NHL Draft Preview: Canadian Junior – Forwards

The Canadian Junior-A level typically has between 10 – 15 players in an entry draft. Here is a look at the forwards who may have their named called this June in Buffalo.

Player (POS) League GP PTS pts/g
Tyson Jost (C/LW) BCHL 48 104 2.1667
Colin Grannary (LW/RW) BCHL 55 76 1.3818
Jack Jeffers (F) OJHL 45 61 1.3556
Josh Dickinson (C) OJHL 47 53 1.1277
Christopher Berger (LW) OJHL 45 52 1.1556
Justin Young (C) AJHL 56 60 1.07143
Luke Keenan (C) OJHL 43 44 1.02326
Brett Murray (LW) CCHL 48 46 0.95833
Liam Finlay (RW) BCHL 51 49 0.96078
Kyle Betts (C) BCHL 47 43 0.91489

 

Tyson Jost

  • POS: Center / Shoots: Right / H: 6’ / W: 190 lbs /DOB: Mar, 17, 1998
  • Elite Prospects: Tyson Jost is a crafty goal-scorer that carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. As someone who thinks and plays at a fast tempo, it comes as no surprise that he creates a lot of energy as an offensive catalyst. He sees the ice very well and has the willingness and determination to win battles in the tough areas. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive forward with top-6 potential at the next level. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
  • The Draft Analyst: Jost has an excellent shot to compliment his extraordinary passing acumen, using soft hands and a quick release to turn a bad pass in his skates into a well-placed attempt at the net. Jost’s shot accuracy is top notch, and he will beat you from the inside of the ice or outside from his arsenal of moves. He is a three-zone center with decent size who will not necessarily avoid physical play, and he’s shown to control the puck while taking a beating.
  • DraftSite.com: Shifty centre with impressive feet and stickhandling ability. Can stickhandle in a phone booth. A team leader who on the ice and in the room. Great vision and recognition in the offensive end, so he spreads away from teammates and then pinpoint passes to their sticks on the give and go. A terrific finisher with a great shot. Disciplined worker in his own zone. Wins puck battles and turns them into chances. He knows where to place himself so that the puck can find him. Makes his teammates better. Not the finished product and needs more, lower body strength and muscle. He has committed to the University of North Dakota. –Bill Placzek

Colin Grannary

  • POS: C-RW Shoots: Right H: 6’ / W: 170 / DOB: Sept, 24, 1997
  • USA Today: Colin Grannary (28 goals, 74 points) was the best forward on the ice all night for either team and was named Team West player of the game for his efforts. The Merritt Centennials’ center refused to quit on pucks all night and was relentless in the offensive zone. He showcased tremendous speed, stops/starts and pivots. Grannary also provided all the offense Team West could muster with their only goal, and skated around Team East’s defense with ease. Red Line’s man in attendance was impressed with his strong work ethic, and described a slippery player who was hard to catch and provided energy every shift. He was noticeable every shift and also terrific in the faceoff circle.
  • Zachary DeVine Grannary was a fine mix of skill, tenacity, speed, and desire. Noticed on the ice nearly every shift, created scoring chances offensively for himself and teammates. Needs some help defensively, but forechecking was smart and effective.

Jack Jeffers

  • POS: Center / Shoots: Left / H: 6’ / W: 175 / DOB: Sept, 21, 1997

InsideHalton “He’s an elite skater, an NHL-type skater,” Mark Jooris Burlington Cougars coach said. “He’s got very good poise and vision with the puck.” But Jooris wasn’t always thrilled with how those skills were being utilized. Too often, he saw Jeffers taking shortcuts in the defensive zone, looking to spring the next rush. So after a dismal 11-win season came to an end, he sat down with the 6-foot, 170-pound centre. “We had a very candid conversation,” Jooris said. “I said, ‘Do you want to help this team be successful or do you want to go play shinny?’ Some kids will say, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it,’ but he’s 100 per cent bought in. He’s playing the right way, both ways. It’s been great to see.”

Josh Dickinson

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / W: 185 / DOB Nov, 17, 1997
  • ProspectsHockey.wordpress.com: “Dickinson is a smooth skating, offensively skilled centre,” said Marr. “With strong offensive hockey sense, he is a very good playmaker and knows how to be in the right place at the right time. Dickinson’s quick to recognize opportunity and has shown a good scoring touch. His game has continued to grow and improve over the course of the season.”

Christopher Berger

  • POS: LW / Shoots: L / H: 5’10 / W: 170 / DOB: Apr, 14, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: A feisty and physical yet undersized forward who can play in all situations at either the wing or up the middle, Berger is an explosive offensive talent who likes to use his powerful leg drive and tenacity to wreak havoc on opponents during the forecheck. Berger, who was drafted by Des Moines and committed to Brown University (ECAC), is the perfect player for the half-court game, so to speak, in that he can change the momentum of a relatively stagnant game either from relentless pressure or top-end skill. He’s a very good stickhandler who keeps the puck close to his body to limit poke checks and turnovers, so he’s a good option to man the wall on the power play.
  • SBN College Hockey: “– He’s not overly big, but he does a good job of maneuvering through traffic with a combination of speed and good puck skills. He did a nice job distributing the puck as well as finding the back of the net here this week.”

