Junior A Defenseman

Player (POS) League GP PTS pts/g
Dante Fabbro (D) BCHL 45 67 1.4889
Brinson Pasichnuk (D) AJHL 52 65 1.25
Dennis Cholowski (D) BCHL 50 40 0.8
Matthew Cairns (D) OJHL 46 33 0.71739
Derek Topatigh (D) OJHL 49 34 0.69388
Sam Dunn (D) OJHL 47 19 0.40426
Owen Grant (D) CCHL 57 23 0.40351

 

 

Dante Fabbro

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: R / H: 6’1 W: 185 / DOB June, 20, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: Fabbro likes to play an up-tempo game, breaking out of his zone with either short bursts of speed or a hard, accurate head man. He can identify and exploit gaps, including ones with a closing window of opportunity. He has above-average balance and the type of coast-to-coast ability to thwart tight-checking schemes. Crossing the red line is rarely an adventure, as he will either slow down the pace or take the puck wide and into the opposing zone. He has very good hands and can handle a tough pass during the back-and-forth nature of a power play. Fabbro possesses a very good shot and an early-season issue with accuracy seems to have been rectified.
  • Elite Prospects: Dante Fabbro is a dependable two-way defenseman with high offensive upside. He plays with poise and makes mature, high-percentage decisions under pressure. In his own end, he is proactive with both his body and stick, and does everything right to interrupt passing lanes and win back possession. With the puck on his stick, he is mobile at an elite level and can direct plays like a quarterback. He possesses a hard and accurate release on his shot, that he gets off quickly and on-net. All-in-all, a complete defenseman that plays a refined game at both ends of the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015) – See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=247041#sthash.jD8KTkiD.dpuf
  • Dobbers Prospects: March 2016 – Dante Fabbro is gifted offensive defenseman who has shown to be capable of dominating puck possession in his two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Fabbro combines agile skating, lateral mobility, and near elite speed when evading defenders as he rushes the puck up ice into the attacking zone. Deadly efficient on the powerplay, Dante is best when he has the puck on his stick as he can spot team mates with breakout passes and release a strong, accurate point shot from the blue line. Though tabbed as an offensive d-man, Fabbro is also effective in the defensive zone as he is extremely effective in puck retrieval, even under pressure, and is strong in transition. Fabbro is committed to attending Boston University in the NCAA next season. – Aynsley Scott

 

Brinson Pasichnuk

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’ / W: 190 lbs /DOB: Nov, 11, 1997
  • Bonnyville Nouvelle: “What people focus on with Brinson’s game is his offensive statistics, however it is important to recognize that he plays the game the right way and plays in all key defensive situations,” said Rick Swan, head coach and GM of the Bonnyville Pontiacs. “The honor is well deserved and we only expect him to be better as the season progresses.”

 

Dennis Cholowski

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’1 / W: 170 lbs /DOB: Feb. 15, 1998
  • com: Four way skating defender who has seemed to go from a tiny midget defenseman into a six foot elite skating offenseman. Calm, confident and aware from his end all the way up to the attack zone. Plays on both the PK and the PP where his vision and elusiveness already make him a strong competitor. He will continue to work on strengthening his shot and over all physicality in the weight room. He started at 5’ 8” and projects to be 6’ 3”.
    Committed to St. Cloud State University. –Bill Placzek—
  • The Hockey House: Dennis Cholowski, D (West):The lone NHL Central Scouting B-rated prospect from the CJHL, Chilliwack Chiefs defenseman Dennis Cholowski is quickly making a name for himself in his sophomore BCHL campaign. An early 1998-born blueliner, Cholowski is a great skater that isn’t afraid to pinch in offensively, something he does very effectively. A year ago, the then-16-year-old defender made the decision to commit to St. Cloud State University in the NCAA, a huge accomplishment for a defenseman still years away from actually making the transition. Cholowski already sees time on the powerplay, and after growing five inches since his first BCHL game back in 2013, size could become another asset of his once he learns to use it. With some strong defenseman gracing Canada’s West blue line at the WJAC, Cholowski will likely be one of the most dominant forces on a team that features potential top ten NHL draft pick Dante Fabbro.

