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01-13-2005, 10:04 AM
Dave Hahn
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I'll chip in a bit on the Blunden assessments as I've seen him play about 10 games this year and have been watching him for 2 years now with a little bit on Lawrence too...

Blind Gardien hit the nail on the head with Blunden's assessment, however I do disagree with one point and thats Blunden's physical play. He's had the injury bug, and not to question his character, but he didn't exactly try to play through it or give 100% every night through a lower back injury. Now, I wouldn't expect a kid to come out and bang and crash with a sore back, but you can still backcheck. His defense does need work and thats for sure. He has been great on the penalty kill, but lacks the positioning know-how in even strength situations.

This year has been a tumultuous one for Blunden. He has had his share of ups and downs (ie injuries, he's been called out once and has been playing with different linemates until recently) Blunden has been playing with another top prospect in Ryan O'Marra and the two have been looking for a LW to play with for the longest time. Blunden really hasn't been expected to carry the offense with Geoff Platt leading the league in goals, so his offensive numbers aren't noticed.

One thing I will hand to Blunden is he certainly has shown flashes of being a complete 2 way player. I have yet to see him play an entire game with all these qualities, but the ability is there. He can work the powerplay in front of the net, he can be physical along the boards, he will backcheck, he will dump the puck and go get it rather than playing the hands game, and he'll even drop the gloves when he gets frustrated. Blunden is also a solid person in the locker room and was a big reason why the team wasn't dismantled at the deadline. (Who would try anyway *cough*Owen Sound,Kitchener*cough* to beat London?) As far ar the draft, I'd say early 3rd.

Also heres a little on Chris Lawrence, on what should be a dangerous team in the Soo, Lawrence is the most frustrating 87 to watch in the league. The first time I saw Chris play was at the U-17 in St. John's where Team Ontario won a gold medal. At that time, I wished that Lawrence was drafted to a GTA team so that I could see him more. He dominated that tournament and showed me so much. So, when I recently saw him play with the Soo, I wondered if it was the same player. Sure looked like a huge frame, but that's all I noticed anymore. So what happened to the Lawrence I saw at the U-17?

Now I'm not going to say Chris has totally lost it because he has managed to put up 30 points, 2nd in the Soo to only Jeff Carter. But I will say that he seems to float a lot. For how big he is, one would think you'd notice a 6'4 center at some point during a game, but Lawrence managed to sneak under the radar. He has got all the raw talent, but he hasn't put it all together yet. He doesn't play physical at all, and when I saw him play he was playing with a hard nosed style winger Reg Thomas. On multiple occasions, and this sticks out to me, Lawrence can not cycle. He floats either on the near wall or in the far corner away from the action. I can understand waiting for a pass but when the Soo plays a dump and chase, I would expect to see him in there.

As to where Lawrence will be drafted, as I do see a team taking a chance on development, anywhere from the 6th back.

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