By John Vogl
Junior team: Red Deer (WHL)
Born: High River, Alberta
Measurables: 6-foot, 197 pounds
2013-14 stats: 71 games, 29 goals, 39 assists, 78 points
Central Scouting rank: No. 35 (North America)
Lowdown: Bleackley wore the “C” on his jersey this season, putting him in elite company. How elite? The only other members of the 2014 draft class who captained their teams were Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart, favorites to be selected with the first overall pick.
Bleackley doesn’t have the elite talent of those two players, but he may end up in the first round. He’s developed a solid all-around game under coach Brent Sutter. A power-play specialist, Bleackley has a hard shot and releases it quickly. His work ethic is tremendous.
Bleackley is learning to play a physical game, but there are still a few more lessons. While he’s good with plenty of room on the ice, he needs to hone his five-on-five skills. Getting faster would help.
He said it: “It was something I felt I was ready for and definitely a huge challenge. I think looking back on this year, as far as leadership goes, it was a real learning year. The stuff I learned this year about keeping guys together is only going to help me going forward." – Bleackley, to NHL.com, on being captain.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.
taggedNHL Entry Draft