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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Max Everson: A Guy You Should Know

Edina (Minnesota) High School defenseman Max Everson has not gotten a mention on this blog space prior to now, and that is a major oversight that needed correcting.

The book on Everson is that he's got some potential as a two-way defenseman, although his size is nothing to write home about (6-0, 184). Like Delbarton captain Matt Killian, he saw some time with the U.S. NTDP in the fall as a temporary replacement, which no doubt boosted his confidence when he returned to the high school ranks in Minnesota. Everson is a very good skater with excellent change of direction and has a nice touch on the puck with the ability to make the accurate breakout pass and get the puck up the ice quickly. He's got a heavy shot despite the lack of big-time size and upper body powerLike most players on the blue line who possess average size, he's lacking in functional strength and hasn't had to use it much at this level.

In order to get some solid ink on him in terms of what he's done recently, we went to a reliable and favorite source, Max Giese, who is the Director of Player Personnel for the USHL's Chicago Steel and is also Red Line Report's NCAA, USHL and H.S. scout in the Midwest. Max just recently returned from a scouting trip in Minnesota and had this to share about Everson:

"At first I thought he had a great game. When he wanted to, he could take over the game with his ability to transition to offense. I like his feet; he's a real good skater, but I noticed that he didn't use the feet offensively in terms of leading the rush and using his speed to exploit the defense. Another interesting aspect of his skating is that he's the same skater he was two years ago, so you'd like to have seen some improvement from him. You can see he's gotten stronger, but not necessarily faster. Instead of a powerful, wide-based stride, he has kind of a backwards kick to his movement, which I think is a detriment. If he can fix that, I think he could be one of the better skating defensemen out there.

He's got a real hard shot and can quarterback the power play. He moves pretty well on the point. But the thing with Everson that I've noticed is that he's one of those guys who won't make the play if it's not there. What I mean by that is that he's not a dynamic guy who you watch and then say to yourself, 'How did he find that lane?' He tends to take what he's given which isn't a bad thing, but you wonder about his creativity and whether he's going to be able to bring the offense at the next level.

He may end up being a steady, stay-at-home shutdown guy with his feet, stick and defensive sense, but I don't know if that's a great thing. Is he going to be a 'tweener? It's tough to be a shutdown guy in the NHL when you're only about 6-feet."

Everson is a Harvard University recruit, which also isn't necessarily the best developing ground for young prospects, though I'm sure head coach Ted Donato and Crimson backers would vociferously object to that characterization of the ECAC and program. That said, I've heard it from NHL scouts and through independent channels. Montreal '09 first-rounder Louis Leblanc left Harvard for the QMJHL for a reason, so as much as you hate to say it, Everson's choice of schools could also be a factor in where he ends up.

So, Everson is definitely a player to watch for the 2011 NHL Draft, but where he goes could be directly linked to whether NHL clubs share Giese's concerns about the size and offensive instincts and whether he'll be a legitimate PMD at the highest level or more of a defensive player.

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