June 22, 2006
2006 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles: Defensemen

INCH NHL Draft Page

Inside College Hockey's coverage of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Vancouver continues with a look at some of the best draft-eligible college players.

You know where the various independent scouting services have ranked these prospects. In addition to the Central Scouting Service comments on each prospect, we offer "Scout's Take," Inside College Hockey's exclusive evaluation of the player from one or more NHL scouts. Scouts were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Players are listed in order of their final CSS ranking.

6-4 | 222 lbs.
U.S. NTDP | Minnesota recruit
Bloomington, Minn.

2005-06 Statistics: 38 GP, 11-22—33

Central Scouting Service Rank: 1st among North American skaters

CSS says: “Powerful skater with a long, smooth stride who has tremendous acceleration in open ice ... excellent agility for his size ... an offensive-minded defenseman who makes the transition from defense to offense quickly and likes to rush with the puck ... a solid positional player in the defensive zone ... has great size, strength, physical presence ... a disciplined player who leads by example.”

Scout's Take: ““He’s a difference maker. [His team isn’t] the same as when he’s there. His only weakness is if he doesn’t treat getting drafted in the first round like an award – he’ll have to put it on the mantel and get right back to work. Comparing him to Chris Pronger is a pretty fair assessment, but he’s got some Rob Blake and some Scott Stevens in him, too. That’s a pretty good group to be compared to.”


6-4 | 226 lbs.
U.S. NTDP | Wisconsin recruit

Montgomery, Ill.

2005-06 Statistics: 48 GP, 6-9—15

Central Scouting Service Rank: 13th among North American skaters

CSS says: “Very good skater with an excellent long stride … very good straightaway speed .... an offensive defenseman who likes to join the rush as well as lead by carrying the puck ... pinches well for scoring opportunities and has a very heavy shot from the point ... uses his long reach effectively ... overall positional play and hockey sense has improved over the season.”

Scout’s take: “He can skate, and he’s got no problems with size. But he didn’t get to acquire hockey sense by playing because of the defensive depth on his team – he didn’t play in a lot of different situations. Because of that, he may be perceived as the worst defenseman on [the U.S. NTDP]. He maybe would’ve been better off going someplace else, playing in all types of situations and gaining more notoriety, but he’ll benefit by playing for Mike Eaves.”


6-0 | 200 lbs.
U.S. NTDP | Boston University recruit

Waltham, Mass.

2005-06 Statistics: 47 GP, 2-11—13

Central Scouting Service Rank: 22nd among North American skaters

CSS says: “Very good skater with good speed, a strong powerful stride, excellent balance and agility ... handles the puck with confidence ... uses the boards to his advantage, moving the puck to breaking forwards ... sound positional player in his own end ... sees the ice well – has very good hockey sense and is used in all game situations ... leads by example and is well respected by his teammates and coaches for his leadership.”

Scout’s take: “He gets all kinds of accolades for his leadership skiils, and he’s a mature player who comes from a blue-collar background. Some [NTDP teammates] named him as the guy they’d want to play with for the rest of their careers. He’s a tweener size-wise, but unlike other similarly sized defensemen like [Denver’s] Matt Carle or [Minnesota’s] Alex Goligoski, he’s not as gifted offensively. But he seems to have all the intangibles.”


6-4 | 210 lbs.
Brainerd H.S. | Boston College recruit

Brainerd, Minn.

2005-06 Statistics: 26 GP, 14-23—37

Central Scouting Service Rank: 26th among North American skaters

CSS says: “Strong skater with a smooth stride who has very good straightaway speed and is light on his feet ... can stickhandle and skate himself into the clear and possesses excellent wrist and slap shots ... passes are crisp and on the tape and he likes the playmaking role ... with excellent size and strength he has a physical presence and can be a dominant force ... an excellent athlete who comes to play every game.”

Scout’s take: “Sneep is a smart player with superior conditioning. He’s also a great athlete – he pitched and first base for the baseball team, was a tight end and linebacker for the football team, and started as a wing before moving back to defense. It’s scary to think how good he can be once he focuses solely on hockey. The only thing that will keep him from excelling is himself, and his work ethic is second to none.”


6-1 | 180 lbs.
U.S. NTDP | Michigan recruit

Ypsilanti, Mich.

2005-06 Statistics: 51 GP, 5-10—15

Central Scouting Service Rank: 47th among North American skaters

CSS says: "Very good skater with agility, mobility and lateral quickness ... very quick feet and very good balance ... very good passer who hits the open man .... reads and anticipates the play well in the defensive zone and ... has good hockey sense and showed his value and versatility by playing on the wing at the end of the season.”

Scout’s take: “He’s a helluva skater and an infectious player. He doesn’t have to score to be effective. He plays hard every shift, but he’s got a little [offensive] flair to his game. He also plays bigger than his size. By moving to wing for the U.S. at the World Under-18 Tournament, he showed that the team is more important to him than his individual goals. He’s a player who’s defined his game – he knows who he is and what he is – and when you ask him a question, he’s likely to answer the one you just asked him and the one you were going to ask next.”


6-1 | 190 lbs.
U.S. NTDP | Wisconsin recruit

Faribault, Minn.

2005-06 Statistics: 47 GP, 6-10—16

Central Scouting Service Rank: 84th among North American skaters

CSS says: “Average skater, but has good agility and balance ... will rush the puck out of trouble but looks to pass the puck first ... has a good shot from the point and likes to fake shot for closer attempts ... plays a sound positional game ... used in all game situations ... decision-making has improved ... battles hard in front of the net and in the corners ... delivers solid body checks.”

Scout’s take: “Here’s his dilemma – he blew up in Sweden [at the World Under-18 Tournament] with one goal and nine assists [in four games], but CSS wasn’t there. If you see a player do what he did in Sweden, how can you not bring him to [last month’s] NHL combine? Some guys come into the draft with some complacency, but he’ll come in with a chip on his shoulder – he’s in a no-respect mode right now.”