Weight: 184 pounds
DOB: February 18, 1994
Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Slater Koekkoek is just the kind of defenseman NHL teams in the post-lockout era must have in order to succeed.
An all-around, two-way defenseman who excels in his own zone, Koekkoek is going to be a successful NHL blue-liner for a long time because of his great skills. An undeniable raw talent, he has good size that, while he is not overly physical, he uses effectively in his own zone. He can skate and carry the puck; he possesses good awareness and anticipation, and he has good offensive upside with a hard shot and solid first pass.
Koekkoek also has all the intangibles needed to crack an NHL roster sooner rather than later. Beyond his tireless work ethic and great determination, Koekkoek is a very smart player whose high hockey IQ has allowed him to thrive in juniors. He is also a good leader, having helped Team Canada to a gold medal in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament as an alternate captain.
Koekkoek spent the past season with the Ontario Hockey League's Peterborough Petes, where he posted five goals and 13 assists for 18 points through 26 games along with 17 penalty minutes and a minus-seven before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury.
Many teams will have passed on the 18-year-old native of Mountain, Ontario because of his lack of playoff experience in light of the injury, and Koekkoek has to be seen as somewhat of a high-risk pick because he is relatively unproven, having not played a game for the Petes since late November.
That said, Koekkoek, who was drafted seventh overall by the Petes in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, impressed at the NHL combine and effectively reasserted himself as a no-brainer first-round pick.
In the final Central Scouting rankings, Slater Koekkoek was ranked 23rd among North American skaters.
Analysis: He may not have as high a ceiling as the likes of Morgan Rielly or Jacob Trouba, but there is no denying that Slater Koekkoek has all the tools needed to be a big-time blue-liner at the NHL level. Koekkoek is projected as a top-four defenseman with good special teams capabilities.
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