Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prospect Watch: Aaron Ness

Updated 2.13.10 From Omair Taher

Ness continues to put up steady numbers in his sophomore season at Minnesota. He currently has one goal and nine assists through 28 games, second only to Cade Fairchild (STL) in scoring among Golden Gophers defensemen. While Ness's offensive production hasn’t improved much from last year, he did add about 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. This is a step in the right direction for the 2008 Mr. Hockey award recipient. Ness has the skill set to be a top offensive defenseman, but needs to bulk up a bit more before he can move up to the pros.

Update from the Daily News:

"All reports are that Aaron's playing well," Snow said. "We're excited that Aaron is playing college hockey and having some success. We'll keep monitoring Aaron, and hope he continues on that development path."- Garth Snow
"Aaron has outstanding skills, skating ability and hockey sense," Snow said. "He does a good job getting pucks to the net on the power play or in 5-on-5 situations. He makes a great first pass, and can skate the puck out of trouble when the opportunity presents itself."
From Minnesota coach Don Lucia

"The biggest change he needs is time, physically," Lucia said. "I think the biggest catching up he had to do was not the mental part of his game or the skill part, but just the physical part. He's probably put on a good 10 pounds of muscle from last year - he's still got a ways to go as far as that's concerned, and that's going to take some time."

Stats for Ness:

Drafted: 2008 Entry draft
Round: 2nd  (40th Overall)
NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee
“Aaron is flamboyant and colorful. He is very quick, everything about him is quick -- his hands are quick, his feet are quick. He is a very good skater and he is gritty and physical. He’ll step right in to you without fear – he picks his spot when he does it. He’s a little more polished than some of the other high school defensemen with his passing and playmaking.  When I look at him he is quicker than Brian Leetch was at this age and he’s as fast as John-Michael Liles was at the same age." 


Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
2008-09 U. of Minnesota NCAA 37 2 15 17 16
2009-10 U. of Minnesota NCAA 34 2 9 11 22
 My take: Ness could very well be a good defenseman in 2 years for the Islanders. For now he'll soak up as much as he can in Minnesota, eventually join the Sound Tigers, and see where he progresses from there. Ness is certainly a player to keep an eye on.

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