Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft: 5 Sleeper Picks

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D David Quenneville – Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL

Of course, Europe is not the only place that has sleeper picks to offer. But, European and North American draft sleepers are not the same breed. European junior players are harder to judge because they play a different style and play against weaker competition, which is why (every once in a while) a talented player slips through to the later rounds. North American sleepers, on the other hand, are often that because they are extremely talented but way too short — like David Quenneville.

The younger brother of two NHL prospects, John (New Jersey Devils) and Peter (Columbus Blue Jackets), David Quenneville is also the shortest of the bunch. At 5-foot-8, he is far from NHL size, even if we are talking forwards. For a defenseman, however, 5-foot-8 is… man… it’s tough.

Even though David is no less talented than his brother John, who was drafted in the first round in 2014. From TheDraftAnalyst.com:

"It pains us to place such a fun player to watch as low as the middle of the fourth round. But the fact remains that Quenneville is a 5’9 defensemen, and we all know how unteachable size can be. Taking the elephant outside the room for a lengthy jog reveals how wonderful a talent this Edmontonian is — a feisty pepper pot who loves to hammer the puck and make highlight-reel plays taking the disc to the cage. Quenneville is unpredictable and hard to wargame, but what surprised us is how strong he is from the waist up. He loves to throw the body and lay out bigger players with open ice hits, regardless of whether they see it coming or not. The Devils already have his older brother John in the pipeline, so why not make it a family affair with one of the draft’s better offensive defensemen?"

NHL CSS actually have Quenneville ranked 144th among North American skaters, but the fourth round seems possible for the small D-man. Quenneville is an extremely smart and exciting player, and if it weren’t for his size, he would be in the running for a late first-round selection. In 64 games this season, he had 14 goals and 55 points for the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Next: C Matthew Phillips