Name: Ryan Collins
Weight: 202 lbs.
2013-14 Team: U.S. National U18 Team/USNTDP Juniors
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Craig Button: #50
NHL Central Scouting: #57
Ryan Collins is as pure a defensive defenseman as you will see in the 2014 draft class. His size is an obvious standout quality; he towers over opposition at 6’5” and isn’t afraid to use that to his advantage. He is a good hitter who likes to box his opponents outside on the rush, blocks shots, clears his goalie’s crease, and possesses the pokechecking ability to make take advantage of his considerable reach.
Collins’ weaknesses are typical of shutdown defenseman. He does not have the technical skills to do much with the puck or the speed to move it up ice, and does not shoot with the power one might expect of such a strong player. Another concern is Collins’ ability to pivot inside, he can struggle with forwards who cut in rather than skating wide and giving him an opening to box them into the boards.
Though it results in few points, Collins is good at starting the transition from defense to offense- his talent for intercepting passes and knocking the puck away from forwards affords him plenty of chances to take possession and start a breakout. Work on his passing ability could help him take advantage of that even more.
Collins is expected to be drafted in the 3rd round, though don’t be surprised if he sneaks up into the 50-60 range. He will join the University of Minnesota in 2014-15, a good move for the player’s development as he will have ample time in the NCAA to grow into his body and build his skill set before transitioning to pro.
“He has good range and moves well for his size, using his reach very well. Collins can be physical, but may not be classified as a snarly defender. Keeping things simple makes him successful in his own zone… With just five points this season, there’s not going to be a lot of offense coming from Collins.” –Chris Peters, United States of Hockey
“He’s still quite lanky for his height, but he can be even more imposing on the blueline when he gains a few pounds… He sticks to forwards like glue and makes it difficult for them to beat him cleanly. Collins’ focus is to drive forwards to the outside and not clog up the middle. He’s great at shot blocking and clearing players from in front of the net.” –Shawn Reznik, The Hockey Writers
“Long tall defenseman who is still gaining strength and growing into his body. His development will take time but he already understands the game and has an active stick, and uses it to disrupt the passing lanes and get to loose pucks in the crease area… As he gains strength and experience, he will add short area skating quickness and become better with his decisions in his own zone.” –Bill Placzek, Draft Site