2014 NHL Draft Profiles: Julius Honka
The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft emanates from Philadelphia on June 27 with the Washington Capitals holding the 13th overall selection. Over the next week, I will profile five potential draftees that could realistically be available to Washington.
- Haydn Fleury
- Brendan Perlini
- Kevin Fiala
- Jared McCann
Team: Swift Current Broncos (Western Hockey League)
Age: 18 (Dec. 3, 1995)
NHL Central Scouting Final Ranking: No. 11 (North American Skaters)
An undersized offensive defenseman is probably the last thing that the Capitals need to bolster their meager defensive corps, but Honka's dynamism may be enough to justify his selection.
A smooth skater and slick puck mover, the 18-year-old relies on his elusiveness and vision to make plays. His most obvious weaknesses are his high-risk nature and lack of physicality, attributes that Washington simply has too much of already on the back end.
At No. 13, Honka may be a reach but skilled defensemen with his potential are not readily available. He could be worth the long-term risk.
(Much more on Honka is available at Japers' Rink.)
"Honka hit the ground running in his first season in North America, looking substantially better as a prospect than when he played in Europe. The factor that's really elevated his play has been his improvement defensively, which has allowed him to be leaned on more in tough minutes (and will be pivotal to his having a big role in the NHL).
"His physical game remains a major liability, as he's small, not that strong, and not an intimidating guy when contact is initiated. Overall, he can play a risky style of game, but most of the time he doesn't get caught and knows how to make the most of his offensive gifts without giving up too much on the back end."
“Let’s just say that when you go to a game and you see his name in the lineup, you’re excited to watch the game because he’s got about four or five different gears. You think he’s just skating normally and he puts it in another gear, then another gear. Excellent vision and on-ice awareness. He reads the play so well sometimes he’s two or three steps ahead of his own teammates.”
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