With the 166th pick, the Hurricanes selected Brendan de Jong, a 19-year-old defenseman from British Columbia. De Jong has played in the WHL the past three seasons with the Portland Winterhawks. Last season he tallied 23 points in 72 games (8 G, 15 A), a big improvement from just 8 points in 72 games the season before.
De Jong is a tall 6’5” blue liner with a 192 lbs frame, and has a lot of experience in one of the best amateur hockey leagues. He was a +5 last season and made it to the second round of the WHL playoffs with the Winterhawks.
De Jong took a big step forward last year with Portland. DUBNetwork had this to say about the overage defenseman who was draft-eligible last year but not selected:
This season the 1998-born rearguard has exhibited increased confidence in rushing the puck more and more with each game. His improved skating stride is a big reason for that. It is still far from where he wants it though.
And it seems that he knows what he needs to do to keep on an NHL track, telling DUBNetwork “The biggest thing for me this year is putting on weight and getting stronger. Of course during the summer I’m looking to put on weight and get stronger but the biggest thing is doing that during the year and learning how to use that to my advantage.”