After McEichel in the 2015 draft, it’s not certain how NHL teams will go. Most have college defender Noah Hanifin ranked at No. 3 overall but he’s not delivering a lot of offense—certainly not at the level we associate with such a high draft pick. What’s the story on Noah Hanifin?

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I spoke to Kirk Luedeke of Red  Line Report today on the Lowdown about Hanifin and as always Kirk’s take was reasonable and insightful.


  • Luedeke: “He is a potential cornerstone franchise type defenseman who can do everything. He has been described by BC assistant coach Greg Brown as the baseball equivalent of a 5-tool player.”
  • Luedeke: “He’s such a fluid skater, his gaps are excellent.  He’s got the size and the skating. I’ve
    been looking at the finer things, the gaps, stick positioning, footwork.
    There’s really no weakness in his game. He’s very effortless in terms
    of his ability to sidestep oncoming pressure and he can make the right


  • Luedeke: “His shot is a pretty good one, could certainly stand more power. It’s not like he has a popgun drive, but he recognizes he needs to make it harder and more accurate.”
  • Luedeke: “If there’s one thing he could improve upon at this stage of his development is he’s not an overly physical guy. He tends to be a body leverage, angles type of player. If there is a knock on his game it’s that he doesn’t have a robust physical element to his game. It isn’t necessarily a weakness, but something that it not a strength or something he’s going to get drafted on.”

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  • Luedeke: “He should be in high school, he just turned 18 yesterday! Yet he’s here at BC, one of the best programs in the country and playing at a high level.”


It’s a tough call. Craig MacTavish is clearly focused on building up the middle and there appear to be three flat out cornerstone players in this draft (with Mitch Marner trending that way). Defensemen do pose more of a risk, but this guy absolutely has the entire tool kit (save the shot).

I think Edmonton probably has Hanifin ranked at No. 3 overall and if he’s available and they pick at that number, he’ll be an Oiler.

Previously in the series:

    • Prongers Promises

      Mcdavid or bust.

      We missed out on THE D man we needed last year.

      If it wasnt for Smyths “Retirement” last game of the year victory, we would have finished 29th and thus Ekblad would have been ours.


      • Zarny

        You can’t say that if the Oilers had finished 29th last year they would have won the lottery.

        They would have had more balls in the draw and Florida would have had less. You can never know if the ball that was picked is one that would have went to Edmonton or if it would have still been one of Florida’s.

        That’s just how it goes when all that changes are your odds.

    • Mantastic

      if he was a RH shot, i for sure think he would be ranked 3rd behind mceichel, however, I do believe Strome and Marner will be ranked 3/4th by the end of the season.

    • Ever the Optimist

      Lowetide …. sorry I am off topic here but wanted your opinion ….

      Richards on waivers now … I doubt he gets picked up with that contract but what would you think about a trade afterwards

      maybe Nikitin and they keep a million of his salary or petry and they add in a pick?

      They need to get rid of his contract but does he have the ability to be a good 2nd line center and mentor for another 5 years?

      • Lowetide

        Interesting point. I think Richards doesn’t have enough left to be honest. I like him as a player but he’s headed in a bad direction.

        In theory, it’s a great idea.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Another college dman who isn’t physical. JS 2.0
      No thank you.

      If were 3rd which is most likely I take either Strome or Zacha. Size matters.

    • freelancer

      Right now, I’m of the belief that if McEichel is off the table, the Oil should seriously consider trading the pick. One 18 year old isn’t going to suddenly change this team around. McEichel may be the exception to that. If this team wants to keep it’s Halls and Nuge’s they need some immediate help. If there is say the chance to trade the pick and bring in an actual top defenseman I would be perfectly fine with that decision.

    • Zarny

      Sounds like like a hell of a hockey player………but methinks he also sounds like JS, which is an indictment, not a compliment.

      If I were picking, all players with the description of ” not overly physical”, should be treated like back-end waste material, flush it and move on!

      If the fourth pick is Pavel Zacha and in his description the word mean comes up…….pick him or anyone like him.

      No more softies, we have enough of those. In my mind mean and skilled is a great combination and there are players that have both, so why not target them?

    • Quicksilver ballet

      It would seem crazy of the team not to draft a centre that high. I really don’t think Edmonton has anyone on the blue to help mentor a young stud d-man, so any guy you draft is going to take a long time to develop.

      Where as drafting a centre at that spot means Edmonton has a bit of prospect depth at a position they have been weak at for decades. Especially if they picked up Richards off waivers today. But, that likely isn’t going to happen.

    • freelancer

      Let’s see, he’s a NCAA college defender who doesn’t throw thunderous bodychecks? He’ll be run out of town in three years, tops.

      Joking aside, there have been a few of these in Edmonton in the past 15 years, granted maybe not of the skill level of Hanifin, and it seems that they always end up undervalued by both MGMT and fans, and are eventually sent away for pennies on the dollar.

      I’m thinking about Poti, Gilbert, and (soon) Petry.

      Somewhat ironically, Norris Schultz is a college man who probably should be shipped out, but is hugely OVERvalued by MGMT so he remains.

      All of this has no bearing on Hanifin or whether he should or shouldn’t be drafted by the Oilers. I just don’t trust the ability of current MGMT to handle him properly.

