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Bill Houlder on Brandon Coe: “He needs to understand he can be a dominant player.”

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“He really doesn’t know how good he can be.”

That’s North Bay Battalion assistant coach Bill Houlder’s assessment of 2020 fourth-round pick Brandon Coe. Yup, that’s the same Houlder who manned the San Jose Sharks blueline from 1997 to 1999.

Houlder tipped us off: “When you see him in camp, you’re not going to have any difficulty finding him. You’re going to probably wonder, wow really, he was in the fourth round?”

What’s going to catch our eye? “His straight-ahead speed is for sure what he’s known for,” Houlder offered.

An amateur scout from an outside NHL organization told San Jose Hockey Now recently that Coe’s speed was top-10 in his draft class. That’s especially impressive for a 6-foot-4 player.

So how did Coe fall so far in the Draft?

“It’s not that he doesn’t want it,” Houlder shared. “[He doesn’t always realize] the opportunities he gets because of his speed, what he can generate offensively because of his speed. And also, what he can produce because of his size. There’s just so many tools.”

The toolbox is definitely there, the teenager just needs to learn to use it consistently.

“He needs to learn to use that speed also,” Houlder added. “You can’t always play fast. Because then, the defenders know how to play you.”

But if Coe puts it together?

“He can play many different roles on a team,” Houlder said. “A top-six role? Sure, he has that speed and skill-set. Can he play a third-line role? Man, he can be a punishing, punishing checker.”

Erik and Sheng Peng from San Jose Hockey Now are joined by North Bay Battalion assistant coach and former San Jose Sharks defenseman Bill Houlder to talk about 2020 fourth-round pick Brandon Coe. We learn about Coe’s untapped potential and what he needs to work on before heading to the NHL (7:30). Houlder also goes into what type of role Coe could play for the Sharks (12:00). And in a tease for Part 2 of this interview, where we get into Houlder’s San Jose Sharks career, he reminisces about how cool it was to wear Cooperalls in juniors in the ’80s (17:00). Check out the podcast on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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