Kris Baker is once again counting down his list of top prospects available in the NHL Draft for Sabres.com. The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft will take place on June 23 in Chicago.
Team: Kelowna (WHL)
The 2016-17 season saw Callan Foote, the son of former NHL defenseman and Stanley Cup winner Adam, shine as a simple, steady defenseman who is always in the right defensive position. You can never have too many rock-solid defenders in the stable, and Foote appears near the head of the draft class in that regard with his ability to gobble up big minutes thanks to his huge body and long stick that consistently forces the attack wide.
This isn't to say that Foote doesn't have an offensive gear, because he certainly does as he operates as a balanced of mix of old and new school defender. He brings toughness in the defensive zone, knows his assignments and executes in a calm manner at both ends of the rink.
While Foote is a smooth skater that confidently handles the puck, he is more apt to start the rush with a few quick strides and a strong first pass as opposed to skating it all the way through the neutral zone. When the play is in the offensive zone, Foote can be fed to use his cannon of a shot that often leads to loose change to be pounced on in front of the net.
In 71 games this past season, Foote rung up six goals, 57 points and a plus-39 rating. He added another seven points (1+6) in 14 playoff appearances.
It makes perfect sense that the massive right-handed defenseman gets to apply his skills at the blue line factory in Kelowna. Foote, who many would consider to be one of the safest picks in the 2017 NHL Draft, will continue to be a big-minutes anchor next season for the perennially contending Rockets as a prelude to what many feel will be a long NHL career as a top-four defenseman.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker's website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).
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