The dreams started early for Kevin Marshall.

The Lewiston Maineiacs’ defenseman – a gritty, hard-nosed 18-year-old who earned a reputation last year as one of the toughest defensemen in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to battle in the corners – will likely realize his childhood visions of being drafted into the National Hockey League in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend.

And his dreams will likely come with little sleep.

“Since I’m little, and I started to play hockey, my goal was to get drafted into the NHL so I can get a chance to play in the league,” Marshall said. “We’re leaving (this) morning at six, so I don’t think I’m going to sleep, and I don’t think I’m going to sleep (tonight), either.”

Marshall has been ranked as high as 10th among available defensemen in this year’s NHL draft, which is by many experts pegged to be forward-heavy. In two seasons with the Maineiacs, Marshall has played in 131 regular-season games, registered seven goals and 36 assists for 43 points and accumulated 253 penalty minutes. At that pace, given two more years patrolling the Maineiacs’ blue line, Marshall may one day pass Sheldon Wenzel’s team record of 526 career penalty minutes.

No doubt his physical play and his ability to skate well with the offense as well as in his own zone has earned him his current Central Scouting ranking of 47th overall. But Marshall isn’t thinking about where he might go in this weekend’s draft. He’s just hoping he’s drafted at all.

“You always want to be the highest you can be,” Marshall said. “But anywhere I get drafted will be fine. There are something like 5,000 players eligible for the draft, and only 210 get drafted, so I’m going to be happy either way if I’m going first round or seventh round, because I’ll have a chance to go to an NHL training camp.”

Marshall was one of two Maineiacs who attended the NHL scouting combine in Toronto in early June. He said that experience helped prepare him for what may happen this weekend.

“I was pretty proud to go to that, because it was only 100 players,” Marshall said. “It was a privilege for me to go there. All of the teams, every one of them was there, the media, too. We had a big schedule, too, like at eight o’clock you go to interview with Carolina, five minutes after you were with Montreal, and five minutes after you were with Dallas. It was pretty exciting.”

Marshall’s moment in the sun this weekend will probably not come in Round 1, scheduled for Friday night (TV: Versus) at 7:30 p.m., but again, Marshall said, you never know.

“If a team wants to pick you, they will,” Marshall said. “That’s why I probably won’t sleep. You just don’t know.”

One way or another, his dreams will dissolve into reality.

KEVIN MARSHALL BREAKOUT

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’1″ Weight: 195 pounds

Regular-season games played for the Maineiacs: 131

Playoff games played for the Maineiacs: 22

Regular season stats: 7 G, 36 A, 43 Pts., 253 PIM

Playoff stats: 0 G, 8 A, 8 Pts., 50 PIM

Final Central Scouting rank: 47

Final International Scouting rank: 56

Final TSN rank: 47

Final Red Line Report rank: 23

NHL DRAFT BREAKOUT

NHL Draft specs

When: Friday and Saturday, June 22-23

Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Round 1); 10 a.m. Saturday (Rounds 2-7)

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

How to see it: Versus (Round 1 only), coverage starts at 7 p.m.

Where to see it locally: The Shipyard Lounge at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee will provide a viewing party. Doors open at 6 p.m. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.


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