Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #39 Noah Juulsen

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.

Bio:

  • 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

Stats:

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
68 6 9 11 26 0.38 66.0% 15.0% 4.0% 23.0% 0.74 0.87 0.84
  • 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
6.9% 19.4 19.9% 26.0
PCS Most NHL GP PCS Highest Pts/GP
Scott Stevens Jeff Brown
Luke Richardson P.K. Subban
Ken Daneyko Kris Letang/Al Iafrate

Scouts:

Draft rank:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect Pronman McKeen’s McKenzie Button
22 (NA) 29 32 22 77 20 37 41

From Cody Nickolet, scout for Future Considerations:

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.

From Craig Button, TSN:

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.

Our Take:

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.

    • Thefreshpots

      Juulsen is a perfectly fine pick but I don’t think he will be the best player available at #23. I would rather take him in the second round if we can reclaim our pick via trade.

  • He’d be a good pick but the kid could drop to the 2nd round. We could see some fallers in the top 20 due to teams drafting on needs rather than BPA. If Kylington is there, you gotta take that shot.

  • Thefreshpots

    There does seem to be a very even field after 18-19 down to about 40odd. Once Meier, White, Sveichnikov, Merkeley and maybe Zboril are off the board, I really can’t pick a single player i’d want as a standout.

    Bit of an argument for the Canucks to trade down from #23 to something like #30+#40 if another team wants a guy. If there isn’t a faller out of the top-20 “tier” and you can get a Juulsen AND a DeBrusk or a Bracco or a Harkins… wouldn’t be a bad trade.

  • Thefreshpots

    A number of valid points have been brought up concerning drafting Juulsen at 23. I basically agree with them all. My point of view is if Zboril and Chabot are gone as Dmen, Juulsen is next best up. Don`t even get me started on Kylington. There are reasons why he has fallen from grace. Benning in a recent interview mentioned he wanted to become faster and more physical. Juulsen can do this as well as Zboril. Noah isn’t the best player at 23 but he is in that group of players lumped 20-30. The important thing is he will be a good, not great NHL blueliner.

      • Thefreshpots

        My point is the best playe at the age of 18 isn’t always the best player at 25. Jamie Benn and Shea Weber are two examples. Sometimes you have to project where a kid is going to be when he matures. PK Suban is another example. Just curious, who would you like to see drafted at 23?

        • Thefreshpots

          Noah Juulsen isn’t likely to be an elite D in the NHL, so I think you can get a similar player in round 2. It looks like a lot of teams will be reaching for dmen at the table this season, so I wouldn’t mind us taking somebody who falls significantly on draft day, maybe someone like Konecny. If we do take a defenseman, I’d take Zboril or Kylington if they fall. Jansen Harkins is another guy who’s supposed to go around #23 that I wouldn’t mind taking.

          I like Juulsen, but I don’t think there’s a need to waste a first on him. If we’re set on him, we should trade down.

          • Thefreshpots

            I would take Zboril over Juulsen too but I think he will be snapped up before we get a chance to pounce on him. I’m not a fan of Kylington. Too much of a wild card for me. I also like Harkins but wonder if his game is too similar to that of Horvat, McCann and Cassels. I see him as a solid 200 foot player. Nick Merkley would be a nice pick if available. One other possibility to keep your eye on is Joel Eriksson Ek.

          • Thefreshpots

            I like Merkley, but I’m not huge on Eriksson Ek. I think the concerns with Kylingtin are greatly exaggerated. He had a rough season, but was ranked as high as the top 5 a year ago. That screams late-round steal to me.