While the lottery is still up in the air, the Oilers are locked into the 32nd pick overall, 2nd in the 2nd round of the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh on June 23rd. One player universally ranked at the top of the second round is Damon Severson, the defenseman from Kelowna of the WHL. In their mid-season ratings, The Scouting Report had Severson 32nd, commenting:
Damon Severson has proven to be a bit of an enigma this season with the Kelowna Rockets. At times, Severson seems to have the potential to be a game breaker – and at others, he seems like more of a project than a top prospect. Severson does have good size and a booming shot from the point, but will definitely need to work on the other parts of his game in order to be successful at the next level. It’s hard to find many glaring problems in his game; there just isn’t much that stands out. After battling injury for more than six weeks, Severson will undoubtedly have to make up for lost time in a draft that’s chock full of talented young defensemen. As a bit of a raw talent, he will certainly benefit from an ever increasing role with the Kelowna Rockets, and is definitely a key component to his team’s future.
To gain a better understanding of Severson's game, I spoke with Dan Lizee. Dan is the WHL correspondent and scout for the The Scouting Report, the free scouting service we've used for prospect information over the past two years.
Copper & Blue: Of the 7 services I use in the consensus 100, six of them have Severson listed between 30 and 37. What's holding him back from moving into the end of the first round or higher?
Dan Lizee, The Scouting Report: Severson's game is evolving, but to what extent is uncertain. Right now, in my opinion, I would say his game is simliar to that of Eric Brewer, with the potential for more offensive upside but its not there yet a la Brent Seabrook.
C & B: What sort of defender is Severson? What kind of game does he play?
TSR: Severson, plays a two-way defending style, plays in all situations and plays big minutes, more out of necessity. He has the potential to be +/- demon if he is surrounded with better talent.
C & B: Severson is 6'1", 180 lbs - is he a finesse defender or does he play bigger than his frame?
TSR: He's not a player that goes around blowing players up but I describe his game as subtly physical.
C & B: He tallied 37 points in 56 games this season - will that offense come with him a to higher level?
TSR: He's a safe pick but doesn't have the offensive upside some of his other counterparts have.
C & B: Does [Kelowna coach] Ryan Huska use him on the penalty kill?
TSR: Yes, Huska uses Severson on the penalty kill with some power play duty as well. One thing Severson does well is block shots.
C & B: Along with Matthew Dumba, Severson was named to the U-18 team for the tournament in April. Does he deserve it?
TSR: I would say Severson deserves to be to be on the U18 team. Especially considering players like Reinhart, Rielly and Pouliot's teams are still in the WHL playoffs. He will likely fill the void on the defensive side of the puck for Team Canada.
C & B: You're an Oilers fan - would you like to see the Oilers take him at the top of the second round?
TSR: I guess it depends on what's left or who the Oilers took with the first pick. He would definitely be on the short list of players I'd be looking at with that pick. For the Oilers, I'm looking at players like Cody Corbett, Henrik Smauelsson, and Damon Severson would be on that list as well. The Oilers should definitely be looking in their back yard for 2nd round.