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Noah Hanifin NHL draft profile: BC defenseman will make one team very happy

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A crowded top tier could push the drafted top-rated defenseman to the Flyers selection.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In most drafts, a player like Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin could be in the conversation for the No. 1 pick.

A smooth skater with solid size and a transition game that rivals most, Hanifin is the prototypical modern-day shutdown defenseman. Unfortunately for Hanifin, this draft isn't like most drafts, with two superstar forwards and a plethora of defensive depth.

Fortunately for the Flyers, this isn't like most drafts, and a crowded pool at the top could send Hanifin down to the No. 7 pick. Crazier things have happened, so lets take a look at one of the Flyers dream scenarios.

Noah Hanifin

  • Born: January 25, 1997
  • Nationality: American
  • Height: 6'2
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Team: Boston College
  • Position: Defense
His stats
Would the Flyers draft Hanifin?

Yes, it's true that the Flyers have a few good defensive prospects already, but there are some things to consider.

For one, it's probably safe to say that not all of the "Big 4" will become productive NHL players. All you have to look at is the current state of the Flyers to see why no team can have too many good defensive prospects. The Flyers are paying over $3 million against the cap per year in all Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann and Luke chenn, and they will likely have to give Michael Del Zotto a significant raise this offseason too.

This isn't to say every one of those players are bad, but more of a statement of the current market. Defenseman are becoming more and more expensive, and even replacement level defenseman are getting decent-sized contracts. I don't think theres a downside to having as many top defensive prospects in the pool as possible.

What makes Hanifin stand out is the skill set and production he brings on the ice. Scoring 23 points in a competitive NCAA conference while playing heavy time for one of the nations best programs, his freshman season was only overshadowed by that of Jack Eichel.

Also just as impressive for Hanifin was leading the United States under-20 team at the 2015 World Juniors. Hanifin filled in the same role that Predators defenseman Seth Jones held at the same age. Conner Mellas from NHL.com recently compared Noah's game to that of a robot, and after watching him in the World Juniors, it's easy to see why. He positions himself effectively to stop rushes into the zone, and posses the stick to counter any oncoming attack. When he has the puck, Hanifin has a deadly first pass that complements his skating and puck-moving abilities.

The one downside to Hanifin's game may be his goal scoring. His five goals were a tad lower than what you would like to see, even if he played in a pretty tough league. He lacks the power shot that players such as PK Subban or Keith Yandle have.

But what he lacks in strength, he makes up for with playmaking. As mentioned above, his skating and passing give him an advantage to move the puck to prime scoring areas and creating chances down low rather than at the point. He plays the game in the mold of Drew Doughty, and while he's not going to score as much as a Yandle-type defenseman, we've seen over the past half-decade how much an impact that type of player can have on a team.

If Hanifin falls to the Flyers, he will be incredibly difficult for them to pass up.