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 2020 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 John-Jason Peterka.
With Leon Draisaitl excelling in the NHL, and Moritz Seider being drafted sixth overall last year, Germany is emerging as the newest challenger to join the elite hockey nations. This year’s NHL draft sees that development continue. Tim Stutzle is one of the top-rated prospects in the draft. He is not alone though, as John-Jason Peterka is another potential first-round pick coming out of Germany. Peterka put up seven goals and 11 points in 42 games this year, playing for EHC München in the DEL, Germany’s top men’s league. He also put up three points in 10 games in the Champions Hockey League.
Peterka also impressed when playing on the international stage. Appearing at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship, he put up four goals and six points in seven games at the World Juniors. Peterka also played at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World 1A Championship. He put up two goals and eight points in five games, helping Germany to win the tournament and earn promotion to the top group of the U18s. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Crisis has taken away his opportunity to perform on the biggest Under-18 stage.
John-Jason Peterka Scouting Report
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born January 14th, 2002 — Muenchen, Germany
Height 5’11” — Weight 192 lbs [180 cm / 87 kg]
Peterka has a very wide stance, but it does not seem to away from his skating, in fact in some ways it helps. His low centre of gravity allows Peterka to fight through checks and maintain his balance. He is strong on his skates and tough to knock off the puck. However, Peterka will need to improve his upper-body strength in order to take full advantage of this and win battles along the boards and in front of the net. Peterka does not seem to lose any speed due to that wide stride. He has a very quick first step and excellent acceleration. His ability to change speeds can be a weapon that he can use to get past defenders on the rush. He also has very good edgework and agility. This allows Peterka to avoid defenders, both with as well as without the puck.
Peterka marries his strong skating with excellent hands. He can make plays while moving at top speed. This makes him especially dangerous on the rush. He also controls the puck well down low on the cycle game. Peterka is a sniper. He has an outstanding wrist shot and snapshot, both featuring high-end power and accuracy. Peterka also has quick hands and the ability to disguise his release. When defenders back off to protect against his speed, he has the smarts to use them as a screen and fire the puck on the net. Peterka’s quick hands are also useful in tight to the goal as he can score with a deke or a deflection.
Peterka also has the ability to play the role of a playmaker. His ability to control the puck allows him to speed up or slow down the play to create passing lanes. He keeps his head up and sees the play extremely well, finding openings that others do not always see. Peterka is exceptionally smart. He makes the smart play with the puck and gets open without it. He loves to work the give-and-go type play to create space and generate a scoring chance for himself or a teammate.
Peterka’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. Playing in a men’s league he seems to shy away from engaging physically from time-to-time. It is hoped that as he adds more muscle to his upper-body, and matures physically, this part of his game will round out. He is also inconsistent in his positioning. There are times he does a good job of watching his man and cutting down passing lanes, but there are others where he chases the puck and becomes a bit undisciplined. This is an area he will need some extra coaching.
Projection and Comparison
Peterka has the offensive skills and the intelligence to be a top-six forward at the next level. He is likely to stay in Germany next year, continuing to play in the DEL. As he continues to get more minutes against men, look for to Peterka to put up bigger offensive numbers and improve his defensive game. His game is reminiscent of Patrick Kane, however, 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 John-Jason Peterka that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
John-Jason Peterka Main Photo:
24 January 2020, Bavaria, Munich: Ice hockey: DEL, EHC Red Bull Munich – Eisbären Berlin, main round, 40th day of play in the Olympic ice sports stadium. Kevin Reich (r-l), goalkeeper of Munich, holds a shot from Mark Olver of Berlin, while John-Jason Peterka of Munich runs behind him. Photo: Tobias Hase/dpa (Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images)