Jets Continue to Win at Draft; Draft Jansen Harkins 47th

With their 3rd selection of the NHL entry draft, the Jets had another gift fall in to their laps as two-way Prince George Cougars centre Jansen Harkins was around for their second round pick.

Harkins was a very good player on a poor Cougars team this past season, and represents some excellent value for the Jets in round 2. Let’s have a look after the jump.

We profiled Harkins in our Prospect Profiles series, rating him as the 22nd best prospect in this year’s draft. We liked his even strength offensive numbers, as well as his two-way acumen.

In terms of PCS, Harkins comparables made the NHL roughly once in every four cases (a good number for second round picks), and tended to become second line players. Harkins projects to fill in very nicely behind Mark Scheifele and Nic Petan into the future, but could be better than the role he’ll play in.

Here’s what some scouts had to say about Harkins:

From Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects:

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.

From Craig Button, TSN:

Jansen is a smart and tenacious player in all areas of the game. His determination is undeniable and he is always prepared to do whatever is necessary to make a positive difference in the game. Good skills and with improved speed, power and quickness, his impact will only increase. Has that completely unselfish, team approach to winning.

From FOTB, Cody Nkolet of Future Considerations and WHL from Above:

Jansen Harkins is a smart playmaking centre for the Prince George Cougars…biggest strength is the way he thinks the game and subsequently sees the ice…displays an extremely mature understanding of how to make a difference in all zones…very strong positionally…his hockey smarts and length really show well in the defensive game giving him value as a potential top-end two-way centre at the next level…his hockey sense is matched by his willingness to work hard in all three zones…a blue collar type of forward although he could develop a bit more grit to his game regarding being tough to play against…could also stand to be stronger on his stick during 1 on 1 battles…excels when it comes to offensive timing, arriving at the right spots at the right times…ends up around the net very often, showing versatility in how he arrives there…is long and lean with his extensive reach helping aid him in playmaking…protects the puck well during the playmaking game and takes advantage of his long arms when it comes to putting pucks around or through defenders or under their sticks…is comfortable playing on his backhand…picks his spots when it comes to shooting but could probably stand to put more pucks on net…shot would be classified as only ok for me at this point…doesn’t seem to have the release or the power in his shot to beat goalies from overly deep distances as things stand right now…is definitely a pass-first player in the big scheme of things…skating is only slightly above average right now, despite decent fundamentals…has a long stride and a look like he has big feet and skinny legs, leading to a lack of immediate speed out of the gate…top speed is passable once he gets the engine running at full steam and it is surely good in open ice…footwork is a little clumsy and needs to be refined in tighter spaces…skating fundamentals aren’t a huge negative but he needs to improve his lower body co-ordination and edgework especially as he gets taller and heavier…currently lacks that separation gear that you like to see…with that being said, I think his skating would have stuck out far more at the World Under-18’s than it did, had it been a bigger concern…his father Todd played in the NHL and was listed at 6’3 so more growth should be expected…is the kind of player that really grows on you the more you watch him as you start to see the smart little subtleties he brings to the table…was used as the Cougars top centre this season while also being a key player on both the powerplay and penalty kill…spent 14 of their final 15 regular season games on a line with Chase Witala and Zach Pochiro…also had Brad Morrison on his wing fairly frequently this season…set a franchise record for assists this season with 59…would classify him as a bit more of a project than some of the other guys in the draft just due to the amount of height and weight that could still be on the way for him, mixed with his rather unrefined look at times…put up 6 points in 5 games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in 2014 while also captaining Team Pacific at the World Under 17’s…can be seen as fairly raw but definitely had a strong year considering an apparent lack of pure offensive depth with the Cougars this year…showed a nice uptick in production as the year wore on with 1.05 PPG up until December 31st and a 1.17 PPG rate after that point…finished 2nd in primary assists among first-year draft-eligible forwards with 35, trailing only Nick Merkley who had 45…finished 2nd in points among all first-year draft-eligible WHL forwards, once again trailing only Merkley…had the 3rd best PPG rate among that same group of forwards, trailing Merkley and Mathew Barzal…registered 0.74 even-strength points-per-game this year, the 2nd highest mark of any first-year draft-eligible WHL forward…either scored or assisted on 36.24% of all Cougars goals during the regular season, the 3rd best mark among first-year draft-eligible WHL forwards this year…was T-8th in goals among all first-year draft-eligible WHL forwards with 20, with 16 of those coming at even-strength….was recognized as the Prince George Cougars MVP for the 2014-15 season…was the 2nd overall pick behind Mathew Barzal in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft by the Prince George Cougars…his style of play regarding his skating, sense, defensive responsibility, playmaking lean and mature attitude remind me a lot of Paul Stastny…while I don’t think he has as high of offensive potential as the 3rd-ranked Nick Merkley does, I think he has more 200-foot tools, projects to play centre 100% (unlike Merkley) and has a more appealing frame…the 3-4 position on this list was one I went back and forth on frequently down the stretch this year, ending up as one of my toughest decisions overall…I think Harkins projects to be a complete second line centre who can play in any situation without hurting you, even though he might take 3-4 years to reach an NHL team’s bottom 6…I expect him to come off the board some time between the 15th and 25th selections in June and will offer a bucket full of value if for some wild reason he falls out of the 1st round…

You can read our pre-draft Prospect Profile on Harkins here.

Canucks Army also had a mid-season profile on Harkins here.