It’s time for another draft profile, and Brock Beukeboom has the honour of being the first defenseman featured in our MLHS draft preview series. Ironically enough, Beukeboom is a physical blueliner with a “booming” point shot from Uxbridge, Ontario. Brock plays for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL and is the son of former Edmonton Oiler and 3-time Stanley Cup winning defenseman Jeff Beukeboom. Great bloodlines, offensive potential and the complete physical package should certainly pique the interest of Leafs’ scouts come draft day.
Strengths: The younger Beukeboom shares a lot of similarities with his father, both on and off the ice. He is a physically imposing defenseman who makes opposing defenders pay the price in front of the net and along the boards. He is stand-up kid with great character and leadership ability. Brock plays with a kind of rugged swagger that would make him a fan favourite in any NHL city, though the mean streak doesn’t quite measure up to Dad’s. What he does offer in addition to those defensive qualities is above average skating ability, flashes of strong offensive instincts, and perhaps one of the most powerful point shots in junior hockey. The kid took home the award for the CHL’s hardest shot at the CHL All-Stars game in January.
Weaknesses: The knock on Beukeboom is his lack of high end hockey sense and that he’s prone to the occasional mental errors, often resulting in turnovers or blown defensive coverage. You like to see a kid experimenting out there on the ice and taking the odd risk with the puck, but there is evidence that there is still quite a bit of development time in Brock’s immediate future. The defensive positioning is average at this point, and like most junior defensemen, he needs to continue to exert himself physically on a regular basis.
Long Term Upside: Overall, you could say that Brock possesses a lot of the qualities prized by the Maple Leafs’ scouting staff: the size, the physical edge, and the potential to develop into a two-way player. These same qualities were quite clear when Toronto nabbed Jesse Blacker in the late 2nd round of last year’s draft, and this would provide another opportunity to shore up the organization’s defensive prospect depth. As for an NHL comparison, look no further than the Leafs’ own Francois Beauchemin: from the booming point shot right down to the occasional mental lapses. The package of skills is still raw, but there’s significant upside here and he could develop into a valuable top four NHL defenseman.
Draft Day: Brock finished out the year as 41st on Central Scouting’s rankings of North American Skaters, and 13th best player from the OHL ranks. He was one of the biggest risers from the Midterm rankings, and currently projects to go somewhere in the #40-60 pick range. Teams tend to fall in love with NHL bloodlines and international experience (Canada U-18 team), so somebody may decide to grab Brock at the higher end of that range. If not, I imagine Toronto would be quite happy to have him fall into their laps at pick #62.