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Draft Profile: Tommy Vannelli

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

Inside the Senate will be taking a look at 40 prospects ahead of the Entry Draft on June 30. Up next is Tommy Vannelli...

There is the usual sprinkling of high school players amongst this year’s draft crop and there may not be a better defenceman in it than Tommy Vannelli of Minnetonka, Minn.

Vannelli split his 2012-13 between Minnetonka High School and the USNTDP and the 6-foot-2, 170 pound defender showed what he brings to the table. With Minnetonka he posted 31 points in 25 games from the blueline before joining the USNTDP and providing some offensive flair. His impact came through at the World U-18s where he scored a pair of goals and added an assist for Team USA in seven games.

That offensive ability is the prime tool Vannelli brings with him. He moves well on his feet, passes the puck well and can create scoring chances. His big frame gives him plenty of reach and helps him play a calm game in his own end. While here is still a long way to go before he is even a remotely finished product, this past strong year coupled with an upcoming transition to the University of Minnesota should aid his development greatly.

The shortcomings in Vannelli’s game are a combination of physical and defensive. While his big frame is an asset, he does not have the size and strength you would like to see at that height. Going forward into more advanced levels of competition, that strength will need to increase lest it becomes a greater liability. His decision making will also need to improve, but that should come along with experience at tougher levels of play and more intensive coaching.

Vannelli has a fair share of intangibles that should intrigue teams but, like most high school players, he will be a project of sorts. The upside to a player of his calibre is very exciting and will draw a lot of interest, but the team that takes him will need to work through the growing pains associated with hitting that peak.

Expect to see Vannelli come off the board in the middle rounds of the draft.

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