at the beginning of the year, and he just hasn’t performed at that level. Having said that, I think he plays.
Mikhail Sergachev, LD, Windsor (OHL), 6-foot-3, 195 pounds
“A real toolsy defender.”
Jake Bean, LD, Calgary (WHL), 6-foot-0, 165 pounds
“In Red Line Report, our No. 1 defenseman is Jake Bean, who scored 24 goals for the Calgary hitmen. He’s a left-shot defensemen and he set a franchise record for goals by a defenseman. He’s got this real wicked sneaky little wrist shot that he gets off quickly and it’s one of those seeing eye puck kind of shots where there might be a maze of people in front and it somehow just will sneak through and will handcuff goalies. They won’t see it coming and it’s by them.
“Real good passer. He’s more of an offensive defenseman at this stage of his development, but I think he kind of gets diminished a little in his defensive ability. He’s a guy that wants to work, but he’s pretty average-sized and he’s slight. During the season, he’s the kind of guy that’s going to have trouble keeping weight on, so he’ll start the season heavier and then as the grind goes on, he’ll lose weight.
“In that WHL, it’s a rugged league, and guys are bigger and stronger and more physical. I think that kind of tends to play into some of the perceptions that Bean is not good defensively, but that overshoots the fact that he’s smart, sees the ice, has good, savvy positional skills, is learning and wants to be good.
“That’s the thing about Bean: he wants to be a complete three-zone player and he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a single-dimension one-way threat. He understands what he needs to do, and it’s just a matter of maturing physically and continuing to learn, get good coaching and go out and work.
“At Red Line we’ve got Bean like No. 6 overall. He’s our No. 1 defenseman.”
Logan Stanley, LD, Windsor (OHL), 6-foot-7, 210 pounds
“Logan Stanley is a little further down [our list]. If you like Brandon Carlo, you’ll like Logan Stanley. So Logan Stanley right now, he’s big and he’s pretty mobile and he’s a kind of nasty, snarly, intimidating guy, but not much offensive ceiling and upside.
“What is a Logan Stanley really going to do for you in the long run? A couple shutdown guys are key, but how many shutdown guys do you really need on a team? I don’t really see it with Logan Stanley myself. I saw him at the Under-18s. He’s OK. I think he’s going to drive coaches nuts because he turns the puck over, makes bad decisions. So like when Logan Stanley has time and space, just like about everyone, he can make the good, solid first pass. But when the forecheck comes in on him and the game closes in, then he’s kind of a gong show and he’s throwing pucks in the middle of the ice and doing things that are questionable.
“He’s going to need a lot of coaching and a lot of maturity and development ahead because I don’t know that he has the kind of microchip inside his head to process the game all that effectively, to be that two-way threat. I don’t see him emerging as any kind of offensive force down the road. He kind of is what he is. You can’t teach his 6-foot-7 size and he’s nasty, so he’ll be tough to play against; he’s going to lean on guys and hit to hurt and pin guys to the wall, but the Bruins have Rob O’Gara and they have Brandon Carlo. I don’t know that you prioritize a guy like Logan Stanley, and to me you certainly don’t put him at 14. If Stanley’s there at 29, and depending on who else is there, if the Bruins are taking Logan Stanley at 14, then I’d submit to you they’re probably leaving some more talented players on the table and there will probably be some unhappy campers out there, as was the case a year ago.”
Charlie McAvoy, LD, Boston University (NCAA), 5-foot-11, 195 pounds
“I’ve got to imagine the Bruins are keen on him, just because when you look at what they need, he is an impactful offensive, push-the-pace, hair-on-fire, 100 miles an hour defenseman. Who doesn’t want someone like that? I would have to think he would be in the discussion around No. 14.”
Dante Fabbro, RD, Penticton (BCJHL), 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
“I think he’s an excellent player and if he’s available at 14, I suspect the Bruins would have a serious conversation.”