Entering the season, the U.S. NTDP crop paled in comparison to last year’s cavalcade of stars, led by Jack Hughes, Trevor Zegras and Cole Caufield.
But Sanderson delivered heavyweight performances in games against international foes and saw his stock soar as the season went on. “Pretty impressive,” said one scout. “He’s one of the top defensemen in the draft. He’s got a good all-around game, and what stands out is he has a presence at both ends of the ice.”
The son of ex-NHLer Geoff Sanderson is a rare Montana product, though he played some crucial developmental hockey in Calgary, first with the bantam Flames and then at the sports-centric Edge School. “He’s a high-end kid who has really improved,” said another scout. “I love his ability to jumpstart the rush, his zone exits and zone entries, and the way he shields the puck in the neutral zone. His offensive instincts on the power play have gotten a lot better. He’s a phenomenal skater and a multi-directional threat. High-end kid, high-end ability. He’s someone who’s going to be on a top pairing in the NHL for sure.”
BEST CASE | Zach Werenski
This excerpt is from The Hockey News’ Draft Preview issue. Purchase a digital copy of the issue here.