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His Skills: Julius Honka is a skilled defenseman who impacts the game in a big way. His coach in Swift Current, Mark Lamb, had this to say to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com via flames.nhl.com:
He's been as good as advertised. He was just so good in training camp. His skating and his puck handling and his shot, he was way ahead of everybody … You wonder, can he take it into the regular season and do it, but the biggest thing is how he practices and what he can do in practice, that's where you really get a good look at this kid. He's got some God-given talent that a lot of kids don't have. He's very high end.
Why Is He Underrated? Honka is listed as 5'11" and 175 pounds, and scouts prefer defensemen who are taller and have more size. Honka's WHL season in 2013-14, in which he scored 62GP, 16-40-56, turned some heads and changed some minds.
Does He Have an NHL Future? The team selecting Honka will get exceptional value. He is about the same size as Matt Dumba and Morgan Rielly were in 2012 and offers similar offense. One of the criticisms of this draft by NHL teams pertains to the lack of high-end defensemen. Beyond Aaron Ekblad and Haydn Fleury, it's unlikely any defenseman is taken in the top half of the first round.