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Edit: Drafted 32nd Overall by the Colorado Avalanche.
Chris Bigras has really had a breakout campaign this year. He became a top pairing defender with the Owen Sound Attack, playing huge minutes. He was used in all situations, including being on Owen Sound’s primary shutdown pairing with Nathan Chiarlitti, being used on the penalty kill, and even getting powerplay time. While Bigras produced at a decent clip on the powerplay, he was replaced later in the season, after Ottawa Senators’ prospect Cody Ceci was acquired at the trade deadline. While this put a bit of a damper on Bigras’ second half offensive production, it really shouldn’t be seen as a negative, as he did produce when given the opportunity, and was replaced when the Attack acquired an older and better powerplay quarterback, and not due to his own lack of production. Bigras helped Owen Sound to a third place finish in the OHL, and a first round playoff victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. However his Attack fell to the Plymouth Whalers in 6 games in the 2nd round.
Bigras has also seen success on the international stage. In 2011 he was part of Team Ontario at the World Under 17 Challenge and won a Bronze Medal. In 2012 he won Gold as a member of Team Canada’s Ivan Hlinka Tournament squad. Finally in 2013, Bigras was part of the IIHF World Under 18 Championship squad that brought home the gold medal.
Born Feb 22 1995 — Elmvale, ONT
Height 6.01 — Weight 185 — Shoots Left
Bigras is an extremely smart player with outstanding instincts and positioning. While he is not flashy, he consistently makes the smart play in nearly all situations and in all three zones. Bigras s extremely poised with the puck and makes hard, crisp tape to tape passes, both on the breakout and on the powerplay. He can sometimes join the rush as a trailer, but is not likely to lead it, instead using his passing skill to get Owen Sound’s transition game going. He is quick and efficient with the puck meaning less time is spent in his own end and more time spent in transition. On the powerplay he is a heads up playmaker. His shot needs work on its power, but he has great ability to keep it low and on target, leading to tip ins and rebounds.
Bigras is solid in the defensive zone. He uses his strong positioning and good instincts to their full advantage. He maintains good gap control and is rarely beaten in one on one situations, keeping his man to the outside and forcing him away from the net. He blocks passing lanes effectively as well. Bigras works hard in board battles and in clearing the front of the net, but must add more muscle mass to be really effective in these situations. He isn’t a huge hitter, but will take the body when necessary to make a play.
Bigras skating is at a decent level. His top end speed and acceleration, are slightly above average and could use some improvement however they are not liabilities. He combines that speed with very good edgework, footwork and agility, which coupled with his hockey sense and positioning allow him to cover a lot of ice. Bigras makes decent pivots, but could be a little bit quicker and crisper in this area as well. Bigras has some decent balance, but could become stronger on the puck with more muscle.
Bigras is a solid two-way player who is effective in all situations. I would compare his style to Paul Martin, however this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on potential. In terms of ceiling, Bigras can become an effective second pairing defender, and add good value to his NHL team on both the penalty kill, and the second unit powerplay.
Check back tomorrow for our number 41 prospect.
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Photo Credit: attackhockey.com
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