As the NHL draft approaches, we will take a look at some non-McDavid and Eichel prospects. Today is Noah Hanifan.
Boston has always been a hockey hotbed, and we’ve been hearing of plenty of Boston University players making the leap. Jack Eichel will likely be the second overall pick this year. Matt O’Connor will sign with a pro team. Evan Rodrigues already signed with Buffalo.
But don’t overlook Boston College Egales defenseman Noah Hanifan.
Hanifan is likely to be the consolation prize for either the Arizona Coyotes or Toronto Maple Leafs finishing with the third and fourth overall picks, respectively.
In past years, defenseman being high draft picks has led to team success. Seth Jones has become a franchise player with Nashville, and Dougie Hamilton will see a big pay day this summer as an RFA.
This year that guy is Hanifan, and he’s being overlooked.
Despite being a defenseman, Hanifan was just five points away from tying the Eagles lead in scoring. He had 23 points in 37 games in his freshman year. He was the youngest ever player to play with Boston College and still showed terrific poise.
He might be considered a puck moving defenseman, which has been the buzzowrd in hockey for about ten years now. It’s rare to find an effective puck mover, but when a team does, they find success. Look at the Calgary Flames, for example.
NHL Central Scouting has Hanifan ranked as the top North American defenseman, but as far as where he will be drafted, it remains to be seen on team needs. Dylan Strome, a center from the Erie Otters, might be the best fit for the Coyotes with the third overall pick.
Sitting at the fourth overall pick are the Maple Leafs, and that’s a team that could use to develop some defense. Since Hanifan is an American player as well, he’d be poised to be sent to the AHL Toronto Marlies if he leaves Boston College early.
Some mock drafts have Hanifan falling as far as the seventh overall pick to the Philadelphia Flyers, but it’s hard to imagine the Maple Leafs leaving him on the board, even if they were tempted to take Mitch Marner.
At 6’3 and 205, Hanifan has a chance to grow into his frame and become a physical player along with an offensive beast. Some comparisons have connected him to Dougie Hamilton, and if he can be that kind of player, any team would be happy to have him.