Per Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers are showing interest in OHL defenseman Colin Suellentrop. The 6’1, 190-lb. right-handed defenseman was drafted by the Flyers in 2011, but was not signed by the June, 2013 deadline, making him a free agent. Suellentrop also went unsigned this past summer.
Friedman notes that Suellentrop may be a classic late bloomer, as his skating was a cause for concern. It’s actually why the Flyers (and the other 29 NHL teams) passed on signing the former fourth rounder this past summer. Positioning was also a concern.
The guys at In Lou We Trust have a great bio on him, although it is very old. He was a defensive defenseman on a bad Oshawa Generals team when he was drafted, which made his numbers especially atrocious. The Flyers website also has a profile on him (it’s a bit homer-ific), noting that they liked his size, physical play, and his ability to make a smart first pass.
It’s worth noting that skating and positioning are sometimes a concern with big, young defensemen. It’s why Zdeno Chara was dealt so quickly by the Islanders way back when. They didn’t think his skating would improve enough to be a successful professional hockey player.
While Suellentrop’s size is certainly nowhere near Chara, the comparison remains (admittedly is a bit of a stretch) because of the areas where the 20-year-old is struggling. Habs Eyes On The Prize has a more recent evaluation, albeit a very brief one from a day of prospect camp:
Colin Suellentrop: Won the first two heats of his speed test, but faded in the last four. showed some flashes of good offensive instinct. One of the better invitees.
With skating noted as a previous issue, it’s good to see the big guy winning speed tests, even if he did fade (fatigue probably). His YouTube search brings up a ton of fights as well.
To sum it all up: In Suellentrop you have a defensive defenseman who can make a smart first pass and show some offensive instincts, a guy that can drop the gloves, and a guy who has made very big strides to work on his skating. I can’t find much on his positioning improvements, but the Rangers have done fairly well with the undrafted free agents lately (Connor Allen, Marek Hrivik). If the Rangers are in on him –and Friedman is no rumor mongerer– then there is something they like about him.