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2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #4 - Noah Hanifin

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Up next in our Draft Prospect Profiles is the #1 defensive prospect, Noah Hanifin.

BC Heights

Noah Hanifin


Position: Defenseman
Current Team: Boston College
Date of Birth: January 25, 1997
Place of Birth: Norwood, MA
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 205 lbs
Shoots: Left

In almost any other draft year, Noah Hanifin would be warranting discussion of potential top overall pick.  We already know this year is slightly different in that regard with two generational talents in this year's draft class.  Hanifin plays a solid all-around game for a blue liner, and has an elite upside as well.  Much of the analysis sounds similar to that of Ryan Murray a few years ago - a smooth-skating, solid two-way player who has the potential to be a future captain as well.  Expect Hanifin to be a top pairing defenseman for years to come.

Scouting Reports

Hanifin is a smooth-skating defender with good size and acceleration who can generate some offense from the blueline but is also solid defensively. Although not a truly physical defenseman, he does not shy away form contact and will initiate it when necessary. Hanifin also has leadership qualities that could make NHL captain material down the road. Overall, he is an elite defender with few holes in his game. - Hockey's Future

The 2015 draft’s top defenseman…a smart and powerful two-way force… big, but very mobile... moves well with good speed and agility…uses his strength and reach very well when he rushes the puck, and he is tough to contain when he gets going…is skilled and confident with the puck and has the ability to take it end-to-end…used his size and body well to contain players and box them out on the walls…is smart and makes great defensive decisions…has an instinctive knack for knowing where his teammates are on the ice…supremely skilled quarterbacking the power play. - Future Considerations

Assets: Great all-around ability and very good skater. Can play in all situations.  Uses his stick well defensively and has good positional awareness.  Has a big frame he can grow into as well.  Leadership qualities will help him mature as he transitions to the NHL.
Flaws: Still needs to add muscle to his 6'3'' frame.  Sometimes holds back on unleashing his shot.  Will throw a hit when needed but not overly physical in the defensive zone.  Doesn't have the "wow" factor of other defensive prospects in this class.
Career Potential:

Elite, top pair defenseman with very little missing from his game.

A Good Fit in Columbus?

Before the last month of the season, the Blue Jackets were hovering around 27th overall and many were projecting Hanifin to Columbus at the upcoming Draft.  The BC defender will be taken in the top 5, so the Jackets would need to work out a deal to move up and take him.  That will largely depend on what the Coyotes do at #3 - forward or defender?  Hanifin is exactly what the CBJ need on the blue line.  He is an elite defender who can play in all situations and an obvious upgrade of the D corps.  He is, potentially, a better version of (healthy) Ryan Murray.  That said, the price to get up to #3 or #4 to draft him may be too much for the front office's liking.  He would be a great fit for Columbus, but it is a long shot he ends up in the union blue.

Hanifin in Action