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Jack Kopacka was a late round pick of Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 2014 OHL Draft, as there were concerns that he would skip out on going the CHL route, and opt for an NCAA scholarship. The Greyhounds eventually convinced the Lapeer, Michigan native to report. It took a while, and he played only four games in his rookie season. With the Greyhounds absolutely loading up for a playoff run last year, he did not get any time in the playoffs. Kopacka was given a bigger role this season, after many of the Greyhounds older players graduated. He thrived, putting up 20 goals and 43 points in 67 games. Kopacka added two goals and four points in 12 playoff games.
Kopacka played in last fall’s USA Hockey Top Prospects game, and the CHL Top Prospects game. His older brother, Jonathan Kopacka, is playing NCAA hockey for the Air Force Academy.
Jack Kopacka Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #75
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Mar 5 1998 — Lapeer, Michigan
Height 6’02” — Weight 190 lbs [188 cm / 86 kg]
Jack Kopacka is a very good skater. He lohas excellent speed and good acceleration. Kopacka can be dangerous off the rush, and gets in quickly on the fore check. He can beat a defender wide, accelerate and drive to the front of the net. He needs to learn to finish his checks and be more effective at forcing defencemen into turnovers. Kopacka also has good agility and edge work. Kopacka is able to maneuver through traffic, both with and without the puck. He could stand to add more lower body and core strength. This would improve his balance as well as allow him to be stronger on the puck.
Kopacka is a very good stick handler. He is able to control the puck while moving at top speed. This makes him extremely dangerous off the rush. Kopacka’s ability to change gears makes him difficult to defend one-one-one. When defenders back off to defend against his skating, he can take advantage with a quick wrist shot. Kopacka’s wrister is hard, and features a quick release. He could stand to improve on his passing skills. He is not very creative as a playmaker, looking for the simple play to a teammate. There are some questions if Kopacka reads the play, and movements of his teammates well.
Kopacka is involved in battles along the boards and in front of the net, but currently lacks the strength to do so effectively. Kopacka does have good height though. His frame looks like it could stand to add some muscle, and this would help him greatly at the next level.
Kopacka’s defensive game is well-developed for a player his age. He has very good positioning in his own end. Kopacka uses a long, active stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He is willing to be a shot blocker, and put his body on the line. When he does get the puck, Kopacka looks to transition quickly to offense. Similarly to his game at the offensive end, Kopacka’s lack of muscle hurts him in the defensive zone. He can sometimes be pushed off the puck due to his lack of muscle.
Potential and Style
Kopacka’s size and skating ability make him and intriguing NHL prospect. However, there are some questions about his ceiling. With proper development, and a bit of luck he could end up as a solid second liner. It is more likely that he is a third line player, with the albility to move up in the lineup in case of injuries. Kopacka’s game resembles Viktor Stalberg, but this is a stylistic comparison only; and not one based on skill or ability.
The following compilation of Jack Kopacka’s highlights is assembled from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the latest on the NHL Draft.