Originally written on Shutdown Line  |  Last updated 11/4/14

One of the benefits of having a team owner who also operates a OHL team is getting the inside scoop on some of the prospects there. It has been something the Carolina Hurricanes have been taking advantage of the last few seasons with the Plymouth Whalers, who are owned by Peter Karmanos. A good number of Carolina prospects over the years have played some of their junior hockey in Plymouth and a few players in their system right now played with the Whalers last season. We discussed one in Beau Schmitz but today we will be focusing on another defenseman in Austin Levi.

Levi was selected in the third round of the 2010 draft and was considered a bit of a risky pick at the time because he was considered a "raw prospect." Out of the draft, he was known as a very athletic player with great size but not much hockey sense. He was one of the players who many thought could be a great all-around defenseman or a total bust depending on how he developed. It has now been two years since Levi was drafted and he has come a long way while spending the last four seasons in Plymouth. Levi has been billed as one of the top shutdown defensemen in the OHL and has provided some decent offensive production, as well with 30 points in 64 games. He also had a terrific post-season offensively with 10 points in 13 games.

The most promising thing about Levi is that he has gotten better every season and that's evident if you look at the stat-sheet and the praise from some of the people who have watched him. He has always had the tools and the size to be a solid defenseman and he has been making use of his athleticism over the years to become the player the scouts hoped he could turn into. Levi still isn't quite there yet because he's only played against junior competition but he only just turned 20 in February and has certainly gotten the defensive side of the game down according to those who have watched him.

Levi's big frame and towering stature make him an effective defensive player but it is his physical play that makes him a force to be reckoned with. He has been known to deliver punishing hits to opposing forwards and make life as difficult for them as possible once they enter the zone. It might be easier for him to do this while he's playing agianst smaller forwards in junior hockey, but Levi is still decently sized at 6'4" and 205 lbs. Another nice asset about Levi is that his game isn't completely one-dimensional as he is also very skilled at carrying the puck and is capable at leading a breakout. This was actually one of his strongest assets when he was drafted but his game in the defensive zone has improved tremendously since then. Something else that might catch the mind of stat-minded folks is that his penalty minutes have decreased over the years while his physical and defensive game has gotten much stronger, which could be a good sign for his future. A lot of big physical defensemen tend to take bad penalties but it appears that Levi has been able to correct this during his time in the OHL.

While Levi's development has been nothing but impressive, he has still yet to face any competition outside of junior hockey, which is something that will change next season, hopefully. His offense hasn't come around as much as some would have hoped, but the Canes have a bigger need for a shutdown defenseman like Levi has developed into these last couple of years. I think a year in the AHL playing against some older, larger forwards will be a good test for him and should give the Canes a better idea of where he is in his development. I have talked about how some of Carolina's surplus of defensive prospects need to do something to make themselves stand out amongst the pack. Levi is one of the blue-liners who I think made himself stand out this season. Still need to see how he does in the pros before he gets ranked any higher, though.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

Ronda Rousey beats Cat Zingano in 14 seconds

Dick Vitale will not call Duke-UNC rematch either

PHOTO: Auburn coaches, players wear ribbons for Mason

Dustin Penner apologizes after sending rape joke on Twitter

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cowboys to use franchise tag on Dez Bryant

Report: Panthers officially parting ways with Greg Hardy

Could the Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG: Inglewood stadium would be a terrorism target

Former Knick Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Report: Blackhawks, Caps discussed Patrick Sharp trade

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

Chris Sale out three weeks with foot injury

NHL analyst calls out media over Blackhawks report

Alabama recruits aim to bring the dynasty back

WATCH: Jon Jones, Rumble Johnson prank Dana White

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Ray Rice addresses domestic violence case, his future & more

Kentucky raffling off Wildcats-themed motorcycle

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell throws down monster alley-oop

WATCH: Tyler Hansbrough, Festus Ezeli ejected for fight

WATCH: Russell Westbrook literally gets dent in his face

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Rousey beats Zingano in 14 seconds

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Could Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG plays dirty with Inglewood stadium

Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Westbrook got dent in his cheek

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.