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  • Top 25 Under 25: Louis Belpedio Falls Back Eight to Land at #22


    Belpedio also played for the U.S. U20 team during the World Junior Championships. He again was recognized for his leadership and was named an alternate captain of the team. He scored one goal and one assist in seven games. The team finished with a bronze medal, capping off a successful tournament for Belpedio.

    Belpedio can move and shoot the puck. Strong skating and decisive passing typify the offensive side of his game. He is a capable shooter that likes to jump up into the play. He’s also unafraid to deliver a big hit or two, with Hockey’s Future highlighting the "ornery edge to his game."

    The biggest knock against Belpedio tends to be his size. At 5’10" and 200 lbs, he is slightly undersized for a typical NHL defenseman. However, fans of the Minnesota Wild are well aware that undersized defensemen can perform at a high level in the NHL. Belpedio’s skating, grit, and awareness appear to be more than sufficient to help him overcome any limitations his size might present. His play at the Wild’s last two prospect camps has demonstrated that Belpedio has a mature game for his age and strong vision that allowed him to handle playing against some of the exciting forward prospects of the Wild.

    The most appealing thing about Belpedio might not be his offensive prowess or tenacity, but his leadership and character. In addition to serving as alternate captains for the U.S. U20 team and the Redhawks, he was given the "C" for the U18 team for the 2014 World Junior Championships. A more visceral demonstration of his character occurred during the 2015 NCAA Regional Semifinal game against Providence.

    With about a minute left in the game and his team down by a goal, Belpedio made a diving save to prevent an empty net goal and crashed into the boards. It was a tremendous example of Belpedio’s drive.

    Like some of the other prospects discussed so far, Belpedio's drop in the rankings says more about the influx of improved talent in the Wild's prospect cupboard. Belpedio will need time to continue to develop the defensive side of his game, but with at least another season with the Redhawks and a long list of blueliner prospects ahead of him in the Wild’s depth chart, he should have plenty of time to grow his game. Smooth skating, offensively-gifted defensemen are a hot commodity in the NHL and the Minnesota Wild should be happy they’ve got Belpedio in the pipeline.

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