2014-15 Team: Boston University (Hockey East)
Hometown: Burlington, Mass.
Date of Birth: 7/8/95
Final Central Scouting Ranking: 136
Just over a year ago very few people outside his hometown and prep school knew about the hockey ability of Brien Diffley. The relatively unknown prospect caught the eye of the BU assistant coach Steve Greeley, who liked his ability to skate and help in transition.
Diffley, a former state champion at Burlington High School before transferring to BB&N, is in his final season of draft eligibility. He finished his rookie campaign with a goal and 10 assists while going +8.
Diffley's strengths center around his skating prowess and skill with the puck on his stick. When watching Diffley start the puck up ice in transition, one will notice his head is always up. He has good vision. He makes nice lead passes, but could stand to make smarter decisions and take more care with the puck on a more consistent basis. He's a good skater with a fluid stride.
Despite playing less minutes than some of BU's other defensemen, Diffley experienced plenty of pressure situations as the Terriers marched to within a few minutes of a national championship. He was part of a blue line that included four freshmen, a sophomore and a junior who helped BU win a regular season and tournament title in Hockey East.
It would be unfair to say Diffley was a defensive liability because he was not, but he made his share of rookie mistakes in his own zone. He's a strong enough skater to get himself out of trouble, but he was caught out of position more so than some of BU's other blue liners. Diffley does have a good stick, skates well going backwards and rides opponents to the wall.
Diffley will be an interesting case as to where he falls in the pecking order this weekend. An argument could be made that he's actually proven himself against older and better competition than many of the other junior and prep defensemen in the draft. On the flip side, it could be debated that as a '95 who has already had the chance to play at a better level than juniors, he has less upside than some of the younger draft eligible prospects.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.