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Luke Green awaits NHL's call

Like many Nova Scotia kids, Luke Green grew up with Sidney Crosby as his favourite player. This weekend, Green will find out where he will begin his National Hockey League career.
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Like many Nova Scotia kids, Luke Green grew up with Sidney Crosby as his favourite player.

This weekend, Green, from Hammonds Plains, will find out where he will begin his own National Hockey League career.

Green, a six-foot defenceman for the Saint John Sea Dogs best known for his offensive talents, is among the highest-rated Nova Scotia players for the NHL draft, set to open Friday night in Buffalo.

It's not likely that Green will be picked among the first 30 selections on Friday.

Many of the draft previews rate him in the later part of the second round, most likely between the 50th and 60th selections. Rounds 2-7 are slated for Saturday.

"I think about it like everyone else and you definitely want to go as high as possible," the 18-year-old said this week before leaving for Buffalo.

"But, at the end of the day, wherever you get drafted, that just puts you on the starting line. That's where the real work starts. You are just another player in their system and there's a long way to go before you can play on their team."

Green, who played for Newbridge Academy in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, was the first pick in the 2014-15 QMJHL draft. He had six goals and 30 assists in 60 games as a rookie.

On a Saint John team that went deep into the QMJHL playoffs this year, he had 10 goals and 25 assists in the regular season.

He is joined in Saint John by twin brother Matt, who is a forward. Both brothers are also outstanding golfers.

Scouts accept Luke has what it takes as a skater and puck carrier. NHL Central Scouting has him listed No. 40 among North American skaters.

There also appears to be a consensus among the same scouts that he needs to improve as a a defender.

To go somewhere in the second round would be just fine, Green said.

"That's awesome. Anywhere in the draft is good. I'm not trying to think too much of where or when I'm going to go, but it's just more about the team that drafts me, that they have faith in me and believe in my ability. That's the biggest thing."

He credits a couple of Nova Scotia guys Danny Flynn and Paul Boutilier  for propelling him forward. Both coaches in Saint John have an NHL background.

"They've taught me a lot about taking my game to the next level and becoming a more well-rounded defenceman," Green said. "I think I progressed nicely and I look forward to starting again in Saint John."

He hears what's been said about the limitations in his game. It makes him that much more driven to get better.

"I've always been an offensive defenceman and always just loved that side of the game and was good at it," he said. "But maybe when you are so focused on offence, you are not looked at as being as capable defensively. I think I was always pretty good defensively, but I think if you are an offensive guy, you can't be a liability in your own zone. So it's about becoming a player that the coaches can trust that also has offensive flair."

He's excited about the prospect of attending an NHL training camp before returning to Saint John, where the Sea Dogs have a strong returning group and Memorial Cup aspirations.

Goalie Evan Fitzpatrick, a native of St. John's, N.L., who played for Newbridge before joining the QMJHL in Sherbrooke, also projects somewhere in the second or third round this weekend. He is considered the top North American goalie prospect.

Sydney forward Mitchell Balmas and Halifax goalies Reilly Pickard and Mark Grametbauer also have a chance to be selected.

@justplainmonty

 



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