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2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Luc Snuggerud

Matt Christians

The Player

Luc Snuggerud

Defense

Eden Prairie(MN) High School

2013-2014 stats: 25 games 8 goals 30 assists 38 points 19 PIMs

Height: 6'0.25" Weight: 180 lbs.

Final Central Scouting Ranking: 42nd among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Snuggerud's best asset is his strong skating stride. He's excellent at lugging the puck up the ice and gaining zone entry. His straight-line speed is better than his lateral movement, but his footwork is good enough to make him an effective one-on-one defender. He's also an stickhandler for a defenseman and has a solid, accurate shot that makes him an offensive threat from the blue line.

Snuggerud will need to develop a little more strength to make him more effective on his own end of the ice. He also sometimes trusts his excellent stuckhandling a little too much by trying to stickhandle around players as the last defenseman back, something he won't be able to do against better competition.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Snuggerud wasn't exactly an unknown prior to this season. His uncle Dave played 265 games in the NHL, and he secured a commitment to Nebraska-Omaha as an 11th grader, so he wasn't exactly an unknown. But coming up through the youth ranks, as a late '95-birthdate, he was a bit overshadowed by some of his more developed peers. But this past season, Snuggerud really established himself as the best defenseman in the Minnesota high school ranks.

He logged heavy, heavy minutes for Eden Prairie this season, and helped lead the school back to the state tournament out of one of the state's toughest sections. While Snuggerud played in a weaker league than some of his peers that moved on to the NTDP and USHL, Snuggerud did make a few brief, but strong appearances in the USHL, which showed he would have no trouble translating his skills to a higher level.

Draft projection?

Central Scouting has him slotted around the late second to early third round. It would be a little surprising to see a team jump up and take him in the second round, just because he's still relatively unproven, but it's also hard to imagine him falling very far. Third round seems most likely, and if he slips, he likely won't have to wait past the fourth round to hear his name called.

Pro upside?

Snuggerud's upside is as a solid, puck-moving defenseman at the NHL level, and with emphasis on zone entry becoming one of the more popular trends in the game, Snuggerud's skating ability with the puck is an attractive feature. He doesn't quite have first pairing potential, but could be an effective and valuable part of a very good defensive group.

Where will he go next?

Snuggerud will make the increasingly rare jump from Minnesota high school hockey straight to the NCAA next season when he joins the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Much will depend on how quickly Snuggerud can adjust to the NCAA-level of play, but he's still got a ways to go before he is ready for the pro ranks. He'll play a minimum of two years with the Mavericks, and could play as many as all four before signing with the team that drafts him.