With the way the NHL game is played these days, a player who is short in stature is no longer an afterthought. Speed and skill are the pillars of the game now, and a player like Samuel Girard fits the new mold. In researching Girard, I came across this excellent article about small defensemen, give it a read.
Girard is undersized by the old standard, but what this player brings is high levels of offensive production from the blueline. He led the entire QMJHL in defensemen scoring in the regular season, and performed the same feat in the playoffs. He brought home some serious hardware this season, being named QMJHL Defenseman of the Year, he made the QMJHL FIrst All Star Team, earned the QMJHL Most Sportsmanlike Trophy, played in the CHL Top Prospects game and was named CHL Sportsman of the Year, the first time a defenseman has won the award since Kris Russell in 2006.
Current Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: May 12, 1998
Place of Birth: Roberval, Quebec
Weight: 165 lbs
A flashy offensive defenceman that takes advantage of opportunities and is always looking to make an impact each shift. Works very hard and isn't afraid to play the body. Skates with exceptional exuberance and fluidity. Accurate release on his shot and a good eye for open passing lanes. Proactive defensively and puts the pressure on the opposition. Needs to have a more active stick and a more felt presence in shooting lanes, but he has shown a willingness to learn, and these skills will develop. All-in-all, an exciting offensive defenceman who displays noteworthy offensive and defensive instincts. - Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
A Good Fit in Columbus?
There will still be teams scared off by the fact that's he's not 6'2", which means he'll likely be available when the Jackets pick in the second round. His offensive game would be a welcome addition to the CBJ defense prospect pipeline, given that the group is headlined by Gabriel Carlsson, Ryan Collins, Vladislav Gavrikov and Sam Ruopp - all defense-first blueliners. There's hope that Markus Nutivaara, Veeti Vainio will be point producers, but this group needs a shot of offense and Girard would provide that.
Girard in Action: