Listed at 6'3", 187 pounds, North Bay Battalion defenseman Mark Shoemaker has the size to be a physical, shutdown defenseman at any level. And that's certainly more his style than of an offensive defenseman. In 53 games this season, Shoemaker has 10 points, all assists.
Interestingly, 3 of those 10 assists have come shorthanded, and all since Jan 27. While that may be more coincidence than a Brad Marchand-esque ability to pick up shorthanded points, this recent stretch does show that the Battalion coaching staff has been trusting him with plenty of time on the penalty kill.
"A big, reliable defenseman taken in the late rounds, Shoemaker will have plenty of time to come into his own. Last season with the Oshawa Generals the right-handed rearguard recorded four goals and nine assists in 67 contests. Shoemaker already has pro size, but struggled at times in skating drills and many of his passes were slightly off the mark. Shoemaker is a project and likely will be a better NHL defenseman than fantasy player if his development goes well." - Zachary Devine, Dobber Prospects.
The Mississauga, Ontario native is one of the most recent additions to the organization, drafted in the 6th round (180th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
"I'm very, very excited to be drafted and, while I was hopeful to be drafted, I wasn't expecting to be drafted," Shoemaker said when he was drafted. "I just came inside after working on tearing down my family's front steps with my dad and was sitting at the kitchen table with my parents about to go in swimming when I got the call from (scout) Bryan Marchment saying that they just drafted me."
In 106 OHL games prior to this season, Shoemaker had 18 points (5-13=18) and a +13 rating, along with 3 assists in 11 playoff games. While offense may never be a huge part of his game at higher levels, adding a little more firepower would be an encouraging sign for his development, assuming of course his steady defensive play can continue.
As with most late draft picks, Shoemaker's path to the NHL is anything but guaranteed. But at just 19 years old, there's still time for the defenseman to continue to develop and become another late round gem in the organization.
Click here to see the current prospect report.