NHL 2010 Top Draft Prospects: Derek Forbort

Due to a gold-medal performance at the World Junior Championships and a silver-medal performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the United States has shown that they are still churning out young players as much as ever, if not more.

Defenseman Derek Forbort of US National Team Developmental Program, who has shown that he is ready to step up as an NHL defenseman and become an elite player in the league, is another one of those American players. With 14 points and a plus-12 rating in 26 games this year, Forbort has become a reliable defenseman for the United States Hockey League.

“Forbort has good top-end ability at both ends,” one scout said in an NHL.com interview. “He’s smart and skates so well, he’s almost 6-5 and he’s got everything there in front of him. It’s just a matter of filling out and getting more experience and playing. He’s probably a top-two defenseman in the NHL if he reaches his potential.”

Hockey’s Future calls Forbort “one of the most talented defensemen” for the upcoming draft. Forbort is huge, at 6-foot-5 and 198 pounds, but that doesn’t affect his skating. He is very agile for his size and makes great decisions. Some scouts say that he does not like to carry the puck, but his passes are near-perfect and it shows with the number of assists he puts up on a regular basis.

“He’ll be an elite, two-way defender,” Sports Illustrated says of Forbort. “He’s got a bit of Dan Boyle in him. He’s got a much bigger frame, but he reads the play so well and is so composed at both ends of the ice. He’ll eat a lot of minutes and play both the penalty kill and the power play.”

Forbort can play on both special teams units, as seven of his 14 points this year have come on the power play. The Duluth, Minnesota native can also play a role as a shutdown defenseman on the penalty kill.

His slapshot is incredible, which often leads to huge rebounds off a goalie’s pads or even off the back boards. However, Forbort’s biggest strength is his defensive skill. He has great balance for his size and has a unique ability to anticipate the play. His hockey sense is out of this world, which is reflected by his plus/minus rating.

He can help break up plays single-handedly while getting in the shooting lane to block numerous shots in a row. He’s never afraid to go into the corners and he is very aggressive and tough to get away from in front of the net.

Forbort is committed to the University of North Dakota next season, but if he continues to play as well as he has in the past season, he may find himself in the big league at the end of training camp.

Alan Bass is a writer for  The Hockey News  and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and  Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the general manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

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