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2016 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Hotchkiss LD Marshall Rifai

Marshall Rifai (6) and his Hotchkiss teammates
Marshall Rifai (6) and his Hotchkiss teammates

Marshall Rifai
Position: Defense
2015-16 Team: Hotchkiss School
League: NE Prep (Founders League)
Hometown: Beaconsfield, Que.
Shoots: Left
Height/Weight: 5'11"/175
DOB: 3/16/98
College Commitment: Harvard (2017)

There are few defensemen in the 2016 NHL Draft class with the elite skating ability that Marshall Rifai possesses. The junior left defenseman from Hotchkiss School, a prep school in Connecticut, is committed to play college hockey at Harvard.

What's so remarkable about Rifai's skating ability? He's fast -- going forwards and backwards, he can accelerate, and he has a good stride. His stride isn't long and graceful like a Charlie McAvoy, but he uses his edges and it's just fun to watch.

Rifai missed a good chunk of the month of December with a concussion, but came back and played well for Mike Traggio's Bearcats. The 2015-16 season was Rifai's second with the Founders League team.

In addition to his skating, Rifai can make a good breakout pass, likes to hit the homerun pass in transition and gets shots through and on net from the point. His footwork is good enough that he can sidestep forwards pressuring the points.

The one negative to Rifai's game is his inability to think the game as well as many of the defensemen rated above him by NHL Central Scouting. He could choose his spots more wisely and make simpler plays at times.

At the 2015 Beantown Summer Classic and 2016 Beantown Spring Classic, he was far and away the best defenseman in the Pro and Draft divisions, respectively.

Draft Projection: There are several organizations that are highly intrigued by his skating ability. He could very well be selected ahead of the fourth round, where most experts project him. Look for the Beaconsfield, Quebec native to go anywhere from the end of the third round to middle of the fifth round.