NHL

HOCKEY'S FUTURE PROSPECTS: Braydon Coburn

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NAME: Braydon Coburn TEAM/LEAGUE: Portland Winterhawks/WHL POSITION: Defense HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-foot-5/210 lbs. SHOOTS: Left BIRTHDATE: 2-27-85 HOMETOWN: Shaunavon, Sask. THE ANALYSIS: Braydon Coburn brings the rare combination of size and skill to the defensive position that NHL teams dream of in a player. For a big man, he skates well and is adept at making a solid first pass and moving the puck up ice. He's also solid defensively and uses his size to be effective clearing the net and battling down low in his own end of the rink. A very intelligent player overall — including in the classroom, where he boasts a straight A average — Coburn thinks the game well and can make adjustments quickly and anticipate plays. His mean streak is a bonus and he has no fear in dropping the gloves in defense of a teammate or himself and he'll punish guys along the wall with the body. He does lack the offensive creativity in the offensive zone to be effective on the powerplay or to produce points. This should not deter anyone from drafting him early since all his other aspects more than make up for it. "The kid is about as close to perfect on and off the ice as you will see," Hawks general manager Ken Hodge said early-on in the season. THE SKINNY: He doesn't have the offensive creativity to be a force two ways but he will control the defensive side of the game for a team with authority. Coburn has always played well when facing older players from the time he was a 15-year-old competing in the Western Hockey League playoffs against guys as much as five years older than him, so making the adjustment to the NHL seems well within his grasp. Expect him to be a solid No. 1 or 2 defenseman in the NHL depending on how he develops over the next five years. In Nashville at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Coburn will hear his name called among the Top 10 prospects.

Milan Michalek's career stats
Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
01-02 Portland WHL 68 4 33 37 100
02-03 Portland WHL 53 3 16 19 147

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