2012 DRAFT PROFILE – Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon (WHL)

Each week until the entry draft in June, Point Blank will be reporting on the top prospects in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. This week’s profile is defender Dalton Thrower, ranked as the 26th best North American skater in the final CSS rankings. You can keep a watch on our profiles via the “2012 Draft” tab at the top of the page and check out profiles of Islanders’ young guns filed under the “NYI Prospects” tab. We’re also working on a mock draft, which will be published in early June.

Many hockey insiders marvel at the talents of Red Deer defenseman Matthew Dumba. However, others question whether Dumba – at six-foot, 185 pounds – could withstand the pounding of a rigorous 82-game NHL schedule, playing as frenetically as he has over the past two-plus seasons in the Western Hockey League.

Saskatoon (WHL) defenseman Dalton Thrower finds himself in a similar boat as Dumba, yet not with the same fan-fare. Still, the six-foot, 190-pound Thrower’s play is synonymous with his name. The North Vancouver, British Columbia-native enjoys throwing his body around, engaging physically in a manner that set many-a-tone for his Blades over the past three seasons.

“I grew up a Canucks fan, watching (current Florida Panther and former Canucks defenseman) Jovo (Ed Jovanovski) play,” said the 18-year-old Thrower. “Right now, I love watching (current Canucks defenseman) Kevin Bieksa play.

“I play like him (Bieksa). I play a two-way game. My strengths are my skating and my physical play. I am a defenseman, who really enjoys the physical aspect of the game.”

Surprisingly bypassed by TSN’s Craig Button in his recent top-60 draft list, Thrower’s break-out 2011-12 campaign has many prognosticators believing that his name will be called at the tail end of the 2012 NHL entry draft’s opening round. The draft is set to be held on June 22-23 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

“I have coached Dalton for three years,” said Blades eighth-year head coach Lorne Molleken, whose coaching resume includes assistant coaching stints with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks (1998-2000), San Jose Sharks (2002-03) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (2003-04). He also served as an interim head coach in Chicago during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, where he went 18-21-8 in 47 games. “He came here as a 15-year-old with all kinds of potential, and each year we have expanded his role. This season, we rely on Dalton to play against the opposition’s best players. He does a good job on the power play, and he has really elevated his physical play.”

Thrower, who only registered 27 points – six goals and 21 assists – in his first two seasons (2009-11 – 123 games) for the Blades, doubled that scoring output in just 66 games this past season. He collected 54 points – 18 goals and 36 assists – leading all Blades defensemen in scoring. He also finished eighth amongst all WHL defensemen in scoring, three behind the aforementioned Dumba (20-30-57).

“As he physically matured from a 155-pounder, as a 15-year-old, to a 190-pounder, as an 18-year-old, Dalton really stepped his play up offensively,” said Molleken. “He had games where he was able to score four-to-five points a games.

“He was assertive in all situations, and became a much more confident player. At times, when our top defenseman Duncan Siemens – (a 2011 first round selection (11th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche) – was hurt, we asked Dalton to play upwards of 35 minutes a night.”

Thrower helped his Blades (40-29-1-2) finish fifth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference standings, but their postseason run was short-lived, as they were swept in four straight by the fourth-seeded Medicine Hat Tigers.

“My experience in playing in the WHL is invaluable,” said Thrower. “For me, it is the best route to get to the NHL.”

Growing up in Squamish, B.C. (population 17,158), Thrower began skating at age four. Two years later, he would join a local hockey organization, where he would play there up until his second year of Bantam hockey. His hockey education also included spending 10 months in Kelowna, attending the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy.

The Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy, according to its site (www.pursuitofexcellence.ca) is a “very intense comprehensive hockey development program, a school with high academic excellence, participation in a very competitive minor hockey league, and an unparalleled training program for acquiring rock solid life skills and life values.”

“I always loved the game of hockey,” said Thrower, whose younger brother Josh, age 15, would follow in his older brother’s footsteps and attend the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy. Josh, a forward, was selected in the 2nd round (23rd overall) of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft by the Calgary Hitmen. “I played baseball and hockey until the second grade, when I decided to solely focus on hockey.”

At 14, Thrower and his family would move to North Vancouver, where he would play for the North Shore Winter Club, Subsequently, Thrower was selected by Saskatoon in the 2nd round (30th overall) of the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft.

