The WHL has produced a quality defenseman or three in recent history. Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf and Tyler Myers stand out as some of the most famous and decorated exports from the Western League, and the pipeline hasn’t stopped flowing. Dalton Thrower, one of the most impressively named defenseman ever, will look to join that list of star alumni.
Thrower is your prototypical ‘does-it-all’ defenseman. He’s not the biggest player at 5-foot-11, 189 pounds, but he plays a very physical style, has offensive skill and isn’t afraid to drop the mitts in a pinch. He can get to both ends of the ice with good speed and is really beginning to grasp the best ways to handle the puck when he’s leading a rush.
Born: December 20, 1993
What people in the know know
Thrower is a tough, two-way defenseman that loves to throw the body and get involved at both ends of the ice. He also has very good hockey sense which he uses to make very good outlet passes to his teammates. He is often compared to Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa. In 66 games he registered 54 points and 103 penalty minutes.
1. How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I’m a guy who works hard every night and can move the puck and play good in my own end. I’m more of a two-way defenceman. I can play in all situations.”
2. Do you try and model your game after an NHL defenceman?
“Yeah, I try and play like (Vancouver Canucks defenceman) Kevin Bieksa. He plays a solid two-way game and that’s what I try and do. Be a guy that can make stuff happen at both ends of the ice.”
3. Who’s your favourite NHL team?
“The Vancouver Canucks. I’m from there, so I grew up cheering for them.”
4. Who do you room with on road trips? And does he do anything that annoys you?
“We haven’t been on a road trip in a while, but usually Duncan Siemens. He usually leaves the television on and that’s kind of annoying. I always have to wake up and turn it off.”
5. What’s your favourite television show or movie?
“My favourite television show is Two and a Half Men. It’s just a show that makes me laugh.”
The Blades once again crapped out of the playoffs, but Thrower had just returned from an upper body injury.
The strapping young D-man was a catalyst for his club and played on the top pairing with 2011 Colorado first-rounder Duncan Siemens, where he faced opponents’ top lines. Both will be crucial parts of the team next year when Saskatoon hosts the Memorial Cup, but right now is Thrower’s time to shine. “He’s one of those players who can do it all,” said one scout. “Finishes his checks, runs the power play and he’s not afraid to defend himself.”
That much was evident when the D-man took on Plymouth power forward Tom Wilson at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Back in the ‘Dub,’ Thrower was one of the Blades’ most frequent fighters, though his skill extends beyond his ability to throw fists. “His decision-making is getting better,” the scout said. “He’s also getting back quickly when he jumps into the rush.”
From the horse’s mouth
Thrower is virtually a lock to go in the first round as a talented defenseman with a versatile skillset. Western League defenseman currently dominate the landscape of rearguard prospects valued by pro clubs.
Look for a team like St. Louis or Vancouver to nab Thrower late in the first round. The Blues are set long term at the back end but could still use additional long term options to fill in the system, while the Canucks will need to look at replacements for Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis down the road. As a well rounded defenseman, Thrower could be a fit in either system.