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2014 NHL Draft Profile #48: Jayce Hawryluk

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 2014 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 Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2014 Draft Articles Click here.

Its been a roller coaster year for Jayce Hawryluk.  He started the season playing with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.  When he returned, he played on a rebuilding WHL club, and  was the leading scorer for the Brandon Wheat Kings this season putting up 24 goals and 64 points in 59 games this season.  Helping the team into the playoffs he led them to a first round upset over the Regina Pats, but Hawryluk experienced shortness of breath and collapsed in the team’s dressing room following a first star performance in game three.  He would spend two days in hospital and watch his team complete the sweep without him, before returning for the second round and a five-game loss to the eventual WHL Champions, the Edmonton Oil Kings.  Hawryluk would show no ill effects though, scoring in his first game back.  He would finish the playoffs with five goals and 12 points in just eight games.  The year would finish back with Team Canada, where he would help the team to a Bronze Medal at the U-18 World Championships.

For those wondering about the collapse, it appears to have been a one-time event and the doctors have cleared Jayce Hawryluk to continue his pursuit of an NHL career, so it shouldn’t be too big a concern on NHL draft day.

Jayce Hawryluk

Center — shoots Right
Born Jan 1 1996 — Roblin, MAN
Height 5.10 — Weight 190 [178 cm/86 kg]

Jayce Hawryluk is yet another undersized but skilled forward in this draft. As an undersized forward he needs strong skating to succeed at the next level, and he definitely has that. Hawryluk has good speed and very good acceleration, which complements his strong edgework and agility. Still his best assets are his core strength and balance as he is very hard to knock off the puck, forechecks hard, wins board battles, and plays a strong cycle game despite his size.  He has the power to fight through checks and go to the net or to battle for pucks in the corners or position himself in front of the net and battle with defenders.  Hawryluk doesn’t allow his size to be a factor in his game, playing quite gritty despite that. At 190 lbs, he also has packed a lot of muscle onto that 5’10” frame already, though there may be the opportunity to be leaner and even stronger going forward.

Hawryluk has extremely good hockey sense. He uses strong stickhandling, and poise with the puck, to slow the game down and he makes the smart play with the puck. He has good vision and passing skills, making his linemates better. Hawryluk is able to find openings in the defence when he doesn’t have the puck, setting himself up as an outlet in the cycle or for a one-timer. His wrist shot has decent power and is extremely accurate, and the release is quick.

Hawryluk is also developped defensively. He has extremely good positioning, and is able to anticipate plays and create turnovers in his own end. He is also a relentless backchecker who just never stops moving his feet. Hawryluk supports his defence well and is able to kill penalties for the Wheat Kings.

Jayce Hawryluk’s style is reminiscent of Ryan O’Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche, with a bit more of an undisciplined edge, that can lead to a few more penalties. This is a style comparison only though, and not one based on talent. In terms of ceiling, Hawrluk could be a 2nd line centre who can play tough matchups and PK time. However he has the type of game that could translate to the bottom lines if he doesn’t hit that ceiling.

Below are some highlights of Jayce Hawryluk in action (at the end is a fun video from when he was 10 years old).

Come back tomorrow to check out my #49 prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft.


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