Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Profile: Phil Oreskovic

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst IMarch 10, 2009

 

Phil Oreskovic/1/26/19876'3''217 lbs.

The huge Phil Oreskovic made his NHL debut last night in a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, and I have to say he played a good game. Even though he was a minus -1 and only played 8:21, he showed what it takes to play in the NHL. He showed toughness, tenacity, and used his size well as a defensive defenseman.

But what do we really know about the big defenseman?

The North York, Ontario native started out playing for the Brampton Battalion in 2003, and played three-and-a-half years with the team before being traded to the Owen Sound Attack for a late playoff run.

After that early exit from the OHL playoffs, Oreskovic joined the Toronto Marlies to help them finish out the season, and until last night has spent the past one-and-a-half seasons with the team, posting very good numbers for a defensive defenseman, and being a plus player for both seasons.

In 2006, Oreskovic was voted by the coaches of the OHL as both the hardest hitting player in the OHL and the best defensive defenseman in the NHL.

He has devastating body-checks, good ability in the corners, and is never afraid to get his hands dirty. He is also good at clearing the front of the net, especially in penalty killing situations.

So why doesn't he have a full time job already in the NHL?

The thing that is holding him back is his offensive ability. His skating ability is adequate at best and he struggles offensively in almost every aspect. He sometimes even struggles handling the puck in very high pressure situations, which is not allowed in the NHL.

Hockey's Future Rating: 6.0

Shane House's Rating: 6.5

Analysis: If he can solve his offensive problems and handle the puck better, Phil Oreskovic will be a solid defenseman in the NHL who can handle playing in one of the bottom defensive pairings while playing on the top penalty kill. But that is if he can overcome his offensive woes.

Player Comparison: Cory Sarich

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