Previous Rank: #16
Melchiori was drafted out of the OJHL as he was planning to go to UMass-Lowell in the NCAA. Plans changed though, and Julian played his Draft +1 and +2 seasons in the OHL. Despite being known more for his defensive acumen, Melchiori posted a pretty impressive point production after being traded to the Oshawa Generals.
The next two seasons Melchiori posted numbers eerily similar to Ben Chiarot's Draft +3 and +4 seasons, although Julian is the younger of the two defenders. Melchiori's estimated even strength shot production per game has development slightly better though. Last season Melchiori was estimated to be second in left handed defender TOI per game for even strength and first for penalty kill situations.
Melchiori suffered through injuries most of last season, which included most of the playoffs. This coming season will tell a lot on how the organization views the young blue liner, as Melchiori and Chiarot will be battling for top depth call up.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Julian's stock fell this year. He went from a player on the rise, to a player that requires a big rebound. Mechiori saw Ben Chiarot, Brenden Kichton and Josh Morrissey pass him on the depth chart this year. His offensive game also stagnated, despite logging quality powerplay time at points in the season. Melch remains an interesting package of size and skating, this surely elevated him in these rankings, but there are some big question marks surrounding him. How Melch performs this year will have a big impact on his status as an NHL prospect.
There was a time where Melchiori was viewed with second pair, shutdown-type upside. The window however is starting to shut fast (if not already closed) on the left shot defender. Melchiori moves the puck very well with both passing and skating, while still being big and physical. He started to shoot a lot more than his previous season and even pinch in a few times. If he can add some offense to his game, it would improve his chances in getting call ups over the older Ben Chiarot.
Julien Melchiori is a prospect who despite his very limited upside has shown promise as a potential depth player. He has the size, skating and positional awareness required of depth defensemen. He has shown throughout his AHL and OHL career to be a safe defenseman. He does however lack the top end talent of true NHL defensemen. He works hard and can do fine in limited areas but lacks to take his talent to the next level. He projects well to the level of replacement level players such as Adam Pardy, who make few mistakes.
Melchiori is only one of the very few quality left-handed defenseman in our system, which works in his favour. He comes off his ELC at the end of the 2014-15 season. The Richmond Hill, Ontario native projects to be a depth player without much upside.
Melchiori makes the list because he projects to make the NHL in a bottom-pairing/number-7 type role. He looked liked he had the size and speed of an NHL in my limited viewings of him at the Jets Develpment Camp over the years, but whether or not he can make the jump to the NHL any time soon is questionable after tumbling down the depth chart this season.
2013 Top 25 Under 25 - #16 Julian Melchiori
By the Numbers - IceCaps 2013-14 season review