NHL Draft Prospect Profile #34: Dalton Thrower

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Drafted 51st Overall by the Montreal Canadiens.

Dalton Thrower has really come out of nowhere this season and shot up draft boards by showing great progression in all aspects of his game.  The Saskatoon Blades defenceman has attracted the attention of scouts and become one of the most improved players in the WHL.  Thrower really showed his worth late in the season with Saskatoon, as due to injuries to other Blades blueliners the team was often forced to play with just four regular defencemen.  Thrower was playing over 30 minutes per game, in all situations, and some say he even outperformed 2011 draftee Duncan Siemens.  Thrower joins an impressive crop of WHL defencemen including Ryan Murray, Matt Dumba, Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart, and Derrick Pouliot, in this years draft class.

Born Dec 20 1993 — North Vancouver, BC
Height 6.00 — Weight 195 — Shoots Right

2009-10 Saskatoon Blades WHL 55 0 7 7 61 2 8 0 1 1 2
2010-11 Saskatoon Blades WHL 68 6 14 20 91 14 10 2 1 3 11
2011-12 Saskatoon Blades WHL 66 18 36 54 103 -4 4 0 1 1 4

Thrower is a solid all around defenceman who does it all for the Blades.  He is used in all situations, with tough matchups at even-strength, top power play unit time, and penalty killing work.  Thrower took this responsibility and really excelled this season.  In fact it seemed like the more minutes he was given, the better he played.  Thrower is a hard-nosed physical player, who enjoys playing a style of “old-time” hockey.

Thrower’s biggest improvement this season has come in the offensive end of the ice.  He tripled his goal total over last season, and nearly tripled his point output.  Thrower has an absolute cannon of a slap shot, and is excellent at firing a one timer on net.  He understands how to keep his slapper low and accurate which leads to tip ins and rebounds for his Saskatoon Teammates.  Thrower is also shown good passing ability and is very poised with the puck on his stick.  He has good hockey sense and vision and often makes the smart pass in the offensive zone.  We have seen Thrower skate with the puck and lead the rush on occasion, but he much prefers to use his passing skills to start the Blades transition game, he makes a good first pass out of the zone.

Defensively Thrower is a very physical player.  He just loves to catch a forward coming in on him with his head down and throw a huge body check.  Thrower plays the game with an edge, he is willing to use any means necessary, including some nasty stickwork to keep the front of his net clear, and to win battles along the boards.  Thrower makes life miserable for any forward who tries to come near the Blades net, as he can often be found in the middle of any scrum.

Thrower’s physical game extends to dropping the gloves.  He turned a lot of heads at the CHL Top Prospects game when he fought Tom Wilson, despite a huge size disadvantage.  Thrower held his own against the much larger Wilson, while he didn’t win the fight, he did do much better than expected.  He has shown this fighting ability on a number of occasions with Saskatoon this season.

We’d compare Thrower’s potential to become a defenceman similar to Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks.  Thrower will be a key piece for the Saskatoon Blades next year as they try to win the Memorial Cup in their own rink.

.. and thats the Last Word.