Player: J.T. Compher
Drafted By: Buffalo Sabres (35th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 34 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'0'', 184 lbs
DOB: April 8, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: U.S. National Development Team
J.T. Compher's statistics don't jump out at you and make you take notice, but if you watch him play, you can't ignore him.
Compher scored seven goals and accumulated 24 points in 21 games with the U.S. National Development Team. He also has a habit of producing in clutch situations, which endears him to scouts and fans alike.
Full Scouting Report
The thing that impresses scouts the most is Compher's competitive spirit and desire. That's not to say he doesn't have skills, but Compher is a leader who really wants possession of the puck.
NHL Network analyst Craig Button is impressed by Compher.
When you look at the package that J.T. has, it's skill, it's a competitive spirit. The biggest thing is, you watch a player that can skate and make plays, but he does it at high speed and at pace and tempo. He's just a threatening player when he has the puck. And when he doesn’t have the puck, he wants the puck.
Talked to @CraigJButton about standouts from U-18. On JT Compher: "Everything matters to him. He wants to be a catalyst for winning."— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) May 3, 2013
Compher also has great quickness and plays up to the level of the toughest competition.
Don Granato, Compher's coach on the U.S. Under-18 Team, raved about his player's desire.
If you take a puck from him, you better skate as hard as you’ve ever skated because he’s tracking you down and going to steal it back immediately. And if he can’t get it back, he’s probably going to whack you or run you into the boards.
Compher doesn't project to be a big goal scorer at the NHL level, but he should wear a letter on his sweater before his career is over and will be a very effective two-way forward.
NHL Player Comparison
Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. Like Marchand, Compher doesn't have huge physical size, but he gets under the skin of opposing players, fights for loose pucks and will be a productive offensive player. He will also be very tough to play against. Opposing players will remember Compher for a few nights after they play against him.
Compher has committed to the University of Michigan this fall and is likely to spend at least a couple of seasons with Red Berenson's club in Ann Arbor. Because Compher is a physical forward, he probably needs a little more time to bulk up his 184-pound frame so he is ready to play against men rather than teenagers. Expect him to reach the NHL on a full-time basis by the 2015-16 season after a couple years of college hockey.
Scouts see Compher as a solid two-way forward. His top-end potential is probably a 30-goal scorer who will see some time on the power play and keep opposing players off their game. He will also be a leader on and off the ice and score big goals in big games. We're talking about a hard-working, skilled and productive two-way forward who will log top-six minutes.