Noah Hanifin is widely considered to be the top defenseman of this draft class. The 6-foot-3, 200 pound, left-shot American defenseman is considered to be the total package. Playing for the Boston College this past season, Hanifin registered 23 points in 37 games.
Future Considerations gives us a good idea of what type of player Hanifin is:
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
He is exactly the type of defenseman the Stars appear to be targeting for the NHL roster. The troubling aspect of the scouting reports you see is the lack of praise for anything specific about his offensive ability. You don’t see much about his shot, his ability to create plays, or anything about his passing. The lack of goal scoring has to be a bit of a concern too for a player expected to go as high as Hanifin.
A generic offensive ability does get praised though. Mike Morreale of NHL.com gives but one of several examples:
The left-shot defender had five goals, 23 points and 52 blocked shots in 37 games as a freshman with the Eagles. Scouts love his offensive ability but his defensive game is a bit underrated. Hanifin’s ability to excel in pressure situations and on the transition is a strength.
Would you like to get to know Hanifin on a more personal level? You’re in luck.
If you’re into crazy highlight videos, Youtube has you covered there too:
Would the Stars take Hanifin if he were available? It seems likely, but he equally isn’t very likely to make it it to pick 12. Video of Hanifin does seem to indicate that there is more offense in his game, but the lack of top tier offensive production does give me a little pause.
If Hanifin is to become a Dallas Star the most likely route is via trade. Given the NHL needs of the franchise the idea of trading up in the draft seems unlikely. If the Stars fall in love though they would be bringing in a very quality prospect.