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 2019 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 Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Peterborough Petes goaltender Hunter Jones.
Undrafted a year ago, Hunter Jones had appeared in just 15 games as an OHL rookie. Now, after taking over as the Peterborough Petes starting goalie, Jones played 57 games with a 3.31 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage. Peterborough was overmatched in their first-round matchup with the Oshawa Generals and lost the series in five games. The fact that he was playing behind the clearly weaker team is seen in Jones stats during the series. He put up a 4.66 goals-against-average and a .862 save percentage.
Jones, a Brantford native, has played for Canada on the international stage. However, those appearances have been limited. He was part of Team Canada Black at the 2017 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge but played just one game. Jones ended up with a silver medal from the tournament. He was also part of Canada’s entry at the World Junior A Hockey Championship that winter. As a 17-year-old goalie in an Under-19 tournament, he was relegated to the bench.
Hunter Jones Scouting Report
Goaltender — shoots Left — catches Left
Born September 21st, 2000 — Brantford, Ontario
Height 6’4.5″ — Weight 202 lbs [194 cm/92 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
Coming in at 6’4.5″ at the NHL Draft Combine, Jones has the size that NHL teams are looking for in a modern goalie prospect. His big frame takes up a lot of net and minimizes the amount of space that shooters have to look at. Jones is an aggressive goalie who comes well out of his net in order to cut down angles and give a shooter even less open space to look at.
He is very athletic but his technique is a bit raw. He can sometimes come out too far and also needs improvement on his rebound control. This can lead to opponents having open nets on second-chance opportunities. His powerful legs move him side-to-side quickly, however, Jones has a tendency to overcommit and this can also get him out of position. At the junior level, his impressive athleticism can help Jones recover and make saves but he must improve this as he faces better shooters.
Jones is a quick and compact butterfly. He does a good job with his legs and takes away the bottom of the net. However, his technique again needs refinement. He can sometimes go down too early, leaving the top of the net open. Jones’ athleticism is seen in his strong glove hand and good blocker.
Jones has matured as the season has gone along. Playing behind a weak Peterborough team, he did not let this get to him and was always ready to make the next save after giving up a goal. He kept his team in games, often when they were giving up the majority of the high-danger scoring chances. Jones has good instincts for slowing down the play and getting whistles when he sees his defence start to tire. He understands his limitations. He will come out of his net to stop the puck behind the net and give it to a defender but knows that handling the puck is not his strength and thus avoids getting himself into trouble.
Projection and Comparison
Jones has outstanding size and athleticism. These tools help him to project as a future number one goaltender. However, he will need to work on his technique. Jones has only played one season as a starter in junior hockey and that lack of game time shows. A strong goalie coach would help him to refine his technique and could turn him into a star. However, there are no sure things with young goaltenders and Jones is a real boom or bust type of prospect. In terms of style, his game is reminiscent of Jose Theodore, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Hunter Jones that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
PETERBOROUGH, ON – MARCH 28: Hunter Jones #29 of the Peterborough Petes gets set to face a shot against the Oshawa Generals during Game Four of the Eastern Conference OHL QuarterFinals at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on March 28, 2019, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The Generals defeated the Petes 5-2 to take a 3-1 series lead. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)