As the NHL Draft approaches, the team a TCB will continue to profile prospects that the Sabres could be targeting with the 32nd overall pick at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.
We have already looked at German forward Dominik Bokk, next up we profile a very talented defenceman from the WHL that would fit the Sabres’ and Phil Housley’s system perfectly.
Calen Addison, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL
Pos: D, Height: 5-10, Weight: 179
SabresProspects – 31
The Hockey News – 45
Future Considerations – 50
Corey Pronman – 28
Addison is a perfect mold for what the modern NHL offensive defenceman looks like. He’s under 6-0 tall, can skate like the wind and brings a boat load of skill to the rink each night.
With players like Ryan Merkley and Dominik Bokk receiving a lot of hype Addison has flown under the radar a bit and will most definitely be on the board when the Sabres are on the clock at 32.
In terms of offensive production, Addison was one of the best U-18 defenders in the WHL, and ranked near the top of the league in scoring at his positon (9th).
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman described Addison as, “one of the most dangerous U18s in the entire CHL,” in his Top-74 prospects piece.
Pronman went on to say, “on top of the speed, he brings impressive skill and vision from the back end, able to show off his hands at full speed and look to stretch the ice with hi passes.”
Everyone knows that right shot defencemen are hard to find in the NHL, and one with the speed and skill that Addison possesses will be very intriguing to a lot of teams, including the Sabres.
Like any defenceman with less than desirable size and offensive skills Addison can struggle in his own end. He tends to struggle with defensive zone battles, and can look intimidated in his own zone at times.
But, any defenceman who can put up points like Addison (11G, 54A, 65P in 68 games) is worth having a look at.
(A quick highlight reel can be found here.)
Addison is only 18 and he will continue to grow and muscle before making the jump to the NHL. With added strength Addison’s confidence will grow and his struggles in the defensive zone will begin to go away.
In a lot of ways Addison reminds me of Brendan Guhle, and Sabres fans are very excited to see what Guhle can do in his first full NHL season next year.
Adding another offensive minded defenceman for Housley to mold would be a great idea for Jason Botterill to consider.
We all know how important skating ability is for NHL prospects, and in particular for defencemen.
As for Addison, scouts rank his skating ability is one of the best in the entire draft class. With players like Dahlin, Guhle, Nelson, and Ristolainen in the fold adding another impressive skating defenceman can only help the organization in the future.
Addison’s ability to skate smoothly down the ice at top speed is something that the Sabres could desperately use. It would allow the Sabres to move on from some of their “dead weight defenders.”
Addison’s ability would be an upgrade over the likes of players like Bogosian, McCabe and even Marco Scandella. As good as those players can be for Buffalo, their skating can’t even compare to Addison’s
Addison’s ability to pass the puck is one of his best assets, you don’t get 54 assists in 68 games without being able to move the puck effectively.
He makes very smart, simple passes that look extremely easy, but in reality they’re not.
Addison’s ability to put the puck on his teammate’s tape and put them in ideal shooting/scoring situations is superb, and something that is lacking (right now) on the Sabres’ blue line.
In today’s NHL any successful player has to be able to produce 5-on-5.
Right now the biggest knock against Ristolainen is that he doesn’t produce enough at even strength, well Addison can fall under the same umbrella.
Last season, two of his 11 goals were on the powerplay and 35 of his 54 assists were on the powerplay. Meaning that of his 65 points, 37 came with the man advantage.
While point production is still point production, the team that drafts Addison will probably take a close look at his even strength production in order to help project his NHL role.
If Addison wants to be a legitimate top-4 d in the NHL he will have to work on improving his game in all situations, rather than heavily relying on the powerplay.
When I say toughness, I’m not talking about Marcus Foligno like toughness.
No, I’m talking about the ability to battle hard and physically wear down your opponent as the game goes on. As said earlier in this piece Addison tends to struggle in one-on-one battles, especially in the defensive zone.
While this is something that can easily be fixed by adding some muscle to his body, Addison will still have to work on his desire to get into the dirty areas and battle for position, and for loose pucks.
Addison is grouped in the 30-40 range in most of his rankings, so it is very conceivable that the Sabres would consider him at 32. If the Sabres did go this route they would be adding another highly talented defenceman into the fold, and finally have their defensive “cupboard” re-stocked.
Follow @TheChargingBUF, myself @austin_broad and @JoeTCBNHL for more prospect profiles as the NHL Draft approaches.