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2015 NHL Draft Profile: Will Borgen

Matt Christians

The Player

Name: Will Borgen

Position: Defenseman

2014-2015 Team; Moorhead High School(MN HS)/Omaha Lanchers(USHL)

2014-2015 stats: (MN HS)24 games 3 goals 16 assists 19 points, (USHL) 18 games 1 goal 5 assists 6 points

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 114th among North American skaters

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Borgen is an excellent skater for a player listed at 6'2" 190 lbs. In addition to playing hockey, he was also a soccer player in high school and that athleticism shows in his ability to move around the ice. He's a strong competitor and willing to play a tough, physical style on the defensive end. He's not naturally gifted as an offensive defenseman, but moves the puck around the ice effectively.

The biggest downside is that Borgen remains relatively unproven at a high level of hockey. He did a short stint in the USHL after his high school hockey season ended, but that's a very small sample size. So there is still some question as to how well he will adjust when he starts consistently playing bigger, stronger competition.

Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?

Borgen went from not even being listed on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list to 114th on their final ranking, and receiving honourable mention on Bob McKenzie's top 75 NHL Draft rankings. So it has been a steady uphill climb for Borgen all season.

The catalyst was Borgen making a big jump in his development between his junior and senior season of high school. He got a little bigger, a little stronger and became a bit more assertive on the offensive end of the ice, making him a more complete player. He had the opportunity to play all season with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, but opted to return home to Moorhead High School for his senior season. After finishing his high school season, he went to Omaha and played the final 21 games of their season, where he put together some impressive showings that really bumped him up the boards of a lot of NHL teams.

Where is he projected to go in the Draft?

Conventional wisdom tends to move a bit slower than the opinions of NHL team. Thus, players that continually drop in the rankings over the course of the year tend to go way lower than expected on draft day, while players like Borgen that rise steadily all year tend to go higher than expected. With that said, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Borgen selected in the third round of the Draft. It's become increasingly rare for teams to gamble on Minnesota high school players that early, but Borgen's solid post-HS season performance in the USHL likely raised his stock a couple rounds.

How does he project as a pro?

Borgen plays a strong all-around game, but as he progresses up the ladder in the hockey world, he'll likely become more of a defensive defenseman than an offensive one. His potential is as a second or third pairing defenseman that can provide a physical presence while still having the skating and puck-moving ability to not be a liability in those key areas.

Where will he go next?

At one point, it was expected that Borgen would play at least one full season in the USHL before heading to college. But with Borgen's NHL stock rising so much and decreasing the likelihood of him being a four-year college hockey player, it looks like St. Cloud State will opt to bring Borgen in to play for them next season. The Huskies were thin on defense last year and have some big holes to fill so Borgen will likely have ample opportunity to earn a lot of ice time and play multiple roles for the Huskies. Borgen will likely need two to three seasons at St. Cloud State before he's ready to sign a pro contract.