His NHL bloodlines run deep, he’s defence partners with another high-ranking 2015 NHL draft prospect and he once asked for a trade. Here’s what you need to know about draft prospect defenceman Ryan Pilon.
Age on June 26: 18
From: Duck Lake, Sask.
Weight: 206 pounds
Current Team: Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North American): 24th
Marek’s Take: Already has an NHL body but still has things in his game to work on. You can see the potential there. Had a good year on a very good Brandon team. It seems all the Lethbridge drama is well behind him. Has a strong shot. Leadership qualities are there. Comparable: Matt Finn
He definitely comes from a hockey family
Ryan’s uncle, Rich Pilon, played parts of 15 seasons in the NHL from 1988-2001 with the New York Islanders and briefly the St. Louis Blues. Ryan’s cousin, Garrett Pilon, is a prospect for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers who was taken in the seventh round of the 2013 bantam draft.
He once asked for a trade in the WHL
Pilon was the third overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam draft and played two games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes the following season. He played 57 games with the Hurricanes in 2012-13 and 17 games in 2013-14 before asking for a trade out of town.
“It was difficult asking out from a team but it was the best move for me,” Pilon told NHL.com. “Me, my family and my agent sat down together and it was the move we had to make to further my career and my development.”
The Hurricanes were 3-17-2-2 at the time and Pilon was traded to a Brandon Wheat Kings team on the rise. Brandon made it to Round 2 of the WHL playoffs last season, and this year reached the WHL final.
His defence partner is another first round prospect
In Brandon, Pilon has partnered up with Ivan Provorov, the fast-rising Russian defenceman who now may hear his name called even before Noah Hanifin. Provorov and Pilon made for a daunting pair because they both bring different styles to the table.
“He’s a good, smart, two-way defenceman, so it’s kind of easy for us (as partners) because we know what to expect from each other and we support each other,” Provorov said.
If you watch the two together, Provorov will probably be the one you notice first. He’s the flashy side of the pair, the guy who rushes with the puck, makes plays and and does most of the scoring. But Pilon is no slouch. He’s more of a quiet, reliable, stay-at-home guy who won’t put up huge numbers at the next level.
The defence duo also shared the same billet house.