Big things expected from NU's Oleksiak

In the NHL Draft Blog, Gare Joyce writes of Jamieson Oleksiak, a 6-foot-7 prospect who could be the next Zdeno Chara or Tyler Myers. He's playing at Northeastern University right now, but could be a 2011 first-rounder, even with a general focus on offense in the first round.

Here's part of Joyce's piece:

The biggest prospect in the 2011 entry draft, Jamieson Oleksiak, is arguably the most intriguing.

This guy is 6-foot-7 (maybe 6-foot-8), north of 240 pounds, and plays defense at Northeastern; where he lands and when he goes in the draft will be interesting because it might indicate a trend in the league -- are teams going to put a greater premium on extreme height in propects? Think about Zdeno Chara or Tyler Myers in this regard.

Usually the word "raw" is attached and a long, gradual development curve is presumed when you're talking about guys this tall; Chara and Meyers debunked that, but it's still the prevailing notion.

In one junior season after leaving Europe, Chara was unpolished on D -- but a force without the puck. Myers' improvement was even more dramatic; he struggled at the world juniors in Jan '09 but four months later he might have been the best D in major junior, leading Kelowna to the Memorial Cup final.

So where does that leave us on Oleksiak?

He's more comparable in stature to Chara -- both at 18 were tall and thick; but for reasons of hockey background Oleksiak is better compared to Myers. Both grew up with the North American game and both played for the US at the Ivan Hlinka summer tournament. (Myers ended up playing U20 for Canada and Oleksiak would seem to be eligible to do the same with Toronto as his listed birthplace.)

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