The Journey: Top Keeper Defender Prospects

Dave Hall

2020-12-05

Welcome back to The Journey. As promised from last week, I will be offering updated rankings for each position. If you missed it, I covered the goalies in last week's installment and will be moving towards defenders this week. 

I will be honest, the Prospect Defenders Rankings has not seen much movement, which comes as no surprise, as there has been little hockey played. With that in mind, I thought I would change it up, and dive right into Dobber's latest rankings – Top 120 Keeper League Defenders. This list is full of valuable defender picks, and many prospects have etched their way onto the list this month.  Each of the names mentioned have made the list of 120, yet, not all have fallen under specific ranking numbers. You can consider those prospects similar in value.

Adam Boqvist, RD, Blackhawks (Current Rank – 49)

Boqvist was given the highest ranking among prospect defenders in the 2020-21 keepers list, and rightfully so. He posted 13 points throughout his 41-game rookie campaign, with a good percentage of those coming in the final half of the season. Once he found his stride, he was inevitably upgraded to heavier minutes, while he also quarterbacked the club's top power-play unit. 

He is a shoo-in to be a minute cruncher next season, and will likely man the club's PP1, yet again. Despite the club's likelihood of struggles, Boqvist is a strong suitor if you are looking for a young, well-utilized player who provides a tremendous long-term outlook.

Evan Bouchard, RD, Oilers (Current Rank – 51)

Right behind Boqvist is Bouchard, who looks more than ready to take on a new role within the club’s six-man rotation, and in my opinion, likely among their top four. The former London Knight captain had a strong showing in the minors last year, where he sat 10th in points among defenders and of course, led rookie defenders with 139 shots on goal. Of course, his game does come with its flaws, and there is still much to work to be done as he has been known to take games off. However, given his offensive pedigree, his playing style should translate to the NHL well.

While the addition of Tyson Barrie certainly hinders his overall utilization, the injury to Oscar Klefbom should benefit Bouchard towards enjoying heavier minutes, with emphasis on him being placed in point p