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Get to Know Jake DeBrusk
Date of Birth: October 17, 1996 (18)
Place of Birth: Edmonton, Alberta
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 174 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Team: Swift Current Broncos
Nothing about Jake DeBrusk’s shooting or skating screams “elite offensive forward” the way it does for prospects like Connor McDavid and Mitch Marner at the top of this draft. Nonetheless, DeBrusk finished his season with 42 goals, just two less than Timo Meier, two less than Mitch Marner, three less than Dylan Strome, and three less than Connor McDavid. When a player finds a way to score that many times, especially in the defensively inclined WHL, you have to stand up and take notice.
Jake DeBrusk is a lanky offensive winger who loves to find himself in front of the net and loves to score goals. DeBrusk is excellent in tight spaces and has a knack for finding the puck in traffic. An offensive explosion in his draft year has propelled DeBrusk up draft boards all season and should land him in the first round later this month.
What Scouts See
Cody Nickolet, WHL Scout for Future Considerations Hockey:
Jake DeBrusk is an interesting prospect. He’s not a dynamic skater, isn’t very big and doesn’t have an elite shot, yet he’s one of the best goal scorers in this draft class. He gets by thanks to elite smarts and an uncanny ability to go to the net and finish plays. He’s the son of a former NHLer in Louie DeBrusk and that only adds to his repertoire as a prospect. Expect him to come off the board very early in the second round if he doesn’t come off the board on the opening night of the draft.
A two-way winger with good mobility and scoring ability. Willing to battle in the dirty areas and can always find the puck and make the smart play below the hashmarks. Shows good creativity and deception with the puck. Good individual skills and makes good use of any time and space found. DeBrusk won’t beat you up physically, but he can definitely beat you up on the scoreboard. All-in-all, a competitive two-way winger with the natural goal scorer’s instincts.
What BSN Avalanche sees
Everything that Jake DeBrusk does on the ice, he does in order to put the puck in the back of the net. DeBrusk has a good, accurate shot and a quick release, but his real gifts in the offensive zone are his instincts and timing. DeBrusk does an excellent job of finding soft spots in the opposing defense and taking advantage of defenseman who wander out of position. He has a knack for getting to scoring areas and carries the puck aggressively.
DeBrusk has a nose for the net and an uncanny ability to locate loose pucks in traffic and get rid of them quickly. He has good hands in tight spaces and also does an excellent job of redirecting pucks shot from the point. A highlight reel on DeBrusk will feature a lot of deflections, rebounds, and tap ins near the blue paint and, with 42 goals on the season, it’s unlikely that anyone in the CHL scored more goals within 6 feet of the net this season than he did. While it’s not always pretty, DeBrusk is a player who just finds ways to score goals.
Although DeBrusk does an excellent job of popping in and out of open spaces near the goal-crease, he sometimes get outmuscled in front of the net. DeBrusk needs to get stronger in order to establish body position against larger NHL defenseman because, in a league with tighter defensive schemes, he will have less room to sneak into soft spots in the opposing defense. DeBrusk is committed defensively and backchecks well, but his positioning and defensive stick work need improvement.
DeBrusk is a strong skater when he gets up to full speed and he does a good job of carrying the puck at full speed, but his side to side motions and acceleration need work. To his credit, DeBrusk does a great job of masking his skating weaknesses. He loves to “wind it up” in his own zone on the breakout so that he reaches top speed by the time he hits his own blueline and from there he’s an excellent and aggressive puck carrier.
If Jake DeBrusk can continue to read and pull apart NHL defenses as well as he does WHL ones, he will be a top 6 goal-scoring winger in the NHL. Whether his scoring translates or not, DeBrusk will need significant work on the defensive and physical aspects of the game before he’s able to play at an NHL level. If his intelligence in the neutral and offensive zones is any indication, he should be a quick learner.
Expected Draft Position
Most scouting services list Jake DeBrusk near the bottom of the first round. If he’s not drafted in the first round, he should be an early selection on day two of the NHL Entry Draft.
How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization
The Avalanche prospect pool is rich with NHL potential defenseman, but, after forwards Joey Hishon and Conner Bleackley, their pool of forward talent is notoriously shallow. Some role players like Borna Rendulic and Samuel Henley could one day see NHL action, but their upside is limited and the Avalanche must develop scoring talent to fill eventual roster holes left by aging players like Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla.
As a high scoring winger, Jake DeBrusk would address a large void in the Avalanche development system. Most of the Avalanche’s high level forward prospects have graduated straight into the NHL, but DeBrusk (in combination with Bleackley) would give the Avs some needed future depth.
DeBrusk’s raw offensive talent isn’t impressive enough to land him on the Avs board at 10th overall, but – thanks to an extraordinarily deep draft in 2015 – there’s a chance he could drop to the second round. Should Jake DeBrusk be available when the Avalanche pick 40th overall, they would need a very good reason to pass on his potential. After all, last time this franchise drafted a #19 from Swift Current things went pretty well.
A look at some of the other prospects who could be drafted near DeBrusk