When hoping to draw the attention of NHL scouts, there can be a downside to being too well-rounded of a player -- particularly when it comes to blueliners. Logical or not, there's inarguably some benefit to standing out as a premium, puck-moving offensive defenseman or an imposing shutdown defender of the stay-at-home variety. Either type can be appropriately categorized with little confusion. But when a defensive player brings a little bit of everything to the table -- a jack-of-all-trades type, if you will -- it's more difficult to affix any one label. Which brings us to Chris Bigras of the Owen Sound Attack, who, in some sense, could be considered the ultimate renaissance man of NHL draft prospects.
"You have certain defensemen that do certain things extremely well, [while] Chris does so many things at a very, very high level," said Attack head coach Greg Ireland, ahead of Wednesday's 3-0 win over the Barrie Colts. "[Scouts] struggle to pigeonhole him: 'Is he an offensive guy? Is he a defensive guy?' Here's a kid who's 17 years old, who's playing on one of the top teams in the league, every night he plays against the best offensive players, and he's a plus-29. And for most of this year he's been running our power play as well."
Well, the scouting community is now taking proper notice. Known for his above-average hockey sense, Bigras is currently ranked 19th in Central Scouting Service's midterm report (North American skaters) -- several spots ahead of defenseman Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights. Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) is the only OHL defenseman listed higher. And Ireland believes his young D-man can rise up the ranks even farther.
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