(DALLAS) — With their first selection of the 2018 NHL Draft, No. 53 overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins honored their offensive tradition by drafting Calen Addison, of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“I don’t even have the words. I’ve dreamt about this since the day I was born. I’ve always been a hockey player and this is a dream come true,” said Addison. “I like to have fun out there.”
The 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds defenseman is part of the new breed of defenseman. His skating and puck skills grade as elite. McKeen’s Hockey graded as the fifth-rated offensive defenseman in the draft. The consensus among scouts and Addison is he likes to push offense with quick-up passes and by joining the rush.
Addison, 18, provided offense from the Lethbridge blue line, often feeding best friend and Penguins prospect Jordy Bellerive. Addison scored 65 points (11g, 54a) in 68 games and bloomed as the season progressed. He was given credit for propelling the undermanned Lethbridge Hurricanes into the WHL playoffs.
“(Bellerive) is pretty much my best friend and we talk every single day. This is crazy,” said Addison as he shook his head. “I don’t even know what we’ll talk about after (today). He hasn’t said one bad thing about the organization.”
The young defenseman scored 19 points (7g, 16a) in 16 playoffs games as Lethbridge reached the Eastern Conference Final.
Some scouts have knocked his strength and ability to defend the low zone. His compete level has also been questioned in some corners, including by McKeen’s.