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: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
A do-it-all defenseman who can play a physical style in the defensive zone and seamlessly transition into a puck-moving weapon, Timmins shot up the draft rankings this past season thanks to his consistent three-zone effort and ability to manage minutes in all situations. The fact that he is a right-hand shot adds to Timmins' appeal.
In 67 games this season, Timmins produced seven goals and a team-leading 54 assists. His 54 helpers were third-most among OHL defenders. He also led the Hounds with 69 penalty minutes.
Timmins has an average build, but can play a defensive style befitting a larger player with his willingness to engage physically and emerge from 1-on-1 battles with possession of the puck. There is some definite snarl to his game when defending his space, but he has proven to be a rather disciplined player.
Where Timmins stands out the most is in his ability to distribute the puck, be it with a quick pass in stride or by skating it out of trouble himself. He comfortably moves out of his zone with agile feet and his head up as looks to contribute to the attack with simple yet effect plays.
This past season with the Greyhounds, Timmins was a key piece at the top of the power play, using his excellent vision and decision-making skills to deliver pucks to the goal mouth. He doesn't have a huge shot, but he does a nice job getting it through bodies, and that's all that matters when supporting his teammates down low.
While other defensemen in the class arrive with more fanfare, Timmins has simply done his job at a high level to earn his way into the first-round conversation. He will be charged to continue getting quicker and stronger as he continues his development over the next two OHL years, but all signs point to him becoming a reliable professional a few years down the line.
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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