2015-16 Team: Merrimack College
League: Hockey East
Hometown: Brantford, Ontario
Ethan Spaxman came to Merrimack from the USHL as a raw, mobile defenseman with good size. The second-year draft eligible had a bit of a learning curve, adjusting to college hockey, but improved throughout the season.
The Hill Academy product saw his biggest jump towards the end of the year, and was particularly solid down the stretch. "He's taking care of the puck better and competing harder," said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy after his team's clinching victory against UNH in the first round of the Hockey East Playoffs.
Scouts like Spaxman for his skating ability which is good for a player his size. His ability to get going and stay on opposing forwards is an asset. He has a long reach and a good stick.
Spaxman appeared to gain confidence during his rookie season in Hockey East. Despite his 34 penalty minutes, he wasn't known for bone-bruising hits, but he played with more physicality in the playoffs. Dennehy said that after a big hit against Hockey East leading scorer Andrew Poturalski, some of Spaxman's teammates joked that they didn't think he had that in him.
NHL Draft Profiles
His influence on the transition game is from making good, smart outlet passes. He's not going to wow observers with end-to-end rushes. Merrimack had a good crop of established, offensive-minded defensemen so Spaxman didn't see much power play time. His only two power play points came in a 10-0 blowout of Arizona State.
Spaxman, who had a -7 plus/minus rating, finished the season with two goals and two assists. Even though he had only four points, he thinks the game well offensively. He's someone who projects to have more of an impact on the score sheet as his career progresses.
Draft Projection: If a team takes a flier on Spaxman, it will likely be in the final round. His value towards the end of the draft is more as a player who could continue to develop in college. He's a long term project with the physical tools that intrigue some organizations.