The SB Nation NHL Mock Draft is underway and the Dallas Stars pick at #14 has been announced. It's been an interesting draft so far, one that perhaps may mirror the real draft when it occurs next weekend, and the Stars found themselves yet again staring at a top defensive prospect that many wouldn't expect to fall to their pick.
Ryan Murphy somehow found his way to the #9 pick and was selected by Boston, while Jamieson Oleksiak was nabbed by the Colorado Avalanche just a few picks later. It looked as though the Stars might have their pick of one of the top centers as well, yet at #13 the Calgary Flames didn't hesitate to pick Mark McNeill. So, at #14, the Dallas Stars (represented by the fine folks here at DBD) selected....
Duncan Siemens, left-handed defenseman for the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.
Born: Sept. 7, 1993
Weight: 192-200 (depending on who you ask)
NHL Central Scouting: 10th (N. American skaters)
Red Line Report: 24th overall
ISS: 14th overall
TSN: 9th overall
THN: 12th overall
Much more after the jump:
For those wanting a player with both size, attitude and offensive abilities Duncan Siemens is the most logical choice from the players available. It's debatable on whether the Stars need a top-six center in the system more than a defenseman at this point, yet for a player with a reputation like Siemens it's tough to pass up on a player that immediately fills a void in the organization.
Nearly every scouting report lists him as a nasty player who is "not fun to play against", who won't hesitate to drop the gloves and is willing to do anything necessary to make the plays in his own end. He's stated over the course of this past season that he wants teams to fear him when he's on the ice, telling NHL.com that he wants to model his game after Scott Stevens:
"It's the same way I want to play. If you ask any forward that played in his day, when they saw him on the ice, they were hoping the coach was calling someone else's line. He played for keeps and that's something that I try to incorporate into my game."
What's great about Siemens and is unusual for players of his size and demeanor at his level is that one of his best strengths is his skating ability. Siemens is sometimes a bit overagressive yet his ability to skate well has given him the chance to make up for mistakes at times. He's also shown the ability to grow offensively, going from 20 points in 57 games as a rookie to 43 points in 72 games this past season. He had a plus-5 rating with Team Canada while winning the gold medal and was manning the power play for Saskatoon for most of this past season.
While his focus is obviously on being physical and aggressive, Siemens is also a great defender in the traditional sense and has above-average puck-moving ability.
Says the fine folks at the Red Line Report in their 2011 NHL Draft Guide:
"Big and mobile defender is very effective when he keeps his feet moving and plays with an edge. His 1-on-1 gap control is top-notch and he takes advantage of his long reach and wingspan by activating his stick in passing lanes and against the rush. Shows good defensive zone positioning. Makes it very difficult on opposing forwards to come out from behind the net with the puck. ... If he concentrates on keeping things simple, has the size/tools to become a shutdown defender."