Earlier today I posted about the idea of the Leafs drafting Calen Addison 25th overall. It’s a good idea and I strongly encourage Kyle Dubas to consider it. At the same time, I’ve been informed that the Leafs will be picking again a few times after the first round, and maybe it would be a good idea to consider some players in those rounds too. These posts are going to look at those players.
Who is Blade Jenkins?
Admittedly I came across Blade Jenkins purely for his name. It was around the 2016 draft, and started looking forward to interesting names in future drafts, and 2018 seemed like a gold mine with players like Bode Wilde, Jett Woo, Nando Eggenberger, and of course, Blade Jenkins.
Like those other players I listed, it also seemed that Blade Jenkins could play. At the time he was just heading into his time with the U.S. National Team Development Program, after putting up solid numbers with the highly regarded Compuware team in Michigan. Jenkins at the time was viewed as having first round potential, and as a center already approaching 6’0 he was noteworthy to say the least.
Today, Jenkins is coming off a decent rookie season with the Saginaw Spirit. He stands 6’2, 194 lbs and is still lining up at center. He’s a late birthday, being born in August, and shoots left. Also, did I mention his name is Blade. Has there ever been a better hockey name?
Where is Blade Ranked?
NHL Central Scouting still thinks very highly of Blade Jenkins, considering him the 26th best North American Skater in the draft. Beyond that, there hasn’t been much first or second round consideration for him with the exception of Jeremy Davis of Canucks Army who had him ranked 45th in his May rankings.
What the Numbers Say About Blade
So Blade’s numbers don’t particularly standout. His 20 goals are nice and show some promise for bigger things in the coming season, and his Goals For Relative number puts a lot of the struggles in context, although his defensive struggles seem real. The fact that 75% of Blade’s points have been even strength primary points should also offer up a lot of encouragement that he is capable of putting up numbers. All and all, I think his OHL experience is very encouraging and there is some need to get past a disappointing season with the USNTDP in 2016-17.
What’s Been Written About Blade?
Big centre-forward from the USA developmental program with a high skill set. Displays good vision and can go around defenders turning the corner to the slot area. Probably is more suited as a winger utilizing his quickness and strength on his skates. Has shown some jam down low in the scoring areas,but needs to be more competitive and aggressively go get pucks all over and on the forecheck. Looks like a future left wing as he progresses and adds intensity and defensive awareness.
At 6’1”, 195 pounds and still room to grow, Jenkins possesses decent size. He uses that size to his advantage and battles well along the walls and in front of the opponent’s net. He’s learning how to be dominant with each passing shift. He drives the net hard with or without possession and he’s extremely strong playing the cycle game.
Jenkins also possesses good hockey sense. He has shown that he can be elusive and make himself open for teammates to find. He can also play patient and wait for lanes to open up when he has puck possession. He can play the playmaker game, but at the same time, he can beat you with a very heavy shot.
The Eye Test
Why The Leafs Should Draft Blade Jenkins
If the Leafs can find a scoring centre with decent size outside the first round that should be viewed as a win and that’s what they could be getting with Blade Jenkins, who could very well be available in the third round, but if you are bigger fan of him, he’d warrant consider for the second round.
The knock on Jenkins initially was his skating, but as time went on, you heard less and less about that being an issue, but criticism of his defense became more prevalent. It’s the defensive criticism that has him labelled as being one dimensional, but if you are a forward, it’s not really that terrible if your only dimension is scoring, especially if Jenkins ultimately ends up on the wing like many people expect for him.
For the Leafs specifically, their interest in Jenkins has to stem from the fact that their prospect pool is running out of offensive threats. Even players like Bracco, Timashov, Grundstrom, and Engvall all seem capable at the AHL level, but of them Grundstrom looks like the only player with a surefire NHL path associated with him, and even then he may find it in more of a bottom six role. Last year’s draft didn’t address the need for scoring forwards at all, so if not Blade Jenkins, the Leafs at least need to be considering offensive abilities as a key factor in how they determine best player available.
MLN Draft #Content
|Draft Articles||Who to take at 25th Overall||Maybe Later|
|Case for Trading Up||Calen Addison||Blade Jenkins|
|Case for Trading Down|
|Case for Picking 25th|
|Case for Trading the Pick|
|Leafs Geeks Draft Preview|