Noah Hanifin THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 1/25/1997
Place of birth: Norwood, Massachusetts
Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 205 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2015
THW The Next Ones Rankings (February): 3
THW War Room Rankings (January): 4
HockeyProspect.com (February): 3
Last Word On Sports (February): 4
Craig Button (March): 6
CS Final Rankings for North American skaters (January): 6
I have seen Hanifin play a good amount this season between Boston College and the World Juniors. Depending if BC makes their typical NCAA tournament run this year, we may see more of Hanifin in the Frozen Four next month. However, I don’t think he’s the best defensemen in the draft like many are claiming. A prominent two-way defenseman, Hanifin is one of the top defenders, but it’s not as clear cut as you may be led to believe. That isn’t a knock on Hanifin. He’s going to be a great defensemen in this league based on what he brings to the table, but I haven’t seen that X-factor consistently from him that sets him apart from defensemen like Zach Werenski or Ivan Provorov.
The sturdy 6’2″ blueliner is quite mobile. His skating propels the rest of his game. Hanifin has excellent edgework and rarely will you find him out of position. He knows how to play his angles well in the defensive zone and isn’t much of a risk taker. For Hanifin, you’ll oftentimes find he makes the smart, safe play that gets unnoticed.
Offensively, Hanifin is superb at carrying the puck or making outlet passes through the neutral zone. From the backend, he sees plays develop and sets up formations and cycles in the opponents end. Dictating the powerplay, Hanifin has a great shot that I’ve seen used numerous times in college, but didn’t see much of it in the World Juniors.
There are a handful of months before the NHL draft and still plenty of time for Hanifin to make his final case. Wherever he ends up, that NHL team will have a future gem on the blueline for many years to come.
Where Will He End Up In June:
If the team picking 3rd overall is looking for a potential defensive standout, they might select Noah Hanifin. There is still a chance other forwards/defensemen may outshine him down the stretch, but I don’t think he drops past 6th or 7th overall.
“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. (August 2014)”
“Hanifin has dropped a spot from my November ranking, but this is not really his fault, more a function of how much Marner has risen. Whereas Eichel as a late-96 birthdate is a freshman in college due to that birthdate, Hanifin started Boston College a year early by accelerating his education last summer, and is amongst the youngest players in college hockey. With 16 points in 27 games so far, he’s showing that he was ready to make the jump. The best defenceman in this draft, Hanifin is big, strong, and mobile. He is a very good skater, with good speed, and the edgework and pivoting ability to quickly change directions and cover a ton of ice. He is an excellent two-way player, able to quarterback the power play with a hard shot, excellent vision, the ability to walk the line, poise, and great passing skills; or to rush the puck make his good puck handling and skating skill. No slouch in his own end, he plays shut down defence, with excellent positioning, an active stick, and strong anticipation. When given the opportunity he can throw a hit with his big frame.”
“Large two way defender who displays good vision and on ice smarts. Is a mobile fluid defenseman who has an excellent offensive upside to match his edgy defensive side. Four-direction skater who has great vision, poise, and makes the best plays on most shifts.”
Bill Placzek – DraftSite.com
Hanifin has suited up for Team USA three times in his short career and has won two gold medals.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 4.5/5
Top-pairing two-way defenseman that can be utilized in every situation (ES, PP, PK)
Pinpoint accuracy on outlet passes
Controls the play in the offensive zone
QB a powerplay
Heavy shot from the point
Breaking up plays
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Adding more muscle to his frame
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 7/10 Defensive: 7/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Brent Seabrook
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph
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