It’s an exciting time to be a top prospect in the upcoming NHL Draft.
Top-rated defenceman Noah Hanifin, who just finished a successful season with Boston College, spoke with Dean Blundell & Co on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday morning as he prepares for the NHL Scouting Combine (June 1 to 6) and Draft (June 26).
One of the most influential voices for the future NHL star is Hall of Fame defenceman Bobby Orr. The legendary No. 4 is Hanifin’s agent, and has equipped the young player with solid advice as he prepares for his future in the big leagues.
“I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Hanifin of Orr. “He’s such a down-to-earth guy.
“The one good message he’s always given me is just to enjoy the process. Don’t get too ahead of yourself,” he said. “Enjoy the ride and appreciate all the people you meet along the way. That’s something I’ve really tried to do over the past few years.”
Most assessments have Hanifin going to Arizona (No. 3 overall pick), Toronto (4) or Carolina (5). When asked about the possibility of landing with the Maple Leafs, the 18-year-old native of Norwood, Massachusetts spoke highly of Toronto’s tradition of being a hockey town.
“I’ve been to Toronto a bunch of times and it’s an unbelievable city,” he said. “The hockey environment there is so special and if it ever works for me to be in Toronto, it’d be such an honour.”
Hanifin was at the NHL Draft Lottery with McDavid and fellow top prospect Dylan Strome, and got an up close view of the phenom’s reaction to Edmonton winning the golden ticket — “I think he was just really shocked” — and also speculated on the No. 1 overall pick’s future with the Oilers.
“I’m sure Connor’s going to be great there,” said Hanifin. “He’s such a good player and hopefully he can help that organization get on their feet and I think he’ll do that for sure.”