Saskatoon Blades defenceman Dalton Thrower couldn't have done any better of a job of increasing his draft stock over this past month.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder was named CHL player of the week at the end of December. This honour is mainly due to his eye-popping performance against the Prince Albert Raiders in the Blades last game of 2011. Thrower, 18, netted two goals and four assists in a 9-4 shellacking of the struggling Raiders. Thrower followed that superb showing by kicking off the New Year with a bang. He scored one goal and three assists against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Jan. 1.
"The puck has just been bouncing my way and hard work is paying off," says the 18-year-old. "These hot streaks are nice. I'm just going to continue to work hard and try and keep this play going."
The North Vancouver, B.C., native has benefited from playing alongside Colorado Avalanche first-round choice Duncan Siemens. Thrower has been able to watch firsthand how much hard work and dedication it takes to become a top NHL prospect.
"Siemens has definitely helped me out. Its been great playing on the same team as him. I know how hard he works and that's what it takes to become a high NHL draft pick."
Similar to Siemens, Thrower also plays with a chip on his shoulder. He constantly throws his weight around and gets under the skin of opponents. He's racked up 74 penalty minutes this season, including six fighting majors.
"I'm not afraid to drop the gloves over a cheap hit or anything," says Thrower. "It's part of the game and I try and play with an edge. Other teams' players don't play as confident when they know they're going to get hit. It works to our team's benefit."
Thrower is definitely on the draft radar. He was ranked 14th among WHL skaters by NHL Central Scouting Service's preliminary rankings in November. Those were released before Thrower's hot streak. So his draft stock will likely rise in their next set of rankings. The combo of his offensive upside and edgy style has had some scouts peg him as a possible top-60 draft pick.
"The NHL draft is definitely in the back of my mind," says Thrower, who has scored eight goals and 31 points in 41 games. "I try not to think about it, but it's hard not to. I'm just going to continue to work hard and hopefully scouts will take notice."
1. How would you describe yourself as a player?
"I'm a guy who works hard every night and can move the puck and play good in my own end. I'm more of a two-way defenceman. I can play in all situations."
2. Do you try and model your game after an NHL defenceman?
"Yeah, I try and play like (Vancouver Canucks defenceman) Kevin Bieksa. He plays a solid two-way game and that's what I try and do. Be a guy that can make stuff happen at both ends of the ice."
3. Who's your favourite NHL team?
"The Vancouver Canucks. I'm from there, so I grew up cheering for them."
4. Who do you room with on road trips? And does he do anything that annoys you?
"We haven't been on a road trip in a while, but usually Duncan Siemens. He usually leaves the television on and that's kind of annoying. I always have to wake up and turn it off."
5. What's your favourite television show or movie?
"My favourite television show is Two and a Half Men. It's just a show that makes me laugh."
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen