2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Zeev Buium

Zeev Buium playing for Denver University.

The Scouting Report:

Zeev Buium is an American defenseman who is projected to go early in the first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. A graduate of the US National Development program, he spent his draft year season with the Denver University, where his game improved astronomically. He is coming off a fantastic season, including an NCAA D1 National Championship, a Hobey Baker nomination, and a U20 WJC Gold Medal. Buium is one of (if not) his class’s most well-rounded and steady defensemen. He was a huge part of Denver’s championship and improved seemingly every night, all as a college freshman.

Standing at 6’0″ and 183 lbs, the California native is exceptionally skilled and smart on the ice, and whoever selects him is getting a future top-four NHL defenseman. It is also worth noting that while Buium doesn’t play like a prototypical ‘offensive defenseman,’ he has produced points at the highest rate seen by a defenseman at the NCAA level, with 1.22 per game. All while being rock-solid defensively.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #10 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #7 by Elite Prospects
Ranked #13 by TSN/Bob McKenzie
Ranked #4 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #4 by Sportsnet/Bukala
Ranked #10 by Draft Prospects Hockey
Ranked #5 by DobberProspects

Conrad Jack of Inside The Rink has Zeev Buium projected at 10th overall.

Diving Deeper

Like many prospects of Buium’s caliber, he possesses a wide range of attributes that are attractive to NHL scouts and management alike. Let’s take a closer look at some of the qualities that make up his game.

Skating

One of the first things that NHL scouts notice about Buium’s game is his skating. He has lots of speed and an excellent foundation routed in edgework and strength. Buium is fantastic in transition and moves exceptionally well with and without the puck on his stick. He is comfortable with the puck and moves effortlessly through the neutral zone. There is also an impressive level of deception within his style, in which he uses quick strides and head movement to get around opponents smoothly. Pair this with his fantastic positioning, and you have got one of the better skaters in the 2024 NHL Draft Class.

“Buium’s skating is his best asset, being able to control the play and change the pace at any moment. He’s quick when walking the line and can turn on a dime when dealing with pressure.”

Peter Baracchini – The Hockey Writers

Hockey IQ

This isn’t intended as a slight to Buium, but as skilled as he is, his best asset may well be his mind. He displays a knowledge of the game that is so elite, it’s almost hard to believe. He sees the ice so well and understands the game with a level of maturity that is beyond his years. It is also very rare to see this translate to both ends of the ice for a young defenseman. Buium is as smart offensively as he is defensively. Even though I wouldn’t categorize him as a ‘flashy’ player, his overall hockey IQ is nearly impossible to ignore.

“Buium has the makings of an elite defenseman, and it all starts with his brain. I would contend that he is the most intelligent defenseman in this draft class, if not the smartest overall player. He processes information at such a high speed and with such efficiency that Buium often finds ways to impress in every shift, regardless of the situation.”

Ethan Hetu – McKeen’s Hockey

Areas for Improvement

While Buium’s game is otherwise very well-rounded, his game is not without flaws. The main area for improvement in my opinion is regarding Buium’s physicality. He’s not particularly under-sized however he does tend to shy away from physicality at times. Buium could also greatly benefit from adding some grit and ‘snarl’ to his game. Specifically in terms of puck battles and scrums in the corners. While his lack of physicality didn’t stick out at the NCAA level, he could get pushed around in the NHL.

On-Ice Abilities

Aside from the aspects mentioned above, Buium has a very broad skill set that makes him such an enticing prospect. Buium has a great playmaking touch and was over a point per game in Division 1 as the second youngest player in the league (besides Macklin Celebrini). When he uses his elite vision, he can find open teammates with ease and thread passes through the seam to set his teammates up for easy tap-ins.

Although it isn’t discussed as much as the other attributes, Buium has an excellent shot. It is accurate and powerful, both from the rush and from the point.

Lastly, Buium is clutch. He has been a winner at every level so far and seems to have the ability to rise to the occasion whenever the situation warrants it. He doesn’t shy away from the bright lights and is a confident and effective player up and down the lineup.

Prospect Potential

Realistically, Buium has the potential to be a top-four NHL defenseman, even a top-pairing guy. This is a prospect that is low risk and very high reward. If he can continue to grow and develop his game at the same rate that he has over this past season, he is going to be a stud. He has the potential to play powerplay, penalty kill, and shutdown minutes against the opponent’s top lines. Additionally, I think Buium is a player who can make the jump to the NHL relatively soon and start making a positive impact almost immediately.

Best Potential Fit

Columbus (4th) – This could be a bit of a stretch, but with the quality of defensemen in this draft, I could certainly see Columbus taking a player like Buium. With his well-rounded game, he may be one of the safer choices at defense, and Columbus will need a #1 D in the future.

Ottawa (7th) – Ottawa has some holes in their D-core, and I think that Buium would be an excellent choice to strengthen the team. Especially considering that Chychrun is likely on his way out of the nation’s capital.

Seattle (9th) – The majority of Seattle’s prospects are forwards, and I think that a player like Buium would be a fantastic addition to the pool. If he can continue to develop and become a top defenseman, then there is a clear path for him with the Kraken.

Final Thoughts

While ultimately, it is difficult to say where Buium will land for certain, I feel that he has the potential to sneak into the top five. He has undeniable skill and has had insane development over the past season, which I imagine will continue. If he were to fall out of the top ten, whoever calls his name would be getting a steal with that pick, as Buium is trending to be an effective top-pairing defenseman in the very near future. This is a name you are not going to want to forget, and once he breaks into the NHL, I don’t think you will.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Ryan Scott

Maritimer, lifelong hockey fan and Prospect Writer.

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