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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Jeremy Bracco

AJ Haefele Avatar
May 28, 2015

 

Get to Know Jeremy Bracco

Date of Birth: Freeport, NY, USA
Place of Birth: 3/17/1997
Ht: 5’9″ Wt: 172 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Center/Right Wing
Team: United States National U-18 Team (USHL)

Anytime a prospect is being compared to Patrick Kane, like Jeremy Bracco so often is, you sit up and pay attention. Anytime a prospect produces at least a point per game at every single level he’s played, you pay attention. So why exactly is Bracco not talked about more and potentially even slipping out of the first round?

5’9″, 172 pounds is the kind of size that scares the daylights out of teams. Talent is great, sure, but size is something you can’t teach and is an inherent advantage, especially in a sport as physically demanding and taxing as professional hockey. That said, the future Boston College Eagle is set to be drafted later by a team that is going to reap the rewards of taking the risk on the draft’s little guy that teams couldn’t stop.

Bracco played on a line with likely #2 overall pick Jack Eichel, which has been marked as a negative by some, but most anyone who watched them together saw two great players making each other better. Bracco’s extremely high skill level will get him drafted, and probably late in the first round, and everyone who passed on him should look out.

Statistics

What Scouts See

Dobber Sports:

The uber-skilled Jeremy Bracco has been a bright star among his peers for several years, oozing elite offensive skills. Bracco has continued to exceed all expectations setting scoresheets on fire with the Under-18 NTDP. Possessing a truly unique skating technique, relying on crafty edge-work and a heel-to-heel stride, Bracco is a dynamic offensive winger who competes at high speed.

His ability to draw in defenders and then exploit their abandoned space is elite and speaks to his high-end vision and creativeness with the puck. He’s small by NHL standards but his skill warrants a high draft selection.

Future Considerations:

A small, but flashy and highly skilled, playmaker…tremendous skater with excellent quickness, balance on his edges and elusiveness with the puck…a quick set of hands…tough to handle when he gets going because he can elude defenders with his skating…great vision with the puck and makes tremendous passes…has a good wrist shot, but opts to be a pass-first playmaker…

…plays with grit and has no issue going to the net for chances… battles on the wall with limited success due to his lack of strength and reach…can really use some extra muscle…works hard defensively, and has a good defensive stick and plays aggressively at the point looking to cause turnovers.

What BSN Avalanche sees

Jeremy Bracco is a first-line talent. Pure and simple. He’s an exceptional skater with good balance, good acceleration and a top gear that’s hard to find. He’s elusive with the puck at high speeds and does a good job at avoiding taking the big hits. He is a wonderful passer and his excellent vision allows him to make highlight reel passes on a regular basis. His wrist shot is decent but has a deceptively quick release that aids him a great deal.

He’s going to make his money passing the puck, though, because he is a playmaker through and through. His ability to work defenders is world class and there’s no reason to doubt Bracco has the talent to succeed as the highest levels of the sport.

Size, size, size. Being as small as he is, Bracco faces serious limitations as he ascends the hockey ranks. While he’s been the smallest guy on the ice for years, it’s only going to get worse as he starts consistently seeing big and very skilled. His board work needs significant work as his lack of strength and reach limit his ability to win battles along the wall, no small issue given his likely future as a Right Wing.

Defensively, he plays hard and sees the game well so he’s often in the right position but struggles to not be overwhelmed when players seek to impose their will on him physically. His second half production also raised eyebrows for the wrong reasons as his prolific scoring rates dropped enough to warrant concern from the scouts.

Highlights



NHL Potential

Pure and simple, if Bracco fulfills the vast potential he has displayed, he could be the next Small Star of the NHL, helping Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau take the mantle from Martin St. Louis and Theo Fleury before him. He has legitimate top line offensive talent and if he’s able to overcome his size, he could have a long and prolific career in the NHL.

His role will be limited greatly by his size, however, so he needs to be drafted into an organization that has the time to develop him properly and not be interested in getting a return on their investment as soon as possible.

Expected Draft Position

Bracco’s current rankings are all over the board. CSS has him as the 60th best North American skater, ESPN’s Corey Pronman has him 16th overall, former NHL GM Craig Button has him listed 49th and he barely cracks the top 30 lists of both Future Considerations and ISS, ranking 26th and 28th, respectively.

Come draft day, it’s going to be all about which organization can afford to take the risk on Bracco’s talent. While he has first round talent, his lack of size is a major red flag and could be the reason he slips the second round. If that happens, he shouldn’t last long. He’s simply too talented not to go in the top 50 picks of the draft but just like Jordan Greenway could see some draft stock elevation because of his size, Bracco could see the exact opposite happen.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

To be frank, Bracco would be a poor fit for what the Avalanche have been trying to accomplish the last couple of years. They’re actively investing in players with size at every opportunity and Bracco just doesn’t have it. He’s exactly the opposite type of player that Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic have targeted and brought to Denver.

That said, the Avalanche are a wasteland at Right Wing and Bracco would represent a very interesting value pick at 40th overall, their second round selection. 10th overall would be too much for Bracco but at 40, the Avs could fall in love with his skills and talent and say blue print be damned they have to draft this guy. The Avalanche could certainly do worse than selecting an extremely talented right winger, size be damned, but they aren’t in a position as an organization to take these type of risks right now.

While organizational needs are one thing, the Avalanche would be silly to pass up a talent like Bracco at 40th overall. At some point, you stop worrying about what a guy isn’t and take the most talented player on the board. No matter who is still there with him, if Bracco is on the board at 40, the Avalanche should sprint to the stage to select the steal the of the draft.

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