Owen Protz - a bully defenseman

Owen Protz is built like David Savard and he loves to use his body to bully the opposition.
Sudbury Wolves v Oshawa Generals
Sudbury Wolves v Oshawa Generals / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Kent Hughes made the most of the Montreal Canadiens draft picks, but one name that doesn't draw much attention is Owen Protz.

The reason for that is because he isn't a flashy defenseman, but more of a shutdown, modern era defender. He is big, but has great mobility and transports the puck quite well up the ice, although he would benefit from using his feet a bit more and being more selfish with the puck. Given his stature, he is able to fend of attackers and shield the puck well.

Protz doesn't project as a big offensive contributor, but he resembles the type of defender that helps win games in the trenches. During long playoff battles, having a physically imposing defender will wear down the opponents. So, while he won't be on the power play, he projects as a fifth or sixth defenseman, who may find some assignments on the penalty kill.

Another left shot defender who could skate with Laval in the future

In all likelihood, Protz will play in the Ontario Hockey League for another couple of seasons, before making the jump to the pros. The fact that he is already striking fear in opponents at 18, it feels apparent that he is going to leave his mark on the OHL. Like Arber and Florian Xhekaj, Protz will likely enter the professional ranks viewed as a guy who is physically prepared to play against bigger and faster players.

It seems fitting that Protz plays for the Bulldogs because describing him as a bulldog on the ice is so fitting. If he doesn't have the puck, he chooses violence to get it back, but he doesn't throw hits that will harm his team by putting himself out of position. If it isn't the right time to throw a hit he will use a smart defensive stick to shut things down in the neutral zone.

Protz joins a clogged up left defence prospect group for the Habs, but what he has on his side is time. It is likely that he will see many other defenders traded away or established before he arrives, but I think that he could develop into a nice depth option. If not, then he will have a solid career in the AHL.