NHL

HOCKEY'S FUTURE PROSPECTS: Dion Phaneuf

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NAME: Dion Phaneuf TEAM/LEAGUE: Red Deer Rebels/WHL POSITION: Defense HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-foot-2/205 lbs. SHOOTS: Left BIRTHDATE: 4-10-85 HOMETOWN: Ithaca, N.Y. THE ANALYSIS: No defenseman's stock has risen more since the start of the season than that of Dion Phaneuf. Since the beginning of the year, he has jumped from between the 25th to 30th position to being mentioned among the top eight. The fact he plays such a complete game at both ends of the ice combined with his leadership abilities make him a sought-after player. Offensively he can contribute on the powerplay making puck movement decisions and unloading a low accurate slap shot that is easily tipped. He anticipates the moves of both forwards and defensemen and knows when to shoot or pass. Phaneuf stickhandles well and can get the transition game kick started with a crisp accurate pass. Away from the puck, he is just as solid whether breaking to position or limiting the options of the puck carrier. Simply put, he shuts people down. He is effective in the corners and in front of the net by either shielding the puck or tying up bodies or sticks with equal efficiency. Phaneuf has good sense of timing when plugging the gaps or cutting down angles and has the leg strength to push people of the puck. An absolutely crushing body checker, he is beginning to pick his spots better so to not put himself out of position. He has very few flaws in his skating and his overall quickness, foot speed and agility is exceptional for a defenseman. By adding a little more strength he will improve his balance to handle the forwards at the next level. THE SKINNY: Phaneuf is the complete package offensively and defensively when it comes to defensemen. Gaining experience and fine-tuning his skills are his next priorities before he can jump to the next level. Expect him to be drafted somewhere in the top nine overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Milan Michalek's career stats
Year Team League GP G A PTS PIM
01-02 Red Deer WHL 67 5 12 17 170
02-03 Red Deer WHL 71 16 14 30 185

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