Draft Class Deep Dive: RHD Braden Schneider

Tony Ferrari

2020-09-14

Graphic courtesy of Andrew Armstrong

 

Defense wins championships. We’ve all heard the phrase. Most coaches have probably said it at some point in time. It’s the go-to line when firing up talented offensive players who don’t commit defensively. It’s also the perfect justification for teams who draft defensive blueliners high in the draft. That’s where Braden Schneider comes into play. He might be the drafts top pure defensive blueliner in the 2020 draft class.

 

Just five days from being eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, Schneider is one of the older players in the draft class. Expected to be a bit more NHL-ready than most prospects, the Wheat Kings defender understands the defensive game, reading incoming rushes and disrupting them and making the safe play. His style of play should translate to the next level quite well but may not present the greatest upside in terms of offensive potential. This style of play led to him almost making the Canadian World Junior squad after showing well at last summer’s World Junior Summer Showcase and strong defensive play early in the year in Brandon.

 

Braden Schneider bio information courtesy of Elite Prospects

 

There are many elements of Schenider’s game that do not show up on the boxscore. From excelling in defensive transitions to getting the puck out of the defensive zone at a very high rate, Schneider drives defensive results quite well. He may not end up being a star for your fantasy team but every team in the NHL needs a stout defensive presence on the back end. In today’s NHL, it is also imperative that the player can also move the puck up ice efficiently with his passing and skating. Braden Schneider is a player who could fit the bill.

 

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Transitional Defense

The area of Schneider’s game that may be strongest is his ability to defend the blueline. The best way to prevent being pinned in your own end is to not allow the opposition to enter the zone cleanly. Utilizing his frame, stick, and skating, the Saskatchewan native understands what he needs to do as the play unfolds in front of him.

 

In our first clip, we get exactly that. Schneider does an excellent job of identifying the attacking forwards neutral zone path and closing in quickly with his stuck in a good position. He stays in perfect position, minimizing the gap and staying within his stick length. Once disrupting the pass, he moves it quickly to safety.