WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20:  Matt MacKenzie #5 of Team Orr skates in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Cherry on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Based on most of the scouting reports I’ve seen, my placement of WHL defenceman Matt MacKenzie at #29 is a bit of a stretch, but the more I’ve looked into him the more I’ve liked him.  MacKenzie is one of the youngest players eligible for the 2010 draft, and he’s broken out of a defence-only role that he’d been stuck in with the Calgary Hitmen prior to this season.

 

MacKenzie’s a smart player, and he has a range of talents.  Up until this season, he’d been relied upon as a shutdown defenceman, a role he carries out well.  McKeen’s describes his game as “error free at the junior level” and he’s smart enough to know where to be and aggressive enough to use his body on the opposition.  MacKenzie blew the doors off offensively this season, doubling his goal output and putting up 40 points in 64 games, and he kept scoring in the playoffs.  Red Line Report’s Michael Remmerde said he reminds him “just a tiny bit of Mike Green at the same age.”

 

MacKenzie isn’t small, but he isn’t big for his position either, at 6’1” and 190 lbs.  His skating isn’t a weakness, but it isn’t high-end either, and he needs to continue to develop that area of his game.  Other than that, there really aren’t any holes, but some scouts are concerned that he won’t put up numbers at the NHL level.

 

At the junior level, MacKenzie’s a picture-perfect two-way defenceman, a guy who can play in any situation and be expected to excel.  The question is whether or not he has the physical ability to carry that over to the NHL, or if he’ll end up as just a serviceable defenceman on the bottom end of the roster.

 

McKeen’s Ranking: #56 – “Relied upon in all situations, he is a jack of all trades as he combines offensive and defensive components to his game.”

THN Ranking: #55 – “’He’s kind of a non-descript guy,’ one scout said, ‘who does everything well but nothing great.’”