Yesterday I had the chance to watch the Swift Current Broncos for the first time this season, and they feature two players that will very likely be taken within the first 3 rounds of the NHL draft this June.
Today I will profile defenseman Reece Scarlett.
He was tremendously fun to watch. He is a very smart two way defenseman defenseman. It was kind of weird seeing him playing top pairing minutes as well as being the featured quarterback of their powerplay, because when he was first drafted in Bantam, he was known for being more of a defensive defender.
He was drafted 12th overall in the 2008 Bantam draft, and at the time several people were shocked that he was taken that high. Well, I don’t think those people would be surprised at this point in time if they watch him play now and see how he has developed.
The first thing that stood out to me was his poise. He was on the top pairing for the young Broncos defense and also was the lone defender on the first powerplay unit. The Broncos were given 6 chances with the man advantage so that gave me plenty of time to see him perform.
He is very calm with the puck and on several occasion had to make a move or two to get away from a checker while standing on an island at the offensive blueline. His puckhandling is extremely good, especially in tight areas.
When given the open time and space he also can make a great stretch pass. He did so on more than one occasion. Despite his strong play this year, his numbers aren’t showing a correlation. He still only has 4 points in 18 games, but that definitely does not tell the story about this kid.
He is a good skater and has good size, but like most 17 year olds, he is still a bit skinny. More weight and muscle will come with time. He is also a right handed shot, something many NHL teams still covet.
Scarlett is also coming off a good summer, where he tried out for Canada’s u18 team. He had a strong camp, but unfortunately for him he was cut and did not make the team. That would have been nice for him personally, as well for his NHL draft stock. But, in the end I don’t think it will end up hurting him too much.
I have had the chance to see two WHL offensive defenders that should be high picks for the 2011 NHL draft, Myles Bell of Regina and now Scarlett. Scarlett showed much more poise and is a better passer. But Bell is the better skater and has the better goal scoring touch.
I’ve seen Scarlett listed mostly in the 2nd or 3rd round as far as draft projections go, but I would not be shocked at all if he was one of the bigger “risers” this year when it comes to the draft.
NHL comparable : A bigger version of Brian Rafalski
Tomorrow’s profile will cover 17 year old forward Adam Lowry.