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Prospect Profiles: CHL Defencemen

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Next up in our Sport Chek Prospect Profiles, we take a look at some of the top defenders coming out of the CHL that are available in the 2017 NHL Draft.

1. Juuso Valimaki

Watch: Youtube Video

  • #11 ranked North American Skater

  • Defence / Tri-City Americans (WHL)

  • Height: 6' 2"

  • Weight: 204 lbs


Profile

  • Recorded 61 points (19G, 42A) in 60 games with Tri-City in 2016-17.

  • Selected 14th overall in the 2015 CHL Import Draft.

  • Won the Heino Pulli Award in 2013-14 awarded to the rookie of the year in Finland's U-18 league

  • Represented Finland at the 2017 World Junior Championship

  • Lists former NHL player and fellow Finland native Teemu Selanne as his childhood hockey idol


What the scouts say:

"I think his offensive game has really come along this year. He's got a fair number of goals and he's pushing the game offensively more than he did last year. Last year he was good offensively … he moved the puck but he got hurt and missed a lot of time. He was feeling his way more last year. This year he's been more assertive and he's trying to dictate the game more." - John Williams of NHL Central Scouting


News


 

2. Callan Foote

 Watch: Youtube Video

  • #12 ranked North American Skater
  • Defence / Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

  • Height: 6' 4"

  • Weight: 212 lbs


Profile

  • Foote led all Rockets Defensemen in scoring with 6-51-57 during the 2016-17 regular season (71 GP).

  • His 51 assists during the regular season ranked second on the club behind forward Kole Lind.

  • Selected 43rd overall in the 2013 WHL bantam draft.

  • Son of two-time Stanley Cup champion Adam Foote.

  • Models his style of play after defenseman Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues.


What the scouts say:

"Very smart two-way Defenseman - excellent passer with good vision - very good positional defender who uses his size and reach to advantage; hard to beat him one on one - plays against the opposition's top lines as well as on the power play and penalty kill - good puck skills at offensive blue line." - NHL Central Scouting


News


 

3. Conor Timmins

 Watch: Youtube Video

  • #18 ranked North American Skater

  • Defence / Soo Greyhounds (OHL)

  • Height: 5' 8"

  • Weight: 153 lbs


Profile

  • Timmins led all Greyhounds defensemen with 7-54-61 during the 2016-17 regular season.

  • Timmins finished the 2016-17 regular season with a plus-53 rating, the highest on his team and tied for fifth-best in the OHL.

  • Selected in the fourth round (79th overall) of the 2014 OHL priority selection.

  • Compares his style of play to capitals Blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk.


What the scouts say:

"Highly intelligent defender with good vision and offensive instincts - reads the play extremely well - passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game - very poised under pressure and quick to process the game - capable of making high percentage plays while being checked - has the ability to run a power play - gets his hard, accurate shot through from the point with consistency." - NHL Central Scouting


 

4. Henri Jokiharju

 Watch: Youtube Video

  • #19 ranked North American Skater
  • Defence / Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

  • Height: 6' 0"

  • Weight: 180 lbs


Profile

  • Jokiharju tallied 9-39-48 with the Winterhawks during the 2016-17 regular season.

  • In 2015-16 with Tappara's junior club in Finland, Jokiharju was named to the second all-star team.

  • Was a member of Finland's gold medal-winning team at the 2016 under-18 world championship.

  • His father, Juha, played professionally in Finland's top league from 1988-95.

  • Compares his style of play to Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen.


What the scouts say:

"Excellent skater who is very elusive with the puck. Can beat the forecheck with a pass or his skating ability. Very good passer with excellent vision. Quickness and mobility allows him to take away time and space defensively." - NHL Central Scouting


 

5. Nicholas Hague

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  • #20 ranked North American Skater
  • Defence / Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

  • Height: 6' 6"

  • Weight: 215 lbs


Profile

  • Hague led all Steelheads defensemen in goals and points with 18-28-46 during the 2016-17 regular season.

  • Accumulated 107 penalty minutes, the fifth-highest total in the OHL.

  • Selected in the second round (29th overall) of the 2014 OHL priority selection.

  • Named the recipient of the 2016 Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL scholastic player of the year.

  • Represented Canada white at the 2014 world under-17 hockey challenge and skated for Team Canada at the 2016 under-18 world championship.

  • Compares his style of play to coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.


What the scouts say:

"At 6'6" he is a rare talent because he is such a multidimensional hockey player. Can quarterback the power play; his one timer is heavy and accurate - very good hands and puck-moving game for a defenseman - composed under pressure. Doesn't panic with the puck and makes good decisions in all zones - moves very well for his size - has excellent reach and stick to puck technique which makes it difficult for forwards to beat him wide or one on one - good understanding of positional play - solid two-way game." - NHL Central Scouting


 

6. Pierre-Olivier Joseph

  • #27 ranked North American Skater
  • Defence / Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)

  • Height: 6' 2"

  • Weight: 161 lbs


Profile

  • Joseph recorded 6-33-39 in 62 games with the Islanders in 2016-17.

  • A fifth round selection (78th overall) in the 2015 QMJHL entry draft.

  • His older brother, Mathieu, is a forward who was selected 120th overall by the Lightning in the 2015 NHL draft.

  • Compares his style of play to sharks Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.


What the scouts say:

"Puck-moving defenseman with very good size and range - makes effective decisions with the puck to find open outlets - good skater with quickness and mobility that will only get better as he gets stronger - good positioning in defensive zone and good compete / battle level - strong ability to distribute the puck on the power play." - NHL Central Scouting


 

7. Eemeli Rasanen

 Watch: Youtube Video

  • #32 ranked North American Skater
  • Defence / Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

  • Height: 6' 7"

  • Weight: 208 lbs


Profile

  • Selected in the second round (113th overall) by the Frontenacs in the 2016 CHL import draft

  • Led Kingston defensemen and finished second among rookie Blueliners with 6-33-39 in 2016-17 (66 GP).

  • Helped his country win a silver medal at the 2017 under-18 world championship. 

  • Represented Finland at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka memorial and the 2015 world under-17 hockey challenge.

  • Compares his style of play to Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. 


What the scouts say:

"Big, strong defenseman who uses his size and reach effectively to make himself hard to play against - an effective physical presence who looks to eliminate his opponents at every opportunity - demonstrates a powerful shot from the point making him an asset on the power play - very good first pass instincts enabling him to transition the puck quickly and start his team's attack - trusted in every situation." - NHL Central Scouting
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