It's no secret that coming into the 2017 NHL Draft that the New Jersey Devils could use some more quality defensemen in the prospect pool. David Farrance could be an interesting selection as the 17 year old has rose up some draft boards as of late. The mobile, two-way defender is out of the USNTDP and is committed to Boston University. Let's take a closer look at the NY product.
Who is David Farrance?
According to USA Hockey, David Farrance was born on 6/23/1999 and is from Victor, NY. The left handed defenseman is listed at 5'11, 187 lbs. and is committed to Boston University for his college hockey, beginning next fall. Looking over his Elite Prospects page, we can see that he's progressed from youth and high school hockey in upstate New York to the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP) in Plymouth, Michigan. Let's check out his basic stats below:
Farrance split the 2013-14 season between his local high school, Victor High, and the Syracuse Jr. Stars 16U team in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). He led Victor High in goals (31) and points (42) in just 17 games as a freshman defenseman. He also led his Syacuse Jr. Stars 16U team in goals (20) and tied for the lead in points (32) in 28 games. That performance would lead the USPHL in defensemen scoring and earn him "USPHL 16U Defenseman of the Year" honors. The 2014-15 season would yield similar success in a similar situation. He once again led Victor High in goals (24) and points (39) in just 14 games, earning "NYSPHSAA Division 2 First All-Star Team" and "NYSPHSAA Division 2 Player of the Year" honors. For the second consecutive year, he led his Syracuse Jr. Stars 16U team in goals (27) and points (52) in 29 games. He once again led the USPHL in defensemen scoring and earned "USPHL 16U Defenseman of the Year" and "USPHL 16U Most Valuable Player" honors.
The 2015-16 season saw him join the USNTDP, playing for their junior team in the USHL and U17 team. He would call current Devils prospect Joey Anderson a teammate on the USHL team. He put up a respectable 13 points in 31 games for the USHL team which was tied for 2nd among defensemen on the team. With 23 points in 52 games for the U17 squad, he was 2nd among defensemen in scoring, one point behind Quinton Hughes in 5 less games. Farrance was also on the USA U17 team for the U17 WHC, adding a goal and 3 assists in 5 games. In 2016-17, he found a more increased role and production the USHL team with 17 points in 25 games, was good for 2nd among the defensemen on the team. His 37 points in 64 games for the U18 team was also 2nd among defensemen on that team. He also helped Team USA capture U18 WJC Gold with 2 goals and an assist in 7 games. He'll begin in college hockey career with Boston University in the fall.
Where is David Farrance Ranked?
Below are the latest rankings that are publicly available from a handful of great sources - NHL Central Scouting (Final), The Draft Analyst (May), Future Considerations (Spring), and Craig Button (March):
|NHL CSS||Draft Analyst||Future Considerations||Craig Button|
Farrance saw his stock rise on the Central Scouting Draft Board, going from a midterm ranking of 52 to a final ranking of 46 among North American skaters. The Draft Analyst ranked Farrance 40th overall in February and held that ranking through May. Farrance was ranked 79th in Future Consideration's Fall ranking, went to 75th in the Winter ranking, and is currently 55th in their Spring ranking. It's nice to see his stock rise on another board. Craig Button ranked Farrance 56th overall in his March edition of Craig's List. It seems that Farrance is likely to be a 2nd to 3rd round prospect based on these rankings.
What Others Say About David Farrance
Let's take a look to read some of what Future Considerations had to say on Farrance from his player profile:
A transitional offensive minded defenseman who skates very well and has skilled hands…thanks to his skating and puck-handling abilities, he can escape forechecking pressure…sees the entire sheet of ice as he carries the puck up ice and into the offensive zone…can be a threat with his precise puck movement or by delivering a quick shot…knows when to jump into the play and keeps the risk of being caught up ice to a minimum…displays great gap control and positioning…not bad defensively although he doesn’t get physical enough…soft along the wall and little sense of urgency to his defensive play…projected as a strong possession player who can take the puck into the offensive zone, quarterback a power play and put up some points at the next level.
It's encouraging to read that he can skate well and handle the puck in all three zones. A two-way defenseman that can contribute to possession and the scoreboard is certainly the type of prospect that will garner interest across the league. I like reading that he's able to control his gap defensively and understands his positioning. While his lack of physicality is a concern, I believe that is an area of his game that can improve as he grows and gains experience at the collegiate level.
Steve Kournianos from The Draft Analyst actually has the Devils taking Farrance in his mock draft with their 2/36 selection. Here is what he had to say about that potential pick:
For all the talent they’re stockpiling in New Jersey, the organization could use another quick-thinking puck mover that can run the power play. Farrance is a Rochester native heading to BU after spending this past season orchestrating the attack from the NTDP’s backline.
Here is what The Draft Analyst had to say about Farrance after last November's 5 Nations tournament where Farrance represented the US U18 team:
Farrance displayed all the makings of a pro-level defender. Not only does he possess a booming, accurate shot, but his ability create plays off the rush keeps opponents honest. Farrance has an exceptional set of hands and can handle any pass with relative ease, especially from across the ice. He scored a key goal against the Finns via a slap shot from just inside the blueline. And his hard wrister caused a rebound that led to Scott Reedy’s game winner. One night earlier, he split all five Czech skaters with a home run pass on Sean Dhooghe’s tape for a breakaway snipe. Outside of being under six feet tall, there are literally no weaknesses to his game.
This seems to fit in well with what Future Considerations had to say about Farrance. He has the tools to eventually turn into a two-way defender at the professional level. It seems like his size may turn off some people towards picking him earlier in the draft, but at 5'11, it's not like he's really that undersized.
Here is what Bill Placzek from Draft Site had to say about Farrance:
Under six foot defender who is a mobile defenseman with terrific offensive skills and high end passing skills. Displays excellent vision and has the ability to throw the home run stretch pass to a teammate with accuracy. Very good on the power play at moving the puck to the right option. Quick and precise in retrieval in his end, and a power play generator who reads his passing options but also has a rocket from the point.
That is certainly another encouraging report on Farrance and I get the feeling he may provide some solid value in the 2nd or 3rd round.
A Little Video
Unfortunately, I don't have any videos to share of his defensive game. However, I did come across these two videos from YouTube user, Prospect Videos, in which you can see Farrance take the center of the ice in the offensive zone to score a couple of goals.
An Opinion of Sorts
I would personally put David Farrance on the list of prospect's that I'd be interested in seeing the Devils draft in the 2nd or more preferably 3rd round. The Devils need more defensemen prospects and Farrance brings a solid skill set to the table. A two-way defender that has a strong transition game thanks to his skating and passing ability is certainly an attractive option. Though some will say he is just a tad bit undersized, it's important to remember that he is still just 17 and could still grow a bit more. I'd expect his defensive game to continue to round out nicely playing for a program like Boston University where he will immediately have to play against older and stronger competition. Farrance seems to have the makings of a solid top 4 defenseman if he can reach his potential and getting a prospect like him in the 2nd/3rd round would be a solid grab in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on Farrance as a prospect? Would you want to see the Devils draft him? If so, do you think of him as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect, or even later? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!