Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ponich, Brett - D - Portland WHL

Brett Ponich / Portland Winter Hawks WHL

D-L / 6-5.75, 204 / 22-Feb-91

Skating: 55 / Skill: 30 / Sense: 55 / Compete: 50 / Tough: 60

Strengths: Huge, long-limbed frame. Decent skater. Good defensively. Underrated but reluctant fighter.

Weaknesses: Struggles with the first pass. No offensive upside.

At his best in his own end. Long reach and good instincts make him a pretty reliable shut-down guy. Is good in physical battles, but isn't as aggressive physically as you would want him to be.

Struggles with consistency with the puck. Occasionally makes a nice first pass to get the puck out of trouble, but too often he's indecisive and sloppy in moving the puck. Doesn't offer much on the offensive end.

Skating is about average - because of his size it's easy to overrate his skating. Has a long, smooth stride and okay footspeed. But by NHL standards he would be a barely adequate skater - his 2nd/3rd/etc step isn't real good and his pivots are a slightly rough. That said, his skating is more of a plus than a minus - and I don't think it's going to keep him from getting to the next level. Can really throw 'em in a fight - which makes me wonder why he doesn't drop the gloves more often. That and his under-used size makes you wish he didn't have such a long fuse and would get angry more often.

Summary: I've seen too much of this guy, so all the flaws and inconsistency are probably too prominent in my mind. But the more I look at my notes, the more I realize this is a pretty decent mid-round sleeper. I just wish he showed just a little more natural aggressiveness. If I'm in an organization that needs this role (big stay-at-home d-man), you'd have to argue pretty hard for this guy with your 4th...maybe even your 3rd, depending on who else is available.

Draft Day: I'd guess he goes somewhere in the 3rd or 4th. Some whispers around that he could sneak into the 2nd round, but that's iffy to me.

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