With their 4th round pick the Sharks went with huge Canadian defenseman Alexis Vanier. He is a more typical Sharks pick. He is not a very good skater but has a great shot and is physical. He is a boom/bust type prospect that could turn out to be a steal.
Though he has skating issues, the rest of Vanier's package is very entertaining. The hulking defenseman isn't shy to throw the body and picks his spots well. With his frame, he also has a booming shot that is highly effective on the power play.
The Hockey Writers
If your a forward trying to get into the zone, the one guy you donât want to go up against in this yearâs draft is Alexis Vanier of Baie-Comeau Drakkar. He's an imposing blueliner with the size of an NFL linebacker. And he's not afraid to use that size to intimidate opponents.
A solid bodychecker, Vanier is a great positional defender who knows where to be at the right time to either lay a big hit or break up a play. He packs a great deal of power into his slapshot given his 6'5", 225 lb. figure. He was used on Drakkar's powerplay frequently to tee up his blast from the point. He has some decent offensive skills, too.
The most he has to work on is his skating â all aspects of it. He's not very fast and when he moves around the ice it looks very choppy. He loses momentum in his strides and moving laterally, so agility is something to focus on. However, he can be a potential force in the NHL if his skating improves over the next few seasons.
Draft Site (Bill Placzek)
Huge defender who is starting to develop edge, as he improves his all-around game and feet. must make big strides in terms of stop/starts, and lateral movement if he is to to be given consideration if he wants his name called.
Last Word on Sports
Already at 6â5â³, Alexis Vanier has the ideal size that many NHL teams would love to add to their blueline. At 215 pounds, he has already started to fill out that frame, and there is room to add even more muscle going forward. Heâs also shown the ability to use it, and to do so effectively throwing big hits, rubbing out opponents along the boards, winning battles, and clearing the front of the net. On top of this he is a willing shot blocker, and cuts down passing lanes extremely well by taking advantage of his long stick. Vanierâs positioning and his anticipation and hockey IQ are also very good and this can help to somewhat make up for his lack of skating ability.
Vanier has also shown ability at the offensive end of the ice. He has an absolute howitzer from the blue-line and can unleash it either as a straight slap shot or as a one-timer. Vanier also has a very powerful and accurate wrist shot along with a good release. Improved agility and edgework which would allow him to better open up shooting lines. While he is more suited to be the trigger man of the powerplay than the quarterback, he does have decent passing skill, including a good first pass in his own zone, and even some decent vision and playmaking in the offensive zone.
Vanierâs biggest and most noticeable issue is the poor skating I have mentionned above. This seems to be a common problem amongst bigger players, but even for a 6â5â³ player, heâs below average at this point. Vanier will need to work on his stride, his first step, and his pivots and edgework in order to become more mobile to play at the NHL level.
In terms of potential, Vanier looks like a real boom or bust prospect. With some hard work on improving his skating he could become a top four defender and a weapon on the powerplay. While not an assessment of potential, and just a look at style, he is reminiscent of Sheldon Souray of the Anaheim Ducks.