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Get to Know Jansen Harkins
Date of Birth: 5/23/1997
Place of Birth: North Vancouver, BC, CAN
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 181 lbs
Team (League): Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Simply put, NHL teams love players like Jansen Harkins. He’s a defensively sound center who works hard and plays the pivot, making him a valuable commodity in the NHL even if his offensive game never fully develops much beyond what it already is. He’s a classic plug-and-play style of player where you draft him, let him finish with a dominant junior season or two, bring him to the AHL and let him start battling for a job with the big club.
The real lack of mystery or sexiness to the predictability of Harkins makes it hard to get excited about the possibility of your team selecting him but when he’s in the NHL and chewing up difficult minutes and allowing the star players to get the bulk of offensive zone starts, you’ll be damn glad your team pulled the trigger on him on draft day.
Harkins got his start in the WHL by living with and learning from Avalanche prospect and former Prince George Cougar captain Troy Bourke, who helped set Harkins on the path towards being a well-round player and top draft pick.
What Scouts See
A blue collar type two-way center. Heads-up player who makes high-percentage plays in all three zones; efficient in all situations. Smooth skater. Out-working the opposition and being hard to play against are leadership traits that Jansen Harkins most definitely embodies.Has been getting many comparisons, due to his high-end playmaking ability and all-around game, to the player David Krejci. Comparable adaptive game and ability to shoot as well as pass the puck.
Cody Nickolet, Scout from Future Considerations Hockey:
Jansen Harkins is a smart and projectable center. He thinks the game at a high level and fast rate of speed. His skating has come a long way over the last couple of years but could still stand to improve as he gets bigger and stronger. He’s a true 200-foot player and has length which helps him both offensively and defensively.
I think he’s a bit more of a project than some of the other first round calibre guys out there but he has all the tools to be a safe and solid 2nd line center in the NHL if his development goes well.
What BSN Avalanche sees
Harkins is an extremely hard worker and shines in the defensive end of the rink. His offensive game lacks panache but he keeps it simple, maximizes his opportunities and isn’t a player who waste a lot of motion. He’s a natural born leader and his game is very safe, a cut and paste future high end third liner or low end second liner. He is an impressive playmaker but not a game-breaker. Even if he doesn’t become a game-changer in the NHL, Harkins is still very likely to be in the NHL for a long time. Very safe.
His skating could stand to use more work and while by no means is it bad, it definitely isn’t one of the more impressive assets of his game. He reads the game well and has good hockey sense but lacks the natural creativity of high-end offensive prospects. His hands and shot appear to be solid but nothing special. For a first round prospect, his ceiling might be a bit lower than some of those around him.
Harkins is likely to make the most of his talent as his work ethic and all-around game are the kind of safe bets coaches love in the increasingly risk-averse NHL climate. He likely won’t make the NHL for a year or two but when he does, he should find a home on the 3rd line and work his way into a top 6 role. He could end up as a bit of a ‘tweener where he’s too good for the bottom 6 but not quite good enough for top 6, making his fit in the organization that selects him all the more important.
Expected Draft Position
Harkins is listed as high as 13, by Craig Button, and as low as 25 by ISS, showing that while everyone agrees he currently has a first round grade, the value varies greatly from a high teen pick to a pick in the 20s where you’re targeting much more flawed prospects.
How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization
Were Rick Pracey still the Head Scout in Colorado and running the draft board, I think Harkins would be a player to keep a serious eye on as his track record of leadership, high character, and strong two-way game would check all the boxes that Pracey loved in his prospects. Instead, Colorado is running a bit of a different program and while Harkins’ toolbox ultimately is an intriguing one, in order to end up in Colorado he would have to be selected 10th overall and that would be too high.
Harkins is a good prospect but his relatively low ceiling would make him a reach at 10, even if the team had somehow talked itself into playing it safe with a player like Harkins who is more likely to reach his full potential. Were something catastrophic to happen and Harkins slip to Colorado’s second selection at 40th overall, it would be a no-brainer of a pick but that won’t happen.
All in all, Harkins would be a fine fit in Colorado’s system as there is a dearth of quality forwards there but for the cost of the 10th overall pick, Harkins’ value is much lower at 10 than many of the other players who will still be on the board.