NHL Draft Prospect Profile #36: Damon Severson
Drafted 60th overall by the New Jersey Devils.
For those who have been following our prospect profiles, it is clear that this year’s draft is just full of defence prospects. It should also be noted that the WHL in particular has a very large crop of talented defencemen in this year’s draft class. In the last decade or so there is one WHL team in particular that stands alone when it comes to producing NHL defencemen, and its no surprise that they have another good one in this year’s draft. Damon Severson hopes to follow in the long line of Kelowna Rockets defence alumni which includes Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Josh Gorges, Tyler Myers, Alex Edler, Luke Schenn, and Kyle Cumiskey. Severson joins his Kelowna teammate, forward Colton Sissons, as prospects we have projected for the early 2nd round of this years draft.
Severson was also a member of Team Canada at this springs IIHF Under 18 World Hockey Championships where he came home with a bronze medal. He did not look out of place playing against fellow top junior players, and showed that he was capable of playing a strong defensive role.
Born Aug 7 1994 — Melville, Saskatchewan
Height 6.02 — Weight 198 — Shoots Right
Severson has ideal NHL size (though he needs to add muscle to his frame), and is a solid two way defender in the WHL. Severson is a fluid skater. He has a great first step and very good accleration. He reaches his top speed quickly, and this helps him to shake off forecheckers in the defensive zone. However, he is more quick than fast, as his top end skating speed is only slightly above average. He does have good mobility, as he is agile and makes good pivots and changes of direction.
Severson’s biggest strength is his defensive game. He is a great shot blocker, one of the best in this year’s draft class. While not usually a big hitter, Severson is physical in battling hard along the boards and working to keep the front of the net clear. A big body, he does use his size to his advantage. His agility and mobility allows him to keep on rushing forwards to the outside and keep most plays in front of him.
Offensively Severson has a great point shot. He’s got a very hard one-timer and is used on the point in Power Play situations. His passing is good and crisp, especially in starting the breakout and transition game, however his vision in the offensive zone is average. He projects as more of a second unit Power Play defenceman at the NHL level than a true power play quarterback, as he doesn’t have the offensive skills of guys like Matt Dumba, Morgan Rielly, and Derrick Pouliot.
Severson needs to work on his consistency. We have seen games this season where he was the best player on the ice, and where we walked away thinking that this kid would challenge to be a mid first round draft pick. However we have also seen games that have left us wondering if we were watching the same player. There are nights when Severson is a smart, effective defender, who makes excellent decisions and is calm and poised with the puck. There were other nights when we saw Severson make huge gaffes, and silly mistakes in his own end of the rink. Times where he tried to get “too cute” with the puck leading to bad giveaways and turnovers, and scoring chances against. This inconsistency will be his biggest issue to correct and will determine his ultimate role in the NHL. We do believe that Severson has the potential to be a shut down defenceman, ala an Eric Brewer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, with even a little more offence than that; however it remains to be seen if he will ever reach that level.
… and thats the Last Word.