Matthew Cairns

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’2 W: 190 / DOB: April, 27, 1998
  • Penalty Box Radio: A big-bodied, big-minute blue line cruncher, Cairns has the ability to quarter-back a power-play and put up solid offensive numbers, mostly in the assist column. However, he’s much more effective acting as a quiet, shutdown defenseman, so he isn’t the guy you’d rely on to score a big goal from the point in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Instead, the reigning OJHL champion can move the puck around in any zone without losing focus and never seems to get rattled, despite being physical at times.

Derek Topatigh

 

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 5’11 W: 175 / March, 3, 1997
  • The Draft Analyst: Defenseman Derek Topatigh, a Princeton recruit, was excellent in generating offense from the blueline, displaying a quick first step, aggressive pinches and a patient outlook when controlling the play. He only had one assist in four games, but he nonetheless left a good impression on us.

Sam Dunn

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 6’2 W: 195 / March, 11, 1998
  • Draft Site: Big defender with great wheels and lateral mobility, who projects as top four player. –Bill Placzek

Owen Grant

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 5’11 W: 185 /       Jan, 22, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: As far as first-year draft eligibles for 2016, offensive defenseman Owen Grant (Vermont) was impressive in all three zones.

 

10 Thoughts

  • Dante Fabbro’s 1.49 Pts/G is the highest a defenseman since 2005.       The previous highest in the past 10 years was Michael Prapavessis’s 1.15 Pts/G in the OJHL. The previous highest Pts/G by a BCHL defenseman was Josh Manson’s .8 Pts/G.
  • Fabbro’s scouting report has him listed as a two-way defender and has drawn comparison to Tyson Barrie and Ryan McDonagh. Fabbro or his teammate Jost will likely be the highest Canadian junior player drafted since Kyle Turris. Fabbro will likely be the highest defenseman drafted this century.
  • One player that was missing from this list is Dean Stewart.       A 6’2 defenseman from the MJHL that’s committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha. Stewart is a late birthday (June, 12, 1998) and averaged .52 pts/g this past year. He then put up 12 points in 8 games in the playoffs. Stewart was ranked No. 125 among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Service midterm ranking of the top prospects for 2016 NHL Draft.
  • Derek Topatigh is in his second draft class. The year before he had averaged .5 Pts/G.
  • There were 16 Players scored .70+ Pts/G during their draft year.       Five of the defenseman played in the NHL; Brendan Smith, Josh Manson, Colton Parayko, Ben Hutton & Justin Schultz. All 5 look to be on target to play 100+ games.   That’s a strong number and doesn’t include several prospects still developing most notably – Jake Walman.
  • There were 24 players drafted below .7 Pts/G. Four defenseman played in an NHL game; Julian Melchiori, Andrew MacWilliam , Mark Borowiecki, Dylan Olsen.   Two of the defenseman have played 100+ games.       Dylan Olsen is former first round pick that is a long shot to play more than 200 games. The chances of playing 100+ games drops by roughly 20%.
  • There were five defenseman who averaged .6 Pts/G over their NCAA career. Four of the five defenseman went onto play in the NHL – Justin Schultz, Brendan Smith, Jake Walman, Colton Parayko & Ben Hutton. Jake Walman has yet to sign in with his NHL team. All 5 scored above .7 Pts/60 in their Junior A draft year.
  • Brinson Pasichnuk is a defenseman that is intriguing. Outside of Fabbro he has the highest Pts/G total of any previously drafted Canadian Junior defenseman in the past 10 years. He’s also a good skating, physical defenseman. Brinson was in on roughly 30% of all goals the Bonnyville Pontiacs played in this past season. For comparison Fabbro was in on roughly 32% of his teams offensve for games that he played in.  My main concern is, I believe, he’s committed to Arizona State which is not a strong program.
  • Here are the top 5 players that I consider drafting;
    1. Dante Fabbro – Top 15 Pick
    2. Dennis Cholowski – Top 60 Pick – Good two-way defender.
    3. Brinson Pasichnuk – 5th Round or later
    4. Matt Cairns – 5th Round or later – Good size can move the puck.
    5. Dean Stewart – 5th Round or later – Good size right hand shot.
  • I would be concerned that Derek Topatigh, Sam Dunn & Owen Grant do not bring enough offense.  Although they are all Right-hand shot defenders.
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