Height/Weight: 6'2"/174 lbs.
Youth Team: Hamilton Junior Bulldogs
Current Team: Owen Sound (OHL)
Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a player from being taken as early as he should in the NHL draft, and Owen Sound forward Jarrod Maidens appears to be a prime example of that. The promising pivot missed 20 games due to a hip injury in his first season with the Attack and played in just 28 games this past season due to a suspected concussion that also prevented him from competing in the top prospects game and scouting combine.
Despite the concerns regarding his injury, Maidens has a bright future provided he can move past the ailments that have plagued him. Maidens had some great moments last year, as he racked up 21 points in 47 games for Owen Sound and was a hero during its improbable run to the OHL championship. Maidens scored two goals in Game 7 of the championship series, including the overtime winner against Mississauga.
Maidens was off to a red-hot start this season with 23 points in 28 games before the concussion cost him the rest of the year. When Maidens is healthy, he has the type of skill set that scouts salivate over. He could afford to bulk up a bit, but he has a good frame and uses it to his advantage by going to the high-traffic areas. Maidens also has one of the most lethal shots in this year's draft, as he can pick corners with relative ease.
None of that will matter if Maidens is unable to get on the ice, though. Concussions have derailed the careers of many great players in the NHL, so for Maidens to already have a strike against him is disconcerting. On top of that, Maidens could afford to work harder along the boards and will need to put in a more consistent effort at the NHL level. Unfair or not, he has been labeled as a floater by some due to his inconsistency.
Maidens' NHL success is pretty much contingent upon his health at this point. If he proves that his injuries were nothing more than a fluke, he could be one of the biggest steals in the draft. If not, though, he will be an albatross that will go down as a wasted selection.