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Jack Dougherty spent this season with the US National Team Development Program out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He put up 10 goals and 34 points in 78 games showing impressive offensive potential. He was even better at the international level, with three points in five games at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament and four points in seven games in helping the United States to the Gold Medal in this springs IIHF U18 World Championships. Dougherty is just another in a long line of strong defencemen that the US are currently developping.
Originally committed to Ohio State, Dougherty changed that commitment last fall, and the Minnesota native is now looking to play for the University of Wisconsin Badgers next season.
Defense — shoots Right
Born May 25 1996 — Cottage Grove, MN
Height 6.02 — Weight 186 [185 cm/84 kg]
Jack Dougherty is an incredibly intelligent two-way defenceman. Offensively he is poised with the puck on his stick and keeps his head up, making smart precise passes both on the breakout, and in his own end of the ice. He always seems to make the smart play. He also has a good idea of when to pinch, and when he should back off and remain in his position. Dougherty doesn’t often lead rushes, but he is effective as a trailer, joining late to unleash a strong wrist shot with a good release, or an excellent slap-shot and one-timer. He can also be very good on the point of the powerplay understanding that it is key to make sure he gets his shot through, and that he doesn’t always have to hit it with 100% power if he is losing accuracy. He understands that sometimes keeping it low for teammates to tip in or pounce on rebounds is something that can lead to more offensive opportunities for his team.
Defensively, Dougherty is very strong positionally, and maintains excellent gap control. He loves to play physical and can throw his weight around with a big hit, or battling in front of the net or in the corners. Speaking of weight, Dougherty will need to add some weight to his frame to continue to play that game at the next level. His hockey IQ extends to the defensive end of the ice, where he anticipates the play well, breaking up passes and starting the transition game. Dougherty is also willing to block shots and to do whatever it takes to help his team win.
Dougherty’s skating has improved as the year has gone on, but its still something that needs more improvement. He does have very good balance and is strong on the puck. However his stride needs more refining, it could be longer and more powerful. He also could work on his acceleration and his pivoting and edgework. Overall his skating is just average for a player at his level, and if he can bring it up a notch or two, it would combine with the other tools in his game to make him an excellent NHL defenceman. With the improvements he’s already made this season, he should be capable of doing so.
Overall Jack Dougherty style is comparable to Nick Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings, though this is a style comparison and not necessarily a talent based one. He could become a top 4 defenceman capable of logging minutes on the power play and the penalty kill if he reaches his potential.
Here are some highlights of Jack Dougherty in action.
Check back tomorrow for my #35 ranked prospect.
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