An early-season benching humbled Thomas Chabot, who came into the 2014-15 campaign as a one-dimensional player.
Chabot was told by his general manager and coaches that he needed to change his game, using his size to clear players from in front of the net, and play better positionally in his own zone.
The changes made an immediate impact and Chabot developed into one of the best two-way defencemen in the QMJHL.
Here’s everything you need to know about Thomas Chabot heading into the 2015 NHL Draft.
Birthplace: Ste. Marie-de-Beauce, Que.
Current Team: Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL
Weight: 180 pounds
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North American): 16th
Marek’s Take: A strong skating, offensively minded defenceman from the blue line factory that is the Saint John Sea Dogs. Really good at creating offensive opportunities and can get the puck out of trouble quickly in his own zone. Comparable: Jason Demers
One of the fastest risers in the draft
Many have compared Chabot’s draft stock to Calgary Hitmen defenceman Travis Sanheim, who shot up draft boards late last year before being selected 17th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2014 NHL Draft.
Chabot really stepped up in his second QMJHL season, serving as an anchor on the blue line for a Saint John team that transitioned from last overall into a playoff team.
He led all Sea Dogs defencemen with 41 points, 12 goals and 29 assists in 66 games this past season, almost doubling his point total from his rookie year (22 points). He finished the year with a plus-six rating, improving on his minus-29 in 2013-14, and registering at least one point in eight consecutive games from Jan. 26 to Feb. 14.
Chabot is a mobile defenceman with rare qualities for his 6-foot-2 frame. He considers himself a two-way defenceman, but his hockey sense and play in the offensive zone is what really stands out.
Chabot’s speed can routinely catch opponents off guard, similar to New York Rangers defenceman Keith Yandle.
“I saw (Yandle) play once in the QMJHL,” Chabot told Yahoo! Sports in January. “A lot of scouts tell me that I look like him when he was in the QMJHL. He’s a really good defenceman in the NHL, plays both ways on the ice and that’s a player I want to be like later in my career.”
He tied for the team lead among defencemen with five points in seven games for Canada en route to a bronze medal at the 2015 under-18 world championship.
Good taste in movies
Chabot may be a young player, but he’s got a taste for the classics. He listed Slap Shot as one of his favourite movies. The hockey film from 1977 still stands the test of time…even if the game isn’t quite the same.