Defenseman Slater Koekkoek (pronounced Kuh-KOOK) was the seventh overall selection of the Peterborough Petes of the OHL in last spring's Priority Selection and is one of those big, two-way defenders that is so important in today's NHL.
Sports Illustrated has a nice article in the newest issue (the one with Boise State on the cover) covering the NHL preview which features in-depth profiles on Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers and Erik Johnson (wow- three of those guys all came from that hellacious defense draft class of '08). The piece has four Hall of Fame defensemen breaking down the youngsters' games, with Boston legend Ray Bourque doing the honors for Myers. But, the reason I bring the article up is that because this is the new wave of the NHL: either you have one of these kinds of players on your roster or you don't. And those who don't will be handicapped going up against the teams who do.
The bottom line: finding the premo, skilled two-way defensemen with size and power is going to be the priority of just about every NHL team these days. In other words, if you aren't holding a draft pick that will land you one, don't expect to be able to trade up with a team who does without paying a true king's ransom. These guys are gold.
Which brings me back to Koekkoek. He's not huge-- only 6-2-- and at about 185 pounds has a lot of muscle-building ahead of him. But when you possess the skating (check out his burst in the video-- nice), footwork, puck skills and shot this kid apparently does, you're going to be in demand. Nasty temperament and edge to him, too-- he has 9 penalty minutes in just two games (one assist).
At 16, we're all going to have to wait for this one, but he has the look of someone who will be well worth it. TVCogeco has a very nice profile on him. It was posted on the OHL website. They do great work on the Petes, and some of the vids I used on Ryan Spooner are theirs as well (and you know, while I'm on the subject, 'Spoons' will probably enjoy having Koekkoek as a teammate.)
Video courtesy of TVCogecoOntario