For the first time in 24 years, two college defensemen could be drafted among the top 10 picks of the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft on June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The probable candidates are Noah Hanifin of Boston College and Zachary Werenski of the University of Michigan. The previous time it happened was 1991, when Boston University's Scott Lachance went No. 4 to the New York Islanders and the University of Michigan's Aaron Ward went one pick later to the Winnipeg Jets.
The last time as many as two college defensemen were selected at any point in the first round was 2002, when Boston University's Ryan Whitney went No. 5 to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Minnesota's Keith Ballard went No. 11 to the Buffalo Sabres.
Hanifin (6-foot-3, 203 pounds), No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 draft, has been projected as the best defenseman on the board since the start of the season. Werenski (6-2, 206), No. 9 on Central Scouting's final ranking, was named to the All-Big Ten Hockey First Team, and the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
There are differences between the two college standouts.