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Hulking Vanier slips to Sharks

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, defenseman Alexis Vanier of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is one of the biggest players selected at the 2014 NHL Draft.

He's also fairly skilled; he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 61 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and earned good reviews for his physical play and big shot from the point.

However, a torn labrum in his left shoulder ended his season in March, and he had surgery in April. Because of that, he slipped to No. 112 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters after being No. 82 in the midterm.

But it could work out for the San Jose Sharks, who selected him in the fourth round (No. 102). In a Pacific Division filled with big, strong, skilled centers, having a plus-size defenseman to match up with them is something the Sharks certainly could use.

Vanier said he's getting healthy and began skating last week, with the expectation of being ready to play again by the end of September. And once he's healthy, there likely won't be any lingering issues.


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