Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Noah Hanifin (D)
Height: 6’3 Weight: 203 Shoots: Left
Team: Boston College (NCAA)
Country: United States
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 among North American Skaters
What kind of player is he?
A potential top pairing defenseman that excels with the puck and can quarterback a team’s power play.
While Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are regarded as locks as the first and second overall picks, there isn’t the same level of consensus when it comes to the third selection. Hanifin is a top contender for that slot though after a strong rookie campaign with Boston College. Although he didn’t turn 18 until Jan. 25, Hanifin held his own against his older competitors by scoring five goals and 23 points in 37 contests.
He participated in the 2015 World Juniors, recording two assists in five games. While that tournament ended in disappointment for the United States, Hanifin helped Team USA win the gold medal in both the Under-17 and Under-18 tournaments in 2014. He also served as the captain on the Under-17 team.
Although his offensive play draws a lot of attention, Hanifin is sound defensively as well and capable of transitioning quickly. That’s one of the reasons he’s so highly regarded.
There’s plenty of talk about McDavid and Eichel being generational talents, but Hanifin also has star potential.
“Hanifin’s a smooth-skating defender with the ability to jump into the rush and create odd man chances, yet also possesses the foot speed to get back into the defensive end and take care of his responsibilities. Although he isn’t the most physical player, he showed he’ll stand up for his teammates — like he did as a freshman at Boston College this season, often against bigger and older opponents. What’s more, his play as a 17-year-old for Team USA at the World Juniors showed that he relishes the big stage. He has the overall game to become a 25-minute a night defenseman in the NHL.”
NHL comparable: Keith Yandle
For more 2015 NHL Draft profiles, click here.