Sean Durzi has had a weird couple of years.
By all accounts, he should’ve been drafted last year. But what was initially labeled a minor ankle injury turned out to be an extra bone growing there (what the orthopedic community calls Os Trigonum). He had to get surgery, and for guys like Durzi, who are puck movers, that means rehabbing...and that he might lose a step. His goal total cratered (though he had 38 points) as he dealt with this, and he went undrafted in 2017.
That didn’t break him, and instead he re-dedicated himself to hockey, getting tryouts with the Islanders and Leafs, before returning to the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack.
And he promptly lit the OHL up.
Durzi is a 6’0 right-handed defender who produces better than a lot of forwards on Owen Sound’s roster, leading their blueliners in points by 10. Durzi brings a level of skill that you would think belongs on a forward’s description: a powerful, tricky shot release, an ability to take space from defenders and use that to their disadvantage, and a complete willingness to jump into the play as a potent 3rd/4th chance to the attack. An ability that served him well, as he ended up with 49 points in 40 games.
As for the defensive game, Durzi uses positioning and a solid skating game to keep opposing players looking for opportunities instead of taking them. Right now he’s well aware of the fact he’s not 200 lbs. and that he’s 6’0, so physicality isn’t a priority. What makes him a real treat however, is that he can happily drag the puck out of his own end himself with frightening efficiency. His passing and speed when it comes to getting the puck out makes him a real nightmare for forecheckers as they suddenly find themselves transitioning to defense before their very eyes.
But since he’s a 2nd rounder, there are still elements of his game that could use fine tuning, and the first and most obvious is that he is somewhat small for a defender and that does sometimes come as a detriment to him along the boards. Another is his skating, but not in the way you might think; his backward and lateral skating is actually a strength, but his forward skating still has some areas to improve upon; namely his agility suffering a bit when he has to go up ice.
One X-Factor, good and for ill, is that he’s going to be one of the oldest defenders pick-able by that point in the draft and will be 20 by the time the 2018-19 season started, meaning he could easily slot in as an AHLer if the team who drafts him so desires. He’d also be 20, and that means his development might be a bit closer to “done” than you might think.
Durzi projects anywhere from the late 2nd to 3rd round. Making him a choice comes with the idea that he’ll be a productive, good moving puck mover with time and dedication made to improving his forward skating ability, and with improving his strength with good coaching.
Ranked #37th by NHL Central Scounting among North American Skaters
Ranked #52nd by FutureConsiderations.com
Sean Durzi Statline
|2015-16||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||45||10||6||16|
|2016-17||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||60||2||36||38|
|2017-18||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||40||15||34||49|