Devils Draft Options: Defensemen Matt MacKenzie, Taylor Aronson, and Isaac Macleod

I recently did a post on three forwards that I liked here.  In this one I'm going to do a profile on three defensemen that I like.  You may notice that I focused on players who are farther down in the CSS ranking and that is mainly because I feel there is good depth at defense in this draft.  I also ignored European players in both of my posts because it's difficult to find information on them.


Matt MacKenzie - D - 6' 1" 191 lbs. - CSS Rank: 74 - Hometown: New Westminstier, BC ( Source: )

2009-10 Stats: Calgary - 64 GP - 6 G - 34 A - 40 pts. - 62 PIM

First off I failed to mention playoff stats in my other post so I'm gonna get those out of the way right now.  According to the Calgary Hitmen site, MacKenzie played 23 playoff games and put in 6 goals and assisted on 10 for a total of 16 pts. Which is .7 pts a game which is slightly higher than his .63 pts a game in the regular season.  So he preformed slightly better under the playoff pressure which is always a plus

To start off Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports did a little piece on MacKenzie in which he asked him "What is the best assest you bring to a team?"  MacKenzie answered with this

I’m an all-around defenceman who plays well in all situations, power play, penalty kill, against other teams’ top line.

I want to focus on this statement because this is basically what everyone else had to say about his game as well.  Granted they go a little more in depth. Anyway this response is basically what led me to dig deeper on MacKenzie because I think this is the kind of defensemen the Devils need.

Michael Remmerde over at NHL Draft Notes is pretty high on MacKenzie ranking him 7th among all WHL draft eligible players.  Reading through his complete profile on MacKenzie he makes him out to be a Paul Martin type player.  He then throws a curve ball at the end saying that 

he reminds me just a tiny bit of Mike Green at the same age. So I've got a little gut feel that there could be some surprise upside here

I would hope that he just means MacKenzie has the ability to develop Mike Green type offensive skills and not Mike Greene defensive skills. 

Anyway back to the Paul Martin comparison I hinted to.  Remmerde says a few things that basically describe Martin's game,  like "Does so many things well, but isn't flashy." and basically everything in this quote

Defensive zone play improved greatly this season. Thinks the game well. Makes the right plays in all three zones. Has a knack for keeping opponents to the outside and filling the seams. Also picked up the physical play, but he's probably not going to be much of a banger in the NHL. However, he has good strength and should be able to hold his own in battles for the puck at the next level.

They also are about the same size. Martin is listed at 6' 1" 200 lbs at Depending on how you feel on Martin you might be less thrilled about MacKenzie as I am, but Remmerde thinks he could go as high as late first round.  Jonathan Willis over at Hockey or Die also thinks highly of MacKenzie, listing him 29th in his rankings.

MacKenzie is a favorite of mine and I think he could be a solid defensmen for the Devils in a few yeara.  That being said I would be against taking him with the 38th overall pick.  There are still questions about how MacKenzie will handle NHL competition and whether his offensive game will translate over to the NHL level.  He probably won't make it to the Devils 3rd round pick but if we were to acquire a late 2nd, early 3rd MacKenzie would be a good option.


Taylor Aronson - D - 6' 196 lbs - CSS Rank: 88 - Hometown: Placentia, CA ( Source:

2009-10 Stats: Portland Winterhawks - 71 GP - 5 G - 25 A - 30 Pts. - 65 PIM

Again I'll start you off with Aronson's playoff numbers.  He really played well in the WHL playoff putting up 2 goals and 7 assists in 11 games.  He led all the defensemen on the team with 9 pts.  He only had the fourth highest point total out of the defensemen in the regular season.

Aronson seems to have a lot of potential but has been called out for his lack of effort.  Michael Remmerde of NHL Draft Notes had this to say

I had just about written off this guy after watching him sleepwalk through most of the season

And Kyle Woodlief at USA Today had this to say

We hated his complete lack of passion the entire regular season, but wow, has he ever turned it up in the playoffs.

He did step it up in the playoffs but has to play with that same intensity from now on if he expects to make it in the NHL. Remmerde did speculate that Aronson just didn't get comfortable playing at the major junior level until late in the season. He was only in his first season.

Other than that there really isn't many other complaints about Aronson's game.  Remmerde lists his strengths and weaknesses in his profile

Strengths: Very good all-around raw ability and some nice offensive smarts. Good puck moving and puck carrying skills. Good skater.
Weaknesses: Has yet to put everything together consistently. Average size means he needs to contribute offensively to be valuable.

This really isn't much else on Aronson.  Other than this brief write up by Remmerede but he seems to be pretty high on him ranking him 14th out of all the WHL and BCHL players.  He is expected to go anywhere from late 2nd to early 4th, so he would be a decent late round pick by the Devils.


Isaac Macleod - D - 6' 4" 205 lbs - CSS Rank: 133 - Hometown: Nelson, BC ( Source: )

2009-10 Stats: Pentiction Vees - 56 GP - 0 G - 23 A - 23 Pts. - 51 PIM

I really found nothing on him but I wanted to include a possible late round pick that had good size.  So that is why I'm including Macleod. 

I'm gonna go back to Michael Remmerde's site NHL Draft Notes because that is all I could find. He has this to say on Macleod.

Has some interesting natural offensive instincts for such a big guy, but stride isn't good and has slow feet.

Really not to informative.  Macleod will be attending Boston College next year though so he will have time to develop playing in the NCAA.  He would be a great late round option to add some size to our defensive corps.


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