Ryan Pilon: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile


Ryan Pilon: Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Profile

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The 2014-15 season was unfortunately cut short for the Colorado Avalanche. That means that here at Mile High Sticking, we have a long off-season ahead of us. While the off-season is filled with all different kinds of articles, regarding the playoffs (that we are unfortunately not a part of), Avalanche season reviews, and many other things, it also gives us time to focus on the Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft.

Today we are taking a look at defenseman Ryan Pilon. Pilon has spent the past three seasons in the Western Hockey League, playing for the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Brandon Wheat Kings.

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Name: Ryan Pilon

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’2”, 205 lbs

Team/League: Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL

Stats (from eliteprospects.com): 













Pro comparison: A mix between Drew Doughty and Marc-Édouard Vlasic?

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Top-four defenseman

Draft Range: Top-60

Scouting report

Ryan Pilon is a “strong two-way defenceman with the work ethic, determination, and skill to get the job done in all situations”, according to EliteProspects scout Curtis Joe. With the Wheat Kings, Pilon spent most of the season playing alongside top-prospect Ivan Provorov. Although Provorov is widely regarded the better player and prospect, it is safe to assume that both players benefited from playing with each other.

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The Canadian defenseman was not drafted into perfect conditions for his development and therefore demanded a trade in his second season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Then, with the Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL regular season champions in 2015, he really blossomed. For a long time, Pilon was considered a safe first round pick and one of the best defensemen in the 2015 draft.

As opposed to many other young defensemen, Pilon is very calm with the puck. He uses his puck-skills, skating and vision to excel as a playmaking D-man, although his primary focus lays on defense. NHL Central Scouting’s John Williams sees one thing standing out when watching Ryan Pilon. “The thing that stands out for me is how well he manages the puck. He’s a very smart player who makes good puck decisions and has real good vision.”

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  • Future Considerations scout Dan Stewart has a slightly different opinion. He states that Pilon “does make a solid pass but is not as offensively gifted as his stats line early in the season would suggest. Despite limited viewings, I would say that Ryan Pilon has the skill and hockey-IQ to play a very good offensive game, but likes a more laid-back defensive style. He could turn out as either a pure stay-at-home defenseman or a two-way defenseman in the NHL.

    On defense, Pilon knows how to use his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame to shut down opponents, without getting too physical. He has good positioning and knows how to use his stick, as well as his body to get the puck away from his opponents. Despite his good defensive play, Pilon could develop a slightly meaner game. Just like on offense, he likes to play the laid-back style, which can sometimes hurt his game.

    Throughout his career, Pilon has had some consistency issues every once in a while. Furthermore, it remains to be seen how well he fares without fellow draft prospect Ivan Provorov. Those are the main reasons why he dropped out of the first round in draft rankings of all popular scouting services. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked as the #24 North American skater.

    Fit with the Avalanche

    Avalanche coach Patrick Roy has stated that he does not like picking defensemen too high, as they need too long to develop. Whether tenth overall counts as “too high”, who knows. Besides that, Aaron Ekblad and Seth Jones are perfect examples for high draft picks that can have an immediate impact. But that isn’t even the issue here.

    If Joe Sakic and Roy decide to select a forward in the first round, Ryan Pilon may be the perfect option if he is still available at 40 overall. He is tall, heavy and knows how to use his body as well as his stick. I see Pilon as a little bit of a high-risk, high-reward pick, as we don’t really know what kind of player he will become and how he can translate his game into pro-hockey.

    Nevertheless, he would be a great pick. With Chris Bigras, Mason Geertsen, Duncan Siemens, Will Butcher, Kyle Wood and Ryan Pilon, the Avalanche would have a great foundation for the future of their defense.

    Do you think the Avs should have an eye on Ryan Pilon?

    More Draft Coverage:

    Thomas Chabot

    Jansen Harkins

    Timo Meier

    Mikko Rantanen

    Fabio Pfohl

    Zach Werenski

    Should Colorado Trade Up?

    3 Possible Draft-Day Scenarios

    Next: Draft Profile: Lawson Crouse