Player: Josh Jacobs
Drafted By: New Jersey Devils (41st overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 43 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'2", 193 lbs
DOB: February 15, 1996 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: USHL, Indiana Ice
Josh Jacobs is a big defenseman with a smooth skating stride, and that makes him a valuable commodity in this year's draft. He scored five goals and had 18 assists for the Indianapolis Ice this season and had a plus-36 rating, which was fifth in the USHL. Jacobs uses his size to his advantage, and he can knock opponents off the puck.
Full Scouting Report
In addition to being a big man at age 18, Jacobs has the frame to get even bigger. That should make him even more of a physical presence as he gets older.
Jacobs has some good fundamental skills. He plays angles well when he is defending, and once he gets possession of the puck, he makes an excellent first pass up the ice.
Jacobs is somewhat offensive-minded, and this Michigan native says he wants to model his game after young Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who also hails from Michigan. "I look up to Torey Krug a lot," Jacobs said via NHL.com. "I’ve gotten a couple chances to talk to Torey, he just has a lot of great things to say and good advice for me.”
While it's good to contribute on offense, Jacobs has to remember that he is a defenseman first. He has been criticized for being "overambitious" in the offensive zone by Harris Peskin of Isles Nation.
NHL Player Comparison
Due to his size, length and offensive tendencies, Jacobs has been compared to Jay Bouwmeester of the St. Louis Blues by Shawn Reznik of The Hockey Writers. However, Bouwmeester does not shirk responsibility on the defensive end, and Jacobs has a long way to go to get to that level.
This young defenseman will need two to three years of preparation. He will likely spend much of that time playing with the Michigan State Spartans, and that will give him a chance to refine his game and prepare for the next level.
Jacobs has a chance to be a solid contributor in the NHL. Don't look for him to be an All-Star or an award winner, but he does have a chance to play on the second pair. Once his game fully develops, he should be able to play in all game situations. His cannon-like slap shot should make him an excellent weapon on the power play.