Saturday, May 30, 2009

McNabb, Brayden - D - Kootenay WHL

Brayden McNabb / Kootenay Ice WHL

D-L / 6-3.75, 200 / 21-Jan-91

Skating: 30 / Skill: 40 / Sense: 65 / Compete: 60 / Tough: 70

Strengths: Excellent size and uses it well. Rugged style and a good fighter. Underrated puck moving ability.

Weaknesses: Skating is seriously flawed. No real offensive upside.

Stock has taken a beating after disastrous showing at U-18 in Fargo. Difficulties in pivoting and backward stride have been exposed against top level competition.

Skating aside, there is a lot to like, however. Has more puck moving ability than he gets credit for. Decent PP ability at the junior level, but projects to be a pure stay-at-home guy at the next level.

Likes to play a physical style. Throws big open-ice hits and effectively uses his big size down low. Especially good at the hip check along the boards. Has a long reach and knows how to use it. Good d-zone positioning and keeps opponents to the outside. Good fighter and very willing to drop the gloves.

Summary: Like Chris Durand's horrible showing in the 2005 Top Prospects Game because of skating issues, you have take account of the fact that he's in serious trouble against good-skating opponents. It's unfortunate, because I really like this guy's toughness and physical style. But you can't spend too high a pick on a player that is going to have to show an awful lot of improvement in skating to even be able to compete at the next level. Might be worth converting to forward once he gets to professional hockey.

Draft Day: Two conflicting things make him a wildcard: 1) the tough Western League players always go higher than you think, vs. 2) a bad performance on the final scouting stage (U-18s) can sink you pretty fast. Could go anywhere between the 2nd and 4th rounds.

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