2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Josh Wesley

Rena Laverty

The Player

Josh Wesley

Defenseman

Plymouth Whalers(OHL)

2013-2014 stats: 68 games 2 goals 7 assists 9 points 62 PIMs

Height: 6'2.5" Weight: 196 lbs.

Final NHL Central Scouting Ranking: 111th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Wesley is a pure defensive defenseman. He plays smart, safe defense, with good hockey sense and anticipation. That, combined with playing fearless hockey makes him an excellent shot blocker. He's not a very fast skater, but skates with a wide base that makes him very strong on his skates and difficult to knock off the puck.

His skating is going to be the biggest issue he has to overcome to make it to the next level. His feet are a bit heavy, and he struggles to move laterally and keep up with quicker forwards. He's also not much of a puckhandler, as evidenced by his low scoring totals.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Wesley skated with the US NTDP U17 team two years ago, and after seeing limited ice time in Ann Arbor, signed with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, where he played this past season.(His father Glen was a long-time alternate captain for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, who share owner Peter Karmanos with the Plymouth Whalers).

He saw a lot more ice-time with the Whalers and moved on to the NHL's radar. After not making Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, he came in at 79th on their mid-term rankings, which seemed a bit optimistic, before dropping him down to 111th in their final ranking.

Draft projection?

NHL Central Scouting's projection feels a bit generous, but he would be a decent pick in the latter rounds of the draft. If nothing else, the Hurricanes probably take a shot on him, making for a nice story of a kid who grew up around the team and played in the Jr. Hurricanes organization.

Pro upside?

Wesley won't be the most exciting prospect, but if his skating develops to the point where he can be competent at the NHL level, he could make an effective defensive defenseman that plays a quiet 15-20 minutes every night and specializes in blocking shots.

Where will he go next?

Wesley will most likely play the next two seasons with the Plymouth Whalers before the club that drafts him thinks about signing him, and would likely need a few years in the minors after that

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