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Edit: Drafted 94th by the Edmonton Oilers.
It was a long and difficult season for the Vancouver Giants. The rebuilding club, to put it lightly, just wasn’t very good. However for a prospect like Jackson Houck, playing on a struggling club can have its advantages. Despite a slow start with just 5 goals in the first half of the year, Don Hay and the Giants kept giving Houck plenty of opportunities with Top 6 ice time, and plenty of time on the powerplay. Houck took full advantage scoring 18 goals in the second half to give him 23 on the year.
Houck is another prospect who comes from good bloodlines. His father played in the NCAA and then turned pro playing in the NHL. He was a 4th round pick of the Oilers who even got in 16 career NHL games.
Houck has some international experience playing for Team Pacific at the 2011 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. Playing for Team BC in 2010, he won a gold medal at the Canada winter games.
Born Feb 27 1995 — North Vancouver, BC
Height 6.00 — Weight 186 — Shoots Right
The first thing you notice about Houck is how he just loves to hit. He is a torpedo on the forecheck and makes life miserable for defencemen skating back to retrieve dump-ins. Houck is a physical player who goes to the dirty areas of the ice and is always willing to battle for the puck. He also has some offensive skill. His wrist shot merely has decent power, but he has a quick release which really helps make it a lot more effective. He has good stickhandling and puck protection skills along with decent passing ability. Still it is Houck’s physical presence that will get him noticed, and he’s not afraid to drop the gloves if necessary. He’s especially grown into a role where he sticks up for his teammates.
Houck’s top line speed is just slightly above average, however he does need some work on his first step quickness and acceleration. He’s got quick enough feet as seen in his good edgework and agility. The issue is that his startup stride is awkward and clumsy. This is good news though, as it is something that he can correct through working with a skating coach. Houck is strong on the puck.
Houck plays a strong defensive game. He brings that physical battle to his own end of the ice, and works hard along the boards. He’s also got very good hockey sense and cuts down passing and shooting lanes. Houck is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team, killing penalties, and blocking shots.
Houck’s style is reminiscent of Brandon Prust. However Houck might even have a little more offensive potential should he be able to develop and hit his ceiling. No matter what, Houck’s non stop motor, good defensive skills, and willingness to do what ever it takes to help his team shows a player who cant be counted out as an NHL prospect.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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