June 20, 2004
2004 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Inside College Hockey will profile some of the best NHL Draft-eligible college players between now and when their names will be called, June 26-27 in Raleigh, N.C. Check back often to get the scoop on where you can expect your favorite players to go on draft day.

6-3 | 210
Michigan State

2003-04 Statistics: 42 GP, 11-19—29

Central Scouting: 11th among North American skaters
The Hockey News: 15th

Background: A 17-year-old freshman, Thelen arrived in East Lansing and made an immediate impact, especially offensively. He finished sixth nationally among defensemen in scoring.

Scout's Take: “He’s interesting because he’s really a true freshman. There aren’t a lot of kids who come in and play as much as he did at the college level at age 17. He really played a lot, and did well. He’s a big guy, with strength and a good shot.

“He’s a talented guy who has a lot of upside and things that he's capable of. He's got an offensive flair to his game to go with real good size.

“He has to get stronger and the defensive side of his game can continue to improve, but the things he can do are tough to teach. Those things he can learn.”

INCH Projection: Either Thelen, Al Montoya or Drew Stafford will be the first collegian taken in Raleigh, and the scarcity of offensive defensemen will help Thelen's chances. Regardless of where he goes in relation to the other two, he'll be a top-15 pick.

"Scout's Take" is Inside College Hockey's exclusive evaluation of the player from one or more NHL scouts. Scouts were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Archives: Dartmouth's Grant Lewis | Maine's Mike Lundin | Michigan's Al Montoya | North Dakota's Drew Stafford | Michigan State's David Booth

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