It may seem like the Rangers have been growing young defensemen on trees, but Mike Sauer’s uncertain future is proof that you can never have enough blueliners in the pipeline. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few D-men that could interest New York at the draft later this month.
Position: D Height: 6’0″ Weight: 194
Sieloff is a guy that stands out on tape for one reason – he’s a monster hitter. The man packs a wallop akin to Dylan McIlrath, the only difference is that he stands just 6-0, 194 lbs. while McIlrath is 6-5, 215 lbs. Sieloff is currently projected to be a mid-second round pick, but he does have one quality the Rangers covet above all others – the willingness to do whatever it takes to win, including sacrificing his body. Sieloff has benefitted from playing alongside projected top-10 pick Jacob Trouba on defense for the better part of the last six years, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on his own next season, when he’ll play for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL after decommitting from the University of Miami (Ohio) in May. Sieloff is merely an average skater and brings nothing to the table offensively – his Twitter profile bio reads “Offensive defenseman in practice but come game time slightly change my role!” Someone is likely to fall in love with the stay at home defenseman’s heart and character.
Position: D Height: 6’2″ Weight: 188
The USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers dealt a huge four-player package to Sioux City in November for Schmaltz in an effort to acquire the final piece of the championship puzzle. The reason? Schmaltz is a deadly offensive weapon from the blueline and is one of the better power play quarterbacks in the draft. Schmaltz controls the puck for huge portions of the time he’s on the ice and is especially deadly in the transition game. The big knock on him is that he hasn’t quite grown into his 6-foot-2, 188 lb. frame just yet, but if he’s able to maintain his current puck skills and tremendous skating ability while adjusting to his body, then he could really turn into a special player. Schmaltz isn’t overly physical, but he may be of interest to a team that has had its share of power play woes in recent years.
Position: D Height: 6’1″ Weight: 181
Like Schmaltz, Pouliot is a terrific offensive defenseman. He’s currently projected to be a top-20 pick, but with an abundance of defensemen considered to be first round talents, he could be a guy that falls. Pouliot was overshadowed this year by a dynamic Portland offense that featured top forward prospects Sven Bartschi and Ty Rattie in addition to another solid offensive blueliner in Pittsburgh’s 2011 first-round selection, Joe Morrow. But Pouliot notched 59 points (11 goals, 48 assists) and his stock rose dramatically as the year progressed. He really stood out at the CHL Top Prospects Game, where he outplayed many of his draft competition. Pouliot is also a power play specialist and a solid skater, but he has drawn praise for his much improved defensive zone play this season. He’s considered more of a sure thing than Schmaltz and certainly benefits from playing on a more visible team.