Braden Schneider could fall to the San Jose Sharks in the 2020 NHL Draft
The 18-year-old just played his third full and best season for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. For the Wheat Kings, Schneider put up 42 points (seven goals, 35 assists) in 60 games.
This offensive output isn’t very impressive compared to many other WHL defensemen, however, it’s a major step forward for Schneider who was unable to surpass 24 points in each of his first two junior seasons.
Although he lacks a bit offensively, you’ll soon find out that his defensive game makes up for it.
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Schneider is a very good skater. He has good speed, acceleration, edge work, and agility that allows him to play a good, full 200-foot game.
His skating ability also allows him to control his gaps quite well. His quick, good pivots and smooth strides allow him to change direction on a dime and cover a lot of ice in a short amount of time.
At 6-foot-2 and 209 pounds, Schneider is a large and strong defenseman — especially his lower body. Schneider is very strong on his skates and has very good balance.
He knocks his opponents off the puck quite easily — whether it be open ice or along the boards — and is hard to knock off the puck himself.
Because of his strength and size, Schneider is very effective at clearing the front of the net and winning pucks out of the corners. Additionally, he uses his long reach to intercept passes with his quick, active stick and uses his size and positioning skills to get in passing and shooting lanes.
Along with his good skating and strength, the Saskatchewan native also has good stickhandling. If he has to, Schneider can pull off a quick deke to keep the puck away from his opposition and then make a strong, accurate pass — whether short or breakout — to one of his teammates.
Although he doesn’t usually lead the rush, Schneider knows how to pick his spots and likes to jump in on the rush as the extra option. On top of that, he’ll sneak in at the top of the circles to let go his quickly-released, good, accurate wrist shot.
Schneider is also effective at manning the point. He knows how to open up passing and shooting lanes with his agility and how to keep his shot low and get it on net for deflections and rebounds.
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Schneider doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses, however, one that stands out is his slap shot. Overall, his slap shot lacks power.
Additionally, Schneider’s overall offensive game is a weakness compared to his entire skillset. He doesn’t score much, but this isn’t a huge deal.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
Overall, Schneider is a big, strong, smart, and poised defenseman. He has one of the best defensive games in juniors as his gap control and positioning are some of the best.
Schneider is projected to go as early as the middle of the first round. However, with the Sharks picking somewhere in the mid-20s, there’s a chance the young defenseman falls to them. If he does, I think he would be a great choice.
Schneider was given the responsibility of playing big minutes against opposing teams’ top lines along with playing on both the penalty kill and power play. Unsurprisingly, he thrived and put up his best season.
If the Sharks can get their hands on him late in the first round, it truly would be a steal — Schneider’s ceiling is a top-pairing, two-way defenseman.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Schneider doesn’t spend more than a season in the AHL.