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Edit: Drafted 66th Overall by Carolina.
Playing at the University of New Hampshire, Brett Pesce is this year’s highest ranked prospect coming out of the NCAA. His late 1994 birthday means that he was able to enroll as a freshman despite not being draft eligible until this year. Pesce was impressive as a freshman playing as a top 4 defenceman for the Wildcats, along with plenty of penalty killing time.
Pesce also has international experience, playing for the US squad at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Born Nov 15 1994 — Tarrytown, NY
Height 6.03 — Weight 170 — Shoots Right
Pesce is very solid in the defensive zone. He’s not one to lay huge hits, but he plays a physical game, rubbing out opponents along the boards, and battling in front of the net and in the corners. He lacks muscle right now, so he isn’t as effective as he will be when he bulks up, but he’s pretty good as is. Pesce maintains very good gap control which keeps him in great position to make those plays. Pesce has a quick stick and is able to steal pucks with a poke check or by anticipating passes well.
The strong defensive game is built around Pesce’s skating. He has great pivots, edgework, and agility, which gives him really good mobility on the ice. He is able to make quick cuts and changes in directions in all 360 degrees. Pesce has good top end speed both forwards and backwards, generated from a long and powerful stride. However his startup is sometimes a bit choppy, and this can rob him of his acceleration at times. He is strong on his skates and has decent balance, but it can be improved if he can add some lower body muscle.
Offensively there isn’t much to write home about with Pesce. He is a stay at home defender. He makes good outlet passes to start the transition game, but rarely attempts to join the rush. His skills in the offensive zone aren’t much to write home about, and his slapshot is not going to scare anyone. Clearly we are looking at a pure defense first player here.
In assessing Pesce I notice a style that is comparable to Rob Scuderi. In terms of potential, I believe that Pesce can be an effective second pairing defensive defenceman should he develop to his full potential.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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