Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.
A late 1998 birthday, Jonah Gadjovich had a real breakout in his third year in the OHL. He went from 14 goals and 24 points in 2015-16 to 46 goals and 74 points this year, despite playing in six fewer games. His breakout year, we part of the reason that the Attack ended up being one of the best teams in the OHL, and going to the Western Conference finals. Gadjovich finished the playoffs with four goals and three assists in 17 games.
His 46 goals was the most amongst draft eligible OHL players. After a slow start, Gadjovich had 39 goals in the last 40 games of the season, and the Attack were the hottest team in the league over that stretch. The connection between Nick Suzuki and Gadjovich was impressive.
Jonah Gadjovich Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #68
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born October 12th, 1998 — Whitby, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 201 lbs [188 cm / 91 kg]
With the stats Gadjovich put up, most would think he would be a first round pick. However, there is one big issue that is putting him further down in the draft rankings, and that is his skating. His start-up and acceleration are a bit clunky, and he really needs to work on that. Once he gets going the speed isn’t as bad, but it really takes a while to reach that top end speed. This means winning races to loose pucks and other short burst actions can be an issue. He does have decent agility and edge work though, and can get by a defender in one-on-one situations. Gadjovich has good lower-body strength and balance. He is strong on the puck and cycles effectively.
If there is an encouraging sign here, it is that his skating is much better than it was a year ago. It even seemed to improve as the year went along, leading to the breakout. If teams believe that improvement can continue, he could rise up draft boards quickly.
Gadjovich is a power winger, who plays a north-south style of game. He gets to the front of the net, scoring his goals by one-timing passes from teammates, tipping in shots, as well as pouncing on loose pucks and burying rebounds. He has a very good wrist shot and quick release, which he can let go from the slot or from the face-off dots. Gadjovich also has a good one-timer.
He is a gritty player who gets assists through winning battles in the corners, protecting the puck on the cycle, and dishing to teammates. Gadjovich isn’t the most creative of players but he is effective. His long reach and good stick handling helps him to protect the puck on the cycle and extend plays for teammates.
Gadjovich’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. The effort level cannot be questioned. He works hard to get back in his own zone and helps support the defence down low. He also battles for loose pucks in the corners. Gadjovich’s active stick helps to cut down passing lanes. However, he can work on his positioning. He can get out of position by chasing the puck too much, and leaving his man. This over-agressive nature can be fixed with maturity and good coaching.
Projection and Comparison
Jonah Gadjovich has a lot of very good skills here. If he can improve his skating, he could be the type of power forward that teams salivate over. There has already been some improvement, but the ultimate upside remains a question. In terms of a stylistic comparison, much of Gadjovich’s game reminds me of Guillaume Latendresse.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.