Prior to joining the Blades, Thrower would spend the 2008-09 season with the Vancouver Northwest Giants of the British Columbia Major Midget League. He scored eight goals and added 11 assists in 31 games, registering 72 penalty minutes.

Outside of WHL play, Thrower played for Team Canada-Pacific in the 2010 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, playing alongside teammate Siemens and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the 2011 NHL Entry Draft’s top overall selection. In five games, he was held scoreless.

This past February, Thrower was a late invitee at the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Kelowna. Despite being held off the score-sheet in his team’s – Team Orr – 2-1 victory over Team Cherry, Thrower would let his presence become known as he would come to the rescue of one of his WHL teammates – Saskatoon’s Lukas Sutter – by exchanging pleasantries with Plymouth power forward Tom Wilson, who stands at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds.

After Wilson leveled Sutter on an open ice hit, sending the 6-foot-1, 203-pound forward sprawling head over skates in his own zone, Thrower quickly jumped off the bench and went after Wilson – who stood four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier – looking for retribution.

“I was still on the bench when it happened, but the defenseman changed right after the hit and I saw Wilson still on the ice,” said Thrower to NHL.com.

Sutter, best friends to Thrower since his arrival to Saskatoon back in 2009, greatly appreciated the friendly gesture.

“That’s what best friends are for,” said Sutter to NHL.com. “It was a good hit, and he (Wilson) caught me at the end of a shift.

“Dalton was the first guy to have my back … I wouldn’t expect anything different from him.”

Less than six weeks away from realizing his ultimate dream, Thrower is fully ready for the challenges that await him.

“Honestly, right now, it is hard for me to picture myself being drafted,” said an emotional Thrower. “But when June comes, it will be very exciting.

“This is my ultimate dream … to play in the NHL.”

If the Islanders are unwilling to select the diminutive Dumba with the fourth overall selection, therefore selecting either Swedish winger Filip Forsberg or Quebec (QMJHL) center Mikhail Grigorenko with that pick, could it be feasible for the Islanders to trade its second and third round picks to move back into the latter stages of the first round to select a future top-four defenseman in Thrower? Possible.

“I know that Dalton is very determined to be successful on the next level,” said Molleken. “I know what he is made of. I know what he is willing to do … to succeed.”

The NHL Draft is just 37 days away.




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  1. [...] Hockey Journal Statistics: Bio/Interview(s)/Link(s):The Pipeline Show (audio interview)Islanders Point Blank profileBuzzing The Net (Yahoo Sports) - Questions 1 & 2 of 5:1. How would you describe [...]

2012 DRAFT PROFILE – Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon (WHL)

Each week until the entry draft in June, Point Blank will be reporting on the top prospects in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. This week’s profile is defender Dalton Thrower, ranked as the 26th best North American skater in the final CSS rankings. You can keep a watch on our profiles via the “2012 Draft” tab at the top of the page and check out profiles of Islanders’ young guns filed under the “NYI Prospects” tab. We’re also working on a mock draft, which will be published in early June.

Many hockey insiders marvel at the talents of Red Deer defenseman Matthew Dumba. However, others question whether Dumba – at six-foot, 185 pounds – could withstand the pounding of a rigorous 82-game NHL schedule, playing as frenetically as he has over the past two-plus seasons in the Western Hockey League.

Saskatoon (WHL) defenseman Dalton Thrower finds himself in a similar boat as Dumba, yet not with the same fan-fare. Still, the six-foot, 190-pound Thrower’s play is synonymous with his name. The North Vancouver, British Columbia-native enjoys throwing his body around, engaging physically in a manner that set many-a-tone for his Blades over the past three seasons.

“I grew up a Canucks fan, watching (current Florida Panther and former Canucks defenseman) Jovo (Ed Jovanovski) play,” said the 18-year-old Thrower. “Right now, I love watching (current Canucks defenseman) Kevin Bieksa play. To read more of this story, click here

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Hockey Journal Statistics: Bio/Interview(s)/Link(s):The Pipeline Show (audio interview)Islanders Point Blank profileBuzzing The Net (Yahoo Sports) - Questions 1 & 2 of 5:1. How would you describe [...]