Justin Young

  • POS: C / Shoots: R / H: 6’ / W: 175 / DOB: Dec, 23, 1997
  • Alaska Nanooks: “Justin is a very coachable player that does all of the little things right. He is a complete player that can play in all situations. Justin has matured into a good leader and is very well respected by his teammates, staff and within the community. We are very proud of his commitment to the Nanooks and look forward to working with Justin on his preparation for college hockey,” Young’s head coach Joey Bouchard described of the forward.

Luke Keenan

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’1 / W: 185 / DOB: July, 22, 1998
  • wordpress.comIn his own zone Keenan has shutdown forward capabilities, clogging shooting and passing lanes effectively, anticipating the play with effectiveness while displaying strong positional play. Tenacious in puck pursuit, Keenan takes direct routes to pucks, engages physically and shows an aggressiveness on the forecheck.

Brett Murray

Liam Finley

  • POS: RW / Shoots: R / H: 5’7 / 155 / DOB: Feb, 2, 1997
  • Hockey Now: Vipers head coach Mark Ferner said, Finlay has a good hockey IQ and succeeds despite his size, comparing him to skilled, undersized NHL forwards like Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Johnson.

Kyle Betts

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’ / W: 165 / DOB: Sept, 17, 1997
  • Kyle Betts commits to Cornell. A smart, offensive minded pivot with good feet/explosiveness. He’s had a heck of a past 18 months. — Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune)April 30, 2015

Here’s a look at players drafted in the past 12 years. 

Season Player League GP PTS PTS/G
2006-07 Kyle Turris BCHL 53 121 2.2830189
2008-09 Brandon Pirri OJHL 44 94 2.1363636
2009-10 Beau Bennett BCHL 56 120 2.1428571
2006-07 Casey Pierro-Zabotel BCHL 55 116 2.1090909
2007-08 Sean Collins MJHL 60 115 1.9166667
2003-04 Travis Zajac BCHL 59 112 1.8983051
2007-08 Corey Trivino OPJHL 39 69 1.7692308
2007-08 Joe Colborne AJHL 55 90 1.6363636
2008-09 Reilly Smith OJHL 49 75 1.5306122
2006-07 Riley Nash BCHL 55 84 1.5272727
2006-07 Matt Frattin AJHL 58 83 1.4310345
2006-07 Jamie Benn BCHL 53 65 1.2264151
2008-09 Curtis McKenzie BCHL 53 64 1.2075472
2008-09 Corban Knight AJHL 61 72 1.1803279
2007-08 Derek Grant BCHL 57 63 1.1052632

 10 Thoughts

  1. In 2006-07 the average BCHL team scored 3.77 Goals/Game versus 3.44 G/G this past season.
  2. If a 1st year draft eligible player averages above 1.5 Pts/G in Junior A there’s a good chance he will play 100+ games.
  3. I’d expect a player that has NHL potential would need to score close to or above 1 Pts/G.
  4. Projecting a power forward timeline is a little trickier. At the time of the draft statistically McKenzie, Benn averaged just over 1.2 Pts/G.
  5. Tyson Jost, is not only a great name but a legit prospect. Based on his skill-set (complete two-way player with top 6 offensive upside) he is the best junior draft prospect since Turris. There can be a case that he is on par with Turris, given the decrease in scoring in the BCHL versus Turris’s draft year.
  6. Outside of Jost there is a lot of question marks with regards to the forward group; i. Dickinson, Grannary & Young are all late 97 birthdays ii. With the exception of Murray all the players are either average size or on the smaller size iii. The only power forward Murray is a little shy offensively.
  7. Murray will likely be the second forward taken. I’m not sure if the offense is there for him to be selected within the first three rounds, but if a team has multiple picks after the 4th round starts he seems like a he could be a solid pick. A player that’s 6’4 has good offensive instincts and will likely have another 3 – 4 years development time as he’s committed to Penn State for 2017-18 season.
  8. Outside of Jost & Murray, I think the rest are late picks, 6th or 7th I think you can take a flyer on one of Grannary, Jeffers, Dickinson or Berger in the later rounds. Basically, a draft and follow – in 5 years you might have a prospect.
  9. Another prospect of note is Kohen Olischefski, from the BCHL, (.84 Pts/G) who committed to University of Denver. He’s a speedy skater, good size (6’1 165) who is projected to have good upside when his body fills out.
  10. Other players on the radar but unlikely to be drafted are; i. Dylan Thiessen (C/LW) from MJHL with .84 pts/g, ii. Jacob Harris (LW) from OJHL with .77 pts/g, iii. Layton Parsons (LW) MJHL with .49 pts/g, iv. Donovan Rehill (LW) from MJHL with .29 pts/g, v. Taden Rattie (RW) from AJHL with .36 pts/g

 

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One thought on “NHL Draft Preview: Canadian Junior – Forwards

  1. Pingback: NHL Draft: Top 130 Forwards | Oiler's Future

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