College team: Boston College (NCAA)
Measurables: 6-foot-3, 203 pounds
2014-15 stats: 37 games, five goals, 18 assists, 23 points
Central Scouting rank: No. 3 (North America)
Lowdown: Throughout the storied history of the Boston College hockey program, no one has suited up at a younger age than Hanifin. He was 17 when the season started, and he was one of the nation’s best defensemen when it ended.
Hanifin is a master at puck possession, whether it’s starting a rush from his own end or finding passing lanes in the offensive zone. Friend and Boston University foe Jack Eichel praises Hanifin’s skating ability. The defender has the quickness to eliminate a forward’s time and space. His hockey sense is top notch.
Hanifin is a dressing room leader, captaining the U.S. under-17 team to gold at the 2014 World Hockey Challenge. He also won gold at the under-18 world championship and picked up two assists in five games at this year’s world juniors. The only real question is will he be the first defenseman off the board.
They said it: “Everybody looks at him and says he’s a gifted offensive player, and he is, but what makes him so special is his transition game. He ‘gets it.’ You have to play defense first and the offense will follow.” – Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27.