Name: Jacob Fallon
09-10 team: US NTDP U18/Indiana Ice(USHL)
09-10 stats: (With Indiana) 26 games, 1 goal, 8 assists, 9 points
Jacob Fallon has been following the same path as Phoenix Coyotes draft pick Chris Brown, from elite AAA hockey in the Dallas area, to the NTDP, to the NHL Draft, to the University of Michigan.
Fallon's career took a bit of a left turn this winter when he spent much of the first half of the NTDP season suspended for a drinking violation. A month and a half after returning from suspension, Fallon was involved in another incident at the NTDP, and chose to leave the program for the Indiana Ice of the USHL to get a fresh start. The good news is that despite the turbulent year, Fallon is still expected to join the University of Michigan next year, and still expected to be an NHL draft pick this summer.
Fallon is a pass-first playmaking winger that is at his best when he can use his tremendous speed on the outside and then cut in towards the net. Fallon doesn't possess a great shot, and sometimes falls into the trap of being too afraid to use it and passing up opportunities to get the puck to the net.
Strengths: Passing ability, speed
Needs to Improve: Shooting, discipline, defensive play
Links of Interest:
Fallon Commits to Michigan-The Blog That Yost Built-September 2008
Wolverines Ink Five Players-University of Michigan-November 2009
Fallon Lands with Indiana Ice-Texas Ice Hockey Expert-January 2010
Indiana Ice Update-The Scouting Report-Spring 2010
Always Next Year: Hockey Forwards-MGoBlog-April 2010
USHL Prospect Report-Jacob Fallon-Unofficial USHL Prospects Blog-April 2010
September 24, 2007: "Jacob Fallon, Forward, Texas Attack U16-Very fast forward that isn’t afraid to drive hard to the net."
March 17, 2008: "6. Jacob Fallon - Texas Attack (U16)Comment: Fallon really impressed me when I saw him earlier this year. He should definitely make the team."
September 22, 2008: "Jacob Fallon struggled on Wednesday, but seemed to gain confidence as the week progressed. He has the potential to be one of the best of the bunch if he can play with confidence"
December 3, 2008: "Jacob Fallon: He's another kid that is flying under the radar, but could end up being one of the most valuable players in this class. He's an excellent passer, and the NTDP has really tried to put him in the playmaker role this year. I think he has the tools to become a more all-around scorer though. He lacks prototypical pro size which means he'll probably get drafted fairly late, and should keep him at Michigan for a number of years."
September 23, 2009: Suspensions at NTDP
January 11, 2010: "50. Jacob Fallon-(Michigan)-This is too high for Fallon, even before you consider the discipline issues that got him kicked out of the NTDP program. I wouldn't be surprised to see Fallon get passed over altogether in the draft."
Fallon will be a real wildcard in the draft. On one hand, there's some pretty heavy negatives going against him. He's small, for an offensive playmaker, he didn't score a ton of points, and he left the NTDP under rough circumstances. Occasional absolutely insane Pat Kane comparisons aside, Fallon doesn't seem to have a lot of offensive upside either. And yet he's remained ranked fairly high by NHL Central Scouting throughout the year, earning himself a trip to the NHL Combine, so scouts must be seeing something they like in him.
Not bolting to the Seattle Thunderbirds and sticking with his commitment to the University of Michigan after his NTDP fiasco may have been a very wise move for Fallon. He's got the speed to continue playing at the next level, and playing at Michigan should help him develop his all-around game to the point that he could parlay that speed into a role as a third or fourth line forward at the next level.
As for the discipline issues, it may be a red flag for some teams, but there were enough reports of his good character prior to these incidents that hopefully you can chalk it up to just being in a bad situation. The fact that Michigan stuck with him--Michigan has had to kick exactly one player off the team for behavior in Red Berenson's 20+ year run as head coach--also probably says something. Odds are that this stuff is trivia by the time Fallon is ready to try cracking a pro lineup.
I still think there is the possibility that Fallon could be passed over completely in the draft. He's ranked highly by Central Scouting, but there always tends to be one or two players rated that high who never get picked. But he's a kid that somebody may take a chance in the 5th-7th rounds and hope he develops into something in college.