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MnB's 2015 NHL Draft Preview: Nicholas Boka

Name: Nicholas Boka

Position: Defense

Team: United States National Development Team: Juniors (USHL), U18 (USDP), U18 (WJC-18)

2014-15 Stats:

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
2014-15 USNTDP Juniors USHL 20 3 1 4 68
USA National U18 Team USDP 54 5 6 11 96
USA U18 WJC - U18 7 1 1 2 6
Totals: 81 9 8 17 170

Measurables: 6'0, 196 lbs

Final Rankings:

Ranked #98 by ISS Hockey

Ranked #117 by NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters)

The Skinny

There's not that much out there on Nick Boka, but what we do know is that he's your typical "responsible" defenseman who knows his way around all three zones. He is a tad shorter than what most NHL teams are looking for on defense, but there's still room to add size to his already built frame.

The issue that some teams might have will be his penalty minues, averaging a little over a penalty per game. That can signal two things: a lot of fighting and grittiness on the boards (though the numbers are a bit small for that in my opinion), or a ton of instances of just getting outskated/"beat" and having to end the play by taking a penalty.

He's grown a bit with the puck in 2014-15, though he still needs to work on positioning in his own zone, taking the man, and puck movement altogether, especially zone exits. He has a booming slapshot from the point and that will develop even more as he gains strength in college. The limited scouting reports on him say that he's a good skater, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

Draft Prediction

His skill set base is there, but he's one of the more raw defensement in the mid-to-upper echelons of the draft. If there's a team that wants to add a depth defenseman, Boka could easily surface towards the end of the second round or the beginning of the third.

Boka is one of those up-in-the-air picks. One year against higher competition will certainly give scouts and fans alike a better idea of who he is and how he plays.

Unfortunately, where he is in the development, there's actually a chance he misses this year altogether.