Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2014 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.
The 20th overall pick in the 2012 OHL draft, Aaron Haydon spent the first half of his rookie season in 2012-13 playing with Dougie Hamilton during the NHL lockout. It seems he picked up a lot, as Haydon has turned himself into a reliable defender after Hamilton graduated to the NHL. While he doesn’t put up a huge number of points, with just 5 goals and 11 assists in 61 games this season, he does play big minutes in a shut down role for the Ice Dogs. He helped a rebuilding Ice Dogs club to 7th place in the Eastern Conference. The Dogs would fall to the heavily favoured North Bay Battalion in an exciting seven game series.
Aaron Haydon comes from a family with good genes, and an athletic bloodline, as his father was a tight end in the NCAA with Cornell. The Plymouth, Michigan native has international experience playing for the United States at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament and helping the team to a silver medal.
Defense — shoots Right
Born Jan 6 1996 — Plymouth, MI
Height 6.03 — Weight 200 [190 cm/91 kg]
At 6’3″, Aaron Haydon has ideal size for a defender. He skates extremely well for a big man, with good speed in both directions and strong edgework and pivots. This gives him the mobility to cover large areas of the ice, and it is difficult to beat him one on one. He has good core strength, and this gives him very good balance, which is useful in clearing the front of the net and winning board battles.
Don’t let the statistics fool you. Yes, Haydon was a -39 this season. However that number is largely due to being tasked with playing against the other team’s top lines, and playing for a rebuilding Ice Dogs team. He was actually a solid defensive defender with a good physical game. Haydon loves to hit and throw his weight around in the defensive end. While he can sometimes get out of position looking for a big hit, he has become better at picking his spots as the year went on. He also showed a good ability to contain his man in the cycle game with his good footwork and mobility. Haydon is not afraid to block shots. He’s also been known to drop the gloves, including fighting Jacob Middleton in the Top Prospects game.
Offensively, Haydon is a stay at home defender. He isn’t likely to join the rush very often. His passing skills, including his first pass could use some work in starting the transition game. He can be forechecked into making mistakes and giveaways and needs to develop his stickhandling as well. He does have a hard slap shot though, and with his mobility its possible that his offense could develop.
Haydon’s game resembles Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators. This is a stylistic comparison and not a talent comparison though. He could develop into a solid second pairing defensive defender if he reaches his full potential.
Here are some highlights of Aaron Haydon in action.
Come back tomorrow to check out my #54 prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft.
For the latest sports injury news, check out our friends at Sports Injury Alert.
Interested in writing for LWOS? We are looking for enthusiastic, talented writers to join our Hockey writing team. Visit our ”Write for Us“ page for very easy details in how you can get started today!