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Get to Know Noah Juulsen:
Date of Birth: 2nd April, 1997
Place of Birth: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 180lbs
Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
It may come as some surprise to read the height and weight stats above, then learn that Juulsen is considered one of the 2015 NHL Draft’s foremost defensive prospects. However, it is no surprise to those who have seen him skate and pass. The more one watches Juulsen on the ice, the more aspects of his game shine as a level above most of his WHL peers.
Points-wise, the only WHL defensemen who scored more than Juulsen’s 52 points are Ivan Provorov and Ryan Pilon, widely regarded as top first-round prospects. Juulsen played a lot of minutes for Everett, eating up shift after shift of ice time tirelessly.
Read below for more information on this exceptionally mobile two-way defender and why it’s more than just his coveted right-handed shot that should garner NHL interest.
What Scouts See:
Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects:
A solid two-way defender, Noah Juulsen is able to force plays and always find ways to support his teammates. Juulsen is a smooth, yet not dynamic skater, and is mobile when he needs to be. Plays with a chip on his shoulder, and isn’t afraid to take the hit to make the play. Sees the ice well and has the individual skills to carry out the possibilities he sees. Very poised with the puck; calm and controls the play with authority. Has good hands.
Without the puck and in high-pressure situations, Juulsen tends to overthink things and can try to do a little too much; that will go away with time and maturity. All-in-all, an impactful presence on the ice that strives to be difficult to play against; given how hard he works and how smart he is with the puck, he can be a very difficult player to read with and without the puck.
Cody Nickolet, Scout for Future Considerations Hockey:
A workhorse, minute munching, puck-rushing type of rearguard. He is a decent straight line skater who has a smooth stride. Although his speed in forward and reverse isn’t elite, he loves to rush the puck and does so effectively. His quick feet serve well for lateral movement and his mobility. His edge work is very good and he is strong on his skates. Very smart and decisive offensive player who sees the ice well, picking his spots to make creative plays.
He isn’t huge, but he is very tough and aggressive. Hits to make a difference. You can tell he will have the potential to be an absolutely devastating hitter once he adds another few pounds to his frame… He is an efficient penalty killer and shows a willingness to get in shooting lanes and take away options. His most outstanding feature, though, is his ability to handle the puck with great hand-speed and decent strength with it. He makes consistently good outlet feeds and shows impressive vision.
Director of NHL Central Scouting, Dan Marr:
Juulsen has taken his game to another level and has been consistent throughout the season. We’re very comfortable saying that he is a legitimate first round contender.
Ben Kerr, Last Word On Sports:
Noah Juulsen is a strong skater, with a smooth and fluid stride. While he’s not an absolute speedster, he does have good speed and acceleration. Its in his edgework and agility though that he really shines. Juulsen pivots quickly and this allows him to cover large areas of the ice. He is able to use his agility to walk the line on the powerplay and open up shooting and passing lanes. The ability to quickly change directions, makes him tough to beat one-on-one and helps him to quickly explode into huge hits if a forwards tries to beat him to the outside.
What BSN Avalanche Sees:
The scouting reports about Juulsen’s skating are spot-on. He’s agile, pivots sharply, and is difficult to beat in a footrace due to his powerful first few strides. He isn’t Matt Duchene, but he can turn on the jets long enough to hunt a puckhandler down. His superior skating is an asset defensively, but it’s just as valuable when he’s on the attack. He positions himself well to both pass and shoot.
Juulsen is an assist machine, and once you see him cycle the puck it’s easy to see why. A ridiculous number of his passes seem to generate shots on goal. They may not always result in points, but this is evidence of an exceptional hockey mind. This passing ability of his reminds me of nobody so much as the Detroit Red Wings’ Marek Zidlicky. He always seems to sneak his name onto the scoresheet with secondary assists.
Juulsen doesn’t go out of his way to punish players, but for someone his size, he plays an impressively aggressive game. He’s pesky, always up in the face of the puck carrier to interrupt shooting and passing lanes. This generates turnovers, and once Juulsen has the puck, he can orchestrate devastating outlet passes.
Juulsen has the toolbox to become a top-four NHL talent if he can successfully carry his game to that level. His ceiling strikes me as that of an Alex Pietrangelo type player: not the greatest at any one thing, but a solid all-rounder that can perform on both ends of the ice, generate points, and consistently be a pain for the opposition. He may not ever reach Pietrangelo’s skill level, but he could fill a similar role.
Expected Draft Position:
Though he has some room to bulk out, Juulsen plays like a guy who’s already on the verge of cracking the AHL level. His few weaknesses and strong overall game make him an attractive option as a late first or early second-rounder. His rankings cover a wide range, as low as 20 and as high as 77. Given how consistently well he played for the entirety of his season, I find it unlikely that he’d drop past 50th or so.
BSN Avalanche predicts Juulsen will go between 25 and 35.
Where Noah Juulsen Fits into the Colorado Avalanche Organization:
The Avs are stronger down the right side than the left on their current NHL roster, but that’s not saying much. Juulsen, if developed properly, could be an improvement over a player like Nate Guenin sooner than you might think.
Juulsen’s ceiling is certainly higher than current Avalanche prospects Kyle Wood and Anton Lindholm. He’s much younger than Max Noreau and Mat Clark. Depending on whether the Avalanche make any blockbuster free agent signings for a right-handed defender, a player like Juulsen could see himself moving steadily through the ranks.
Were he drafted by the Avalanche and able to adapt fully to the NHL, Juulsen would be an incredible third-pair guy below Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, then could transition into a top-four role as time progressed. If Juulsen is still somehow available when the Avs pick 40th, he’s a player that could ensure the improvement of the Avalanche’s defense in the future.
Other Defensemen To Watch: