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After being selected fourth overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Blade Jenkins opted to go play for the US National Team Development program. He was committed to play for the University of Michigan. Playing on the Under-17 squad was a struggle as Jenkins was relegated to the bottom line, and he put up just four goals and four assists for eight points in 56 games with the program.
In the summer of 2017, Jenkins opted to make a change, committing to the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. With a new team came a new role. Jenk in the top-six forwards. It also gave way to better results on the ice. A more confident player, Jenkins put up 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points in 68 games this year. He also made the OHL All-Rookie First Team. In the playoffs, Jenkins had three assists in four games, but the Spirit lost in the first round to the top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Jenkins’ father, Todd Jenkins, played NCAA hockey for Maine and went on to play two years in the ECHL for the Nashville Knights.
Blade Jenkins Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born August 11th, 2000 — Jackson, Michigan
Height 6’1″ — Weight 195 lbs [185 cm / 88 kg]
There have been some knocks on Jenkins skating but it is not as bad as advertised. There are still some things to work on though. Once he gets moving, Jenkins has decent speed, though he seems to need a few extra strides to reach that speed. His first step could also be a bit quicker. Jenkins stride is powerful, and he has good lower body strength. He can fight through checks to drive to the net and is difficult to knock off the puck. Jenkins also can win his board battles and create a presence in front of the net. His agility and edgework are decent, as he can weave his way through traffic with and without the puck. It is not at the level to beat a lot of defenders one-on-one though.
Jenkins plays a power forward style of game. He is quick to get in on the forecheck and can hammer a defenceman into the boards. He pressures defenders into mistakes, and can pounce when they do. He is willing to aggressively drive to the front of the net both with and without the puck. Jenkins uses his body to protect the puck down low on the cycle game and make plays. He is willing to try a number of creative passes, through tight areas. However, Jenkins has a tendency to try and do too much, and can often give the puck away on a play that is not there.
Jenkins has a hard and accurate wrist shot. He could stand to shoot more often as his shot and quick release can fool goaltenders. However, he seems to want to be more of a passer than a shooter. He also has a decent backhand, especially in close to the net. Jenkins can got to the front of the net and create havoc for goalies.
Jenkins brings his physicality to his own end of the ice. He is aggressive on the backcheck and loves to throw hits. However, he can sometimes be too aggressive, and this gets him out of position. Jenkins is always looking for the big play, and there are times he needs to slow the game down and let it come to him.
Projection and Comparison
Jenkins started the season at centre but was later moved to the wing. This resulted in an increase in production. It allowed him to simplify his game and focus on the things that he does well. While there is some versatility, Jenkins projects as a winger at the pro level. The skating and defensive concerns are likely to push him to that spot. He could be a bit of a project, but Jenkins could be a middle six contributor with good size and skill. In terms of his game, Jenkins is comparable to Brandon Dubinsky, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Jenkins that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
PETERBOROUGH, ON – OCTOBER 26: Blade Jenkins #19 of the Saginaw Spirit skates behind Dylan Wells #30 of the Peterborough Petes in an OHL game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on October 26, 2017, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)