The New Jersey Devils selected Lewiston Maniacs defenseman Eric Gelinas with the 54th overall pick. Here's some quick information about him:
Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 lbs. 2008-09 Stats: 67 GP 10 G 27 A 39 PTS 80 PIM (source)
Gelinas actually blogged at The Hockey News this season. The blog pretty much died after April, but you can get a personal perspective of how his season went at Lewiston.
NHL.com has a profile on him, CSS ranked him 38th overall among North American skaters. Scouting report is sparse, but the coach rates his intelligence:
Lewiston head coach Don MacAdam"He is one of the most consistent players I have ever coached. He's a smart kid who is always ready to learn."
Kevin Forbes at Hockey's Future has a fairly in-depth feature article on Gelinas. Here's the most relevant bit that I could find quickly, and it has MacAdam saying a lot more than he did in the NHL.com profile:
"He had a tendency to try to go through a whole bunch of people, go for that classic end-to-end rush and that's not a big part of anybody's game these days. Now when he moves the puck and joins the rush, he's become much more effective," explained MacAdam. "The biggest thing he's done is add a lot more consistency at a high level to his game and with that, he's just become a much more valuable player to us and I would assume catching the eye of scouts a lot more often. Whereas, early in the year, he had one good game and at least one, if not two or three, not so great games."
A converted forward, Gelinas pairs offensive ability with great skating and vision and is working hard to improve his physical play.
MacAdam views his physical ability as being a key piece to Gelinas' game, noting that "when he plays physical he typically plays considerably better," and pointing out, "he's got good size. At the moment, not a lot of great strength. I should say great height, he needs to certainly be serious about his training program this summer but he has the frame, the athletic build to really achieve some positives as a result of the physical training side. And when he does that, his skating is very strong now, his passing is excellent, his physical play is getting stronger, needs to get stronger and as he does get stronger, all those areas will improve."
For a quick outside opinion, Christopher Ralph of The Hockey Writers has a profile on Gelinas, ranking him 47th on his list. He feels that he'll be a "top 4 two-way defenseman" and notes that Gelinas needs to play more physical. I'm not feeling the Braydon Coburn comparison personally, but that's more based on my opinion of Coburn more than anything else.
The Blackhawks' site - seriously, Chicago's official site is a source for this and I appreciate it! - has a Red Line Report quote on Gelinas in a profile of the defender:
Red Line Report
"Tall and rangy with good mobility. Smooth, powerful stride and covers lots of ice in one stride. Loves to handle the puck and move in deep to force action at offensive end. High risk, high reward guy who takes a lot of changes, but makes things happen. Work in progress in his own end – was a forward until two years ago. Loose around own net -- needs work on positioning, clearing rebounds, and coverage down low. Confident attitude and handles the puck crisply. Can make brilliant home run passes through neutral zone. Has size/strength that ne needs to use more effectively. Already huge with a father who’s an athletic 6-foot-8 former pro baseball player. Got plenty of icetime on a rebuilding club, including quarterbacking the PP. Good footwork and mobility with a wide skating base. Will require lots of defensive development and coaching, but is a longterm project with great upside."
Overall, he's got size, he's got smarts, he's got range, and he needs some more work - most of all, his physical game. But hey, the Devils aren't afraid of projects, like Mike Hoeffel, New Jersey will do their best as long as Gelinas is willing to do his best (and I'm sure he will).
Best of luck to Gelinas now that he is a member of the New Jersey organization. Leave your thoughts on Gelinas below!