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POTENTIAL LATE ROUND GEMS - DEFENCE

Torie Peterson highlights six blueliners who could be diamonds in the rough in this year's draft

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

The Flames hold four picks in the 2018 NHL Draft: 105, 108, 167 and 198. With this in mind, CalgaryFlames.com's Torie Peterson has profiled six defencemen who may be available in the back-half of the draft and could end up being potential diamonds in the rough:

Egor Zamula - Calgary Hitmen - 2 goals, 16 assists, 18 points in 69 games

There's plenty of potential in Zamula's game. The blueliner is an excellent skater, is rarely caught out of position, handles the puck with ease, and can work a powerplay. He isn't overly physical but will engage when needed. He also has a 6-foot-3 frame to grow into as he continues to build up his strength.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters - 64 , Red Line Report - 139 Future Considerations - 105, ISS - 100

Toni Utunen - Leki - 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points in 28 games

The Finn has a very well-rounded game, doing everything that is asked of him proficiently. Utunen is known as a two-way rearguard, making a strong first pass out of the zone and working well in transition. He doesn't panic under pressure, always looking poised no matter the situation. At 5-foot-11, he isn't the biggest defender but compensates for that by playing with an edge.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting European Skaters - 64, Red Line Report - 159, Future Considerations - 110, ISS - 126

Ty Emberson - USNTDP - 4 goals, 20 assists, 24 points in 57 games

Emberson plays a mature game and is extremely effective in his own end. His positioning is strong, he's smart and active with his stick while defending and he is more than willing to play tough and physical. He has a high hockey IQ and makes intelligent decisions with and without the puck. While his offensive game doesn't pop out at you, he has shown glimpses of being able to develop into a more consistent contributor.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters - 42, Red Line Report - 110, Future Considerations - 143, ISS - 57

Jack St. Ivany - Sioux Falls - 6 goals, 30 assists, 36 points in 54 games

In his second year of draft eligibility, the Manhattan Beach, Calif., native made huge strides in his game. He plays a ton of minutes and is counted on in all situations. He plays on both the powerplay and penalty-kill for Sioux Falls, flourishing in both roles. Offence isn't the only area of his game that took a big step in 2017-18: Ivany's play in his own end has come a long way and he's developed into a very strong defender.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters - 119, Red Line Report - 123, Future Considerations - 146, ISS - N/A

Peetro Seppala - KooKoo - 2 goals, 13 assists, 15 points in 47 games

Seppala doesn't have a lot of flash to his game but that isn't a knock in him. He plays a simple, effective game and rarely makes a mistake. His game is particularly clean in his own end, showing great maturation in his defensive play. The Finn isn't a bruiser but doesn't shy away from battles in front of the net or along the boards.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting European Skaters - 38, Red Line Report - 265, Future Considerations - 176, ISS - 132

Max Crozier - Nanaimo - 6 goals, 23 assists, 29 points in 49 games

In his rookie season in the BCHL, the Calgary product saw his development take a huge step forward. A high hockey IQ has allowed him to make the needed adjustments in his game and thrive in Nanaimo. Great on his skates, he plays a two-way game and has the maturity not to force passes or plays on transition. Offensively, he's still working on generating on a more consistent basis but thanks to his great shot, there's room to grow there.

Rankings: NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters - 207, Red Line Report - 179, Future Considerations - 212, ISS - N/A

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