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Drafted 84th overall by the Winnipeg Jets.
Jimmy Lodge has progressed by leaps and bounds this season. Limited ice-time and responsibility meant that Lodge scored just 12 points in 45 games as a rookie in 2011-12. However, this year, given increased ice time on Saginaw’s second line, he started to show his stuff. Then when Vincent Trochek was traded at the OHL deadline, Lodge was bumped up to the first line. From there he really took off, putting together a huge second half of the year. Overall Lodge put finished the campaign with 67 points in 64 games. He helped Saginaw into 8th place and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Despite a strong performance from Lodge (3 points in 4 games), Saginaw was overmatched and swept by the eventual OHL Champion London Knights. During his time in Saginaw, Lodge has mostly played Right Wing.
Lodge also has international experience, playing Centre for the United States at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka tournament. His verstatility is certainly just one more positive for him as we head towards the NHL draft.
Born Mar 5 1995 — Downingtown, PA
Height 6’0.5″ — Weight 162.1 — Shoots Right
Lodge’s game is really based around his skating. He has good top end speed, but it is his acceleration and first step quickness that really sets him apart from his peers on the ice. This quickness allows Lodge to surprise and pounce on loose pucks, or beat defenders by changing speeds quickly. He has good agility and his good edgework helps him to be elusive in making his way through traffic and finding open areas on the ice. He does need to add some strength in his lower body though, as he needs to be stronger on his skates, and add some balance, as he is knocked off the puck too much right now.
Lodge has good vision and playmaking skill. He has the ability to thread passes through tight areas, or to saucer the puck over sticks and onto the tape of a teammate. He really improved his playmaking game this year as he gained more confidence and poise with the puck, slowing things down and waiting for openings. He also has a top notch wrist shot and a very good release allowing him to fool goaltenders. If there is a criticism of Lodge it is his inconsistent intensity level. Some nights he gets his nose dirty, plays in traffic, battles in front of the net, and works along the boards. Now he will need to gain strength to be more effective in these areas but that is a concern for many prospects and is easy enough to address. The more concerning thing is the games where Lodge just lacks intensity, where he doesn’t seem to want to hit or be hit, and becomes an ineffective perimeter player. This must be improved upon by Lodge going forward or he will infuriate coaches and will likely see plenty of time on the bench or in press boxes at the pro level. The hope is that it is something he will mature into, and can be developed.
Lodge’s anticipation and his quickness make him a good defender when he puts in the effort. He can cut down passing lanes, and can anticipate plays, intercepting passes and turning pucks over. However this is another area where his intensity needs to improve. He can stand to play more physical in his own end. There are also times where he seems to abandon his defensive responsibility too quickly and flies out of the zone looking to create offence, and he can get burned for it.
Lodge is a real boom or bust pick. He’s one player where I’m going to say the style and potential are similar. He plays a lot like T.J. Oshie, though Lodge has more height. He will really need to improve his consistency, and his intensity though as he moves to the next level.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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