Hailing from the same home town as Jake Virtanen, Everett Silvertips blueliner Noah Juulsen is an aggressive and physical presence on one of the WHL’s very best defensive teams. He played on the first pairing for the U.S. Division champion Everett Silvertips this past season, earning the trust of head coach Kevin Constantine along the way.
A jack-of-all-trades type blueliner, Juulsen doesn’t have a standout aspect to his game, but is a solid player all the same. Let’s have a look at Juulsen’s resume on the other side of the jump.
- Age: 17.46 years old at start of season. Born April 2nd, 1997
- Birthplace: Abbotsford, British Columbia
- Frame: 6’2, 174 lbs
- Position: D
- Draft Year Team: Everett Silvertips (WHL)
- Accomplishments: 2015 CHL Top Prospects Game participant
|GP||ES G||ES A1||ES A2||ES Pts||ES Pts/GP||ES GF%||ES GF% Rel||TmG%||TmPts%||AA Pts/GP||EA Pts/GP||Adj Pts/GP|
- TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
- TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
- AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
- EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
- Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|Scott Stevens||Jeff Brown|
|Luke Richardson||P.K. Subban|
|Ken Daneyko||Kris Letang/Al Iafrate|
- PCS = Our Player Cohort Success model. Click here for more information about PCS.
an engaging two-way blueliner for the Everett Silvertips…would not consider him to be an elite skater but he gets around well for his size, age and role…keeps his feet low as he uses his edges to push around the ice…has good speed but it will only improve as his base gets stronger…footwork is quite good and it allows him to have good east-west mobility when defending against the rush…above-average stride and skating allows him to manage his gaps well against the rush, too…possesses very good balance on his skates and that aids him greatly in the physical game…don’t see him being a major puck-rushing blueliner going forward so his skating shouldn’t need to get to an elite level for him to find pro success…handles an outlet pass well consistently…viewings showed some inconsistency with the completion of the tougher breakout passes but I don’t see it as a major area of concern overall…shows a willingness to delay and take a hit in order to execute an outlet while facing a forecheck…have also seen him use creative bounce passes off the walls to execute an outlet against pressure…was a regular powerplay contributor all season but I’m not sure I see him as a guy who will carve up the opposition with his passing game at that next level…receives a puck fairly well but his hands overall will need to be an area he shows improvement in…shoots the puck extremely hard and does a good job at getting it off…his shot is definitely the best aspect of his offensive game…has the potential to be a good trigger man on an NHL powerplay…his shot is heavy and the rebounds it creates generate 2nd and 3rd shot opportunities…is a physically mean player away from the puck…plays an aggressive style and has a willingness to lower the shoulder and make hits…doesn’t run around to lay the body but is a calculated body checker…really drives his shoulder through the opposition when hitting…isn’t an overly chippy or nasty player, aside from his willingness to throw powerful hits regularly…with that in mind he will be a scary piece of work once he gets up over 200 pounds…despite being listed at only 174 pounds he already strikes me as being a big and thick kid, obviously aided by his elite-level balance on his skates…his strong gap control and physical edge offer good compliments to his stick work, which is also an area of strength…does a good job taking away time and space in the defensive zone…does tend to go to his knees and stomach a bit much for my liking when defending around his crease, but he’s not alone in that regarding the entire Silvertips defensive group…competes hard away from the puck and doesn’t seem to take many shifts off…makes very good decisions both with and without the puck and projects well as a two-way defender given his fairly raw body and on-ice skillset…along with being a regular on the powerplay he was also a consistent penalty killer…played on the Silvertips top defensive pairing all season
Nickolet’s report goes in to more detail, and his site is an excellent resource of WHL-centric draft content. You can read his full 2015 WHL draft rankings and complete player profiles here.
Noah is a strong competitor who wants to make a difference in the defensive and offensive zones. He is good with the puck and with improvement in his agility and quickness, his game will become that much stronger. He has a good feel for situations and makes solid plays. Not spectacular in any sense of the word but has that ‘can do, will do’ approach to winning.
I’ve watched a lot of WHL hockey over the past two seasons, and Juulsen has always been a guy that’s stood out to me in the ’97 age group. From what I saw, I’d describe him as a jack-of-all-trades type who doesn’t necessarily excel in one area, but does a little bit of everything well. In particular, his defensive zone decisions with the puck stood out to me, as he consistently made smart passes to diffuse forechecking pressure and put his teammates in a good position to break out of their own zone with control.
His physical game is a very calculated one, as he’s less abrasive than what you’d expect from a guy described as “physically mean” and willing to light a guy up with a big hit. He’s Chris Tanev size right now, but could conceivably fill out his 6’2 frame to become a somewhat punishing hitter at the NHL level to go along with a pretty good sense for the game he has already.
Corey Pronman is significantly lower on Juulsen than the broader scouting community, saying his defensive ability “about average” and that he projects to hold more offensive value at the NHL level, but I can’t say I agree with this evaluation. I liked Juulsen’s puck moving ability more than any other part of his game, but in a “transitional defensive defenseman” sense, to quote Jim Benning.
We also can’t ignore the fact that notorious defensive taskmaster Kevin Constantine saw Juulsen as an all-around good enough player to play regularly in Everett’s lineup at 16, and on the first/shutdown pairing and first unit penalty kill at 17. Juulsen was one of his team’s leaders in relative even strength goals for percentage both seasons of his WHL career, and his team was arguably the best defensive team in the WHL in terms of preventing both goals and shots both last season and this one. Circumstantial evidence points towards Juulsen being an elite defensive player at 17, but tempering that with scouting should tell us that he’s merely very good.
With a ~20% PCS, Juulsen stands as good a chance as any CHL defender of making the big leagues in this draft, statistically speaking. His puck skills are good and his shot is a definite plus, but I don’t know if I see him as an offensive guy in the NHL. Guys like P.K. Subban, Kris Letang, and T.J. Brodie are in his list of comparables, but so are guys like Barret Jackman, Brent Seabrook, Marc-Edouard Vlasic. If Juulsen does continue to grow into an NHL player, it’s possible he can go either way.
The numbers say that Juulsen can grow into a long-tenured defender no matter how he develops, likely in a second or third pairing role. I see him as more of a modern defensive defender who gets results through smarts and possessing the puck rather than physicality, but Juulsen can play that game too. Whoever drafts Juulsen is getting a very solid and well-rounded player.