The Edmonton Oilers continue to see success from their up-and-coming defensive prospects. While a lot of them are flourishing as puck-moving blueliners, blueliner Vincent Desharnais plays a much different style as he continues to develop.
Edmonton took Desharnais in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft (183rd overall). He played his pre-draft year with Providence College, where he registered a goal and two points, as well as a plus-1 rating through 19 games. This past season, Desharnais racked up two goals, three points and 22 PIM in 32 games with Providence College and was a minus-2.
Prior to entering the NCAA, the Laval, Quebec native played high school hockey and then entered the BCHL, where he stood out with the Chilliwack Chiefs. In 54 games with the Chiefs, Desharnais had a goal and five points through 54 regular season games. His playoff run with Chilliwack was more impressive than his season, where he put up a goal and eight points through 12 postseason games.
His impressive, steady game earned him a spot in the NCAA, and eventually, led him to the NHL draft.
The 21-year-old Desharnais will enter his junior year with Providence this season. And, as he continues to develop, he will look to add more to his resume and stand out enough to earn more attention from the Oilers organization.
Desharnais at a Glance
The 6-foot-6, 207-pound defenceman is a giant and isn’t afraid to play a solid, physical game. While his size makes him a huge asset, considering he can be aggressive, win battles for the puck and add size to the blue line, he shines in other areas as well.
Not only that, but Desharnais makes himself prominent on the ice, and can be an intimidating presence to his opponents. He can also use his frame to close gaps on the ice and is able to play a solid stay-at-home game. His mentality also helps him avoid mistakes and ultimately makes him more of a reliable asset to have on the backend.
When it comes to how he can improve, Desharnais needs to add more to his game to make it to the NHL level. First off, he needs to work on his skating, and given his height, could put on more bulk. He will have to get faster and work harder to make it to the NHL level, and if he can speed up his game and add some more edge to stand out, he will be a huge steal for the Oilers organization.
Desharnais doesn’t necessarily have to add more of an offensive edge, considering it’s always good to have a defensive-defenceman, but does need to add more skill to stand out.
Overall, Desharnais is a solid stay-at-home blueliner who is sure to add physicality and size to the blue line as he moves up the ranks. His current skill-set, though, sets him up to develop into a depth defenceman.
If he wants to ensure that he is a necessary asset to have in the lineup, especially at the NHL level, he will have to get faster, stronger and add more to his game.