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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Damon Severson

Damon Severson, D

Birthplace: Melville, Saskatchewan 8/7/94
Bio: 6’1, 195 lbs., R
Kelowna Rockets, WHL
Rankings: ISS – NR; CSS – 48 (NA)

The Skinny: With solid size and an above-average all-around game, Kelowna defenseman Damon Severson is a ‘safe’ early-round talent.

In the wild 2012 WHL blueline crop, Damon Severson is as steady as they come. With solid two-way game, the seventeen year-old defenseman from the Kelowna Rockets has boosted his draft stock and has even been slotted in the first round in some mocks.

Despite less-than-celebrity status in the stacked WHL, Severson has a very sound game. Though not a dynamic skater he’s very mobile. His defensive game is very advanced: Severson’s positioning, gap control and decision-making in his own zone are all excellent. His defensive acumen is first-class and he brings a poise and patience rare for his age.

Severson’s physical game is solid and he’s more than willing to stick up for himself and teammates by dropping the gloves. He does well in the face of heavy forechecking and is capable of advancing the puck under pressure. Working hard (and frequently successfully) to win battles along the boards and in front of the net are hallmarks of his game.

Offensively, he seems to produce in bursts (notably tallying five assists in an early-season match) with some extended cold streaks. He won’t bring the distribution prowess of Morgan Rielly or the goal-scoring potential of Matt Dumba (though he has a heavy shot) but he does the little things well in the attacking zone and it’s an area of his game that’s been progressively improving.

Detractors point to his skating game as suspect (he lacks the elite wheels of many of his fellow WHL blueliners) and his minimal offensive upside as reasons he’s more of a second-round than first-round talent. No argument here – but a look at the whole package (size, skills, intangibles) evinces a very intriguing prospect.

Damon Severson is a relatively ‘safe’ pick given his physical tools and capable play within his own zone. However, because he lacks the attacking flair and elite wheels of many of his prime rivals he’ll probably wind up drafted on Day Two. He could really fit perfectly for some team in the 40s.

Ideal Fits: Teams looking for a surefire and solid defensive-defenseman early in the second round: New York Isles, Columbus, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Anaheim

Why Your Team Will Take Him: Because with mobility and own-zone prowess, he’s a very safe bet to become a low or mid-pairing defenseman in the future.

Why Your Team Will Pass on Him: Because he doesn’t appear to have first-pairing potential; because his offensive upside is limited.

Strengths: Defensive Acumen, Mobility, Physicality, Poise, Size

Weaknesses/Concerns: Offensive Upside, Foot Speed, Transition Game

Projection: Middle-Pairing Defensive Defenseman (5g, 30p potential)

Predicted 2012 NHL Draft Range: Second Round (31-45)

Overall Rank: 44

N.A. Rank: 33

WHL Rank: 10

Defenseman Rank: 18

Canadian National Rank: 18

Bob is the Boston Bruins correspondent for The Hockey Writers and a credentialed member of the Providence Bruins' Media.

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