    • Tikkanese

      I would take Hanifin with the 3rd pick if that is where the Oilers pick.

      Imagine if Sam Bennett was healthy and playing with Kingston, most people would be talking Lawson Crouse

          • Chainsawz

            Not the point, numb nuts.

            A quick look at his junior point totals is what I was inferring to…. Barely a player till his fateful year in ’03-’04 with Crosby.

            It’s the inverse to saying Crouse is going to be a player once he gets line mates.

            • pkam

              You are an idiot, in his draft year WITHOUT CROSBY he was a 1.12 point per game player, up from a 0.82 point per game player the year before and in his “faithful year” he only increased his points per game by 0.02. So yeah that is not barely a player idiot.

              Pouliot was a big centre that the oilers wanted – you know what some many of you whiners are saying they need to do – draft by need.

    • Tikkanese

      He sounds identical to Justin Schultz’s scouting reports prior to the NHL. Great skills, great stick, great gap, not the hardest shot, doesn’t play physical…

      Also sounds like whoever drafts him would best be served to not instantly graduate him to the NHL. That said, the Oilers desperately need better D. I’m torn.

      • freelancer

        The Oil do need to get better on D. Adding another rookie player will not do that. Let’s say for argument sake they do draft him. If you play him you have the possibility of Hanifin, Nurse, Klefbom, and Marincin in your top 6. That is way too many inexperienced players. He could very well become that anchor, look at what giving Nurse more time has done to his game. The question becomes can the Oil afford to build their entire team from patience and the draft or does a move have to be made to make this team better now.

          • freelancer

            I thought you meant you would be torn between developing him in the minors vs giving the Oilers the immediate help on D they need. Apparently I am just agreeing with everything you said.

        • Zarny

          Aside from the fact that Hanifin, Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin are waaay too inexperienced to all play together they are also all left-hand shots who play the left side.

          The Oilers are already going to have to trade one of Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin imo. If the Oilers draft Hanifin 3rd it just makes that a bit easier to do.

            • Chainsawz

              I would have because it was a more pressing organizational need over drafting another defencemen. Eckblad is a stud. But hindsight is 100%. Barring winning the lottery we need to once again take a center. I would if I had my druthers take Zacha based on scouting reports . If you convert him to wing it would certainly add a dimension of size and skill that we lack on the wing.

              Marner is high end but is he Rob Shremp high end. Or Taylor Hall high end.

    • freelancer

      How can you say defensemen pose more of a risk when we have the Oilers and Yakupov staring us in the face?

      No draft eligible D who has played a major role and well in the World Juniors has gone bust. And one can count them on one’s fingers.

      Doughty, Bouwmeester, Ekblad, Fowler, Jones, Hanifan. Eric Johnson has had two major injuries which impacted his career but he is still the best D in Colorado.

    • D-Unit

      Now now people. Nicklaus Lidstrom or Paul Coffey weren’t exactly physical but they turned out ok. Heck you could argue karlsson isn’t very physical either. Glass half full people, glass half full.

      I also don’t recall Coffey or Lidstrom winning any hardest shot competitions.

    • D-Unit

      Just think what Hanifan would be doing if he played in junior against 18 year olds instead of 22 year olds think Duncan Keith same fluid skater controls the blue line

    • Gooilgo

      Another year of oiler screw ups on the draft. Sickening to see all the great young players playing for other teams we could have had but made bad choices.

      Zero confidence with kblowe, McT and this scouting team to get anything right.

      Johnny hockey for hall, Eberle, Schultz and draisitl. Blow it up dump salary and start with real goal scorers not pond hockey passers!

      Bring in Brian Burke or some real hockey people please.

      • pkam

        Brian Burke?

        The one who said he would bring the Leafs to playoff in 4 years and failed?

        The one who signed Mikhail Grabovski to 5.5M for 5 years and then had to buy him out?

        The one who trade 2 1st rounders (which turned into Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) plus a 2nd rounder for Kessel?

        The one who had Reimer and Scrivens as the starters?

    • Gooilgo

      Who would you rather have Hannafin or Nurse? Nurse drastically outplayed him at the WJCs. There was a world of difference in their play so I’m not overly impressed with Hanafin. He has speed and a good stick but no offence! if your picking 3rd you better get a Dman who has all the dimensions…if your getting a Dman with no offence he better be a shutdown monster with a healthy dose of mean!
      Don’t piss around with another soft player we don’t need any more!

    • freelancer

      No thanks…had enough of college defencemen here and look how they turned out. Gilbert was traded from here and Minny walked away when he was a UFA. He couldn’t even get a contract when he went to FLA and played with Campbell who washed away his many warts. Now he’s a 7th defenceman in MTL…barely. Schultz,Poti etc….non impact dmen IMO.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      If the oilers pick 3rd, take Strome and send him back to jr to develop.

      If the oilers pick 4-6th and hanifin is still available, take him and send him back to college or the AHL for a few years til he is ready for the NHL.

      I don’t mind overpaying for fa’s on the short term, 2-3 yrs, just to let picks develop properly.

    • serenity now

      Until the draft order is determined, it is rather pointless to argue over who the Oilers should take in the draft.

      The Oilers are so bad that any player in the top 10 would be very helpful, hell even the top 20.

      Save your vitriol for when the team has earned it.