With their 4th round pick, the 97th in this year's draft, the Devils have selected Colton White, a defenseman out of Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL. This was the Devils' second consecutive pick from the Soo Greyhounds after taking White's teammate, forward Blake Speers, with the 67th overall pick. Brian did a profile on Colton White back in May, and the conclusion was that while he was a bit more defensively inclined, he does have some of the tools to have a decent offensive game. Overall, he has some potential to become a good two-way defenseman but like any later-round pick, it will take some development to get there.
White seems like an okay choice, though personally there were some other players I'd have preferred. He seems like a solid player and he did show a good amount of improvement from his rookie year to his second season in the OHL If he can continue to build on his offensive game to make him more of a two-way threat, he could turn out to be a bit of a diamond in the rough. We will see how he progresses in the coming seasons for Sault Ste. Marie.
Update: John here. As the draft has died down (or been completed by now), here's the some additional information on who Colton White exactly is. Again, Brian did profile him but it's a good place as any to highlight some other opinions.
First, here's his numbers at Elite Prospects. He's got decent size and as he's a defenseman, his numbers don't jump off the page but they're not bad either:
Tyler Parchem at EP also had this to say about White in White's profile:
Also wore #8 for London Jr. Knights Gold Min Mdgt in 2011-12. White is a smart defenseman who skates well and makes good passes. He was buried on a deep Soo team this season so his numbers are lower then they could have been on a weaker team. He is not overly physical on the backend but has a good stick and is often in the right position to break up the play. Could potentially break out next season and could be a smart pick in the later rounds. (Tyler Parchem, EP 2015)
Brian did cite Brock Otten's thoughts on White prior to his final rankings. Since then, Otten ranked Colton White 21st among OHL prospects in his final list. Here's what he wrote about him:
Absolutely massive potential. White is just scratching the surface of what he's capable of in the OHL. He's a fantastic skater who only needs a few strides to get to full speed when exiting his own zone. At times this year, he showed an ability to gain entry into the offensive end with ease, but simply needs to gain the confidence to do this with regularity. I think he also profiles as a power play quarterback based on his ability to keep pucks in at the blue line and by how well he sees the ice on the point. Improving his shot will be critical though. Defensively, he uses his mobility to stay ahead of forwards off the rush and is not afraid of taking the body to take forwards out of the play. Adding strength is a priority to make him more efficient in the corners, but he shows great determination in his own end. Really all he needs is greater ice time. Once he starts getting consistent power play time and off the 3rd pairing, he could breakout in a big way. Could be part of the top pairing in SSM next year with Gustav Bouramman (a guy he showed great chemistry with this year).
Between both, it appears the Devils picked up a good skating defenseman who has plenty of room to grow. He's apparently good at moving the puck, though his shot needs work and he'll need more experience to grow. The good news is that he could get that at his junior team next season. Should he blossom like Otten and Parchem think, then the Devils would have another fine defenseman prospect in the system. I hope they're right, especially now that he's in New Jersey's system.
While the big need is at forward, they can't completely ignore the blueliners as they may risk into turning that into a need years down the line. In the fourth round, this is a good selection in my opinion.
So the Devils have selected their first defenseman of the 2015 draft with Colton White. What do you think of this selection? Sound off with your thoughts on the Devils' fourth round pick in the comments below.