Connor Hall was a late-rising prospect throughout this past season, due in part to the large amount of time he missed in the first half of the season due to suspension and injury. But he was fantastic in the second half of the season, earning an invite to play for Canada at the U18 Championships. He's a tough, rugged defender that should be selected in this year's Draft.
Player: Connor Hall
Team: Kitchener Rangers(OHL)
Height: 6'2" Weight: 192 lbs.
Stats: 39 games, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points, +7
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 100th among North American skaters
What I Like:
Hall is a strong kid and likes to use his size and strength to play a nasty, physical game. He punishes forwards, especially along the boards. He makes life difficult for the opposition and can quiet the opposition by making them afraid to go into tough areas of the ice. Sometimes he can cross the line--he served an 11-game suspension for a check to the head to start the season. He's willing to stand up for teammates and drop his gloves if necessary though.
-Strong One-on-One Defender
Hall excels as a shutdown defender that is especially strong one-on-one. He maintains good gaps, and has a strong, active stick. He's got an excellent poke check and is good at getting his stick into passing lanes to disrupt plays.
What I Don't Like:
Hall moves decently for a player his size, but overall, his skating isn't a big strength. His lateral movement and footwork is especially questionable, and may cause him to struggle against faster, more skilled competition.
-Little offensive upside
Hall is and projects to be a defense-first defenseman. He's unlikely to cover up any mistakes he makes on the defensive end with strong plays on the offensive end.
Being a defensive defenseman certainly limits Hall's potential upside and as a result, probably pushes him into the mid-to-late rounds of the Draft. Both Central Scouting and myself see Hall being selected somewhere in the late-fourth to early-fifth round stage. There's always a chance a team looking to fill that specific role falls in love with him and takes him higher, but fourth or fifth round is probably the safest bet.
If Hall succeeds at the NHL level, it's likely as a second or third pairing defenseman that plays a shutdown role and kills penalties. He won't ever be an exciting or flashy player, but could be good enough to hold the opposition quiet and get his team to the next shift.