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2014 NHL Draft Prospect: Jack Dougherty

Tom Sorensen

The Player

Jack Dougherty

Defenseman

US NTDP U18

2013-2014 stats: 55 games 7 goals 17 assists 24 points

Height: 6'1" Weight: 181 lbs.

Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 30th among NA skaters

What are his strengths? Weaknesses?

Dougherty is a solid two-way defenseman that can play in just about any situation.. He's not a pure offensive defenseman, but moves the puck well and has a decent shot from the point. He plays a responsible defensive game and shows good intelligence with his positioning.

His skating is generally good for a player his size, but his feet can be a little heavy and he sometimes struggles moving laterally and defending faster forwards one-on-one.

How was his draft year? Trending up or down?

Dougherty was impressive last summer at the US Select 17 Festival, and earned an invite to move from St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota to play for the US NTDP team. His strong play early with the NTDP moved him into consideration for the second round of the NHL Draft. As the year progressed, he never quite made the push to be a first round candidate.

Draft projection?

Dougherty is in a big group of defenseman ranked somewhere in the late-first to early-second round. It's always possible a team might have Dougherty ranked first among that group of defensemen on their list and take him in the first round, but more than likely, Dougherty gets picked somewhere in the mid-to-late second round.

Pro upside?

Dougherty most likely doesn't have the upside to be a top pairing defenseman at the NHL level, but his versatility should make him a steady long-time NHLer. His offensive skills aren't quite at the point where he could be a threat on the power play, but he could develop into a defensive-minded second pairing defenseman that logs a good amount of ice time. Dougherty may not have as much upside as some of the other defenseman taken near him in the draft, but balances that out by being a little safer in terms of reaching his upside.

Where will he go next?

Dougherty will play at the University of Wisconsin next season, where he will be expected to jump in and play a big role right away after Wisconsin lost the likes of Jake McCabe and Frankie Simonelli off of last year's team. Wisconsin has a tremendous reputation for developing defensemen for the next level. If Dougherty progresses well, he could be ready to sign a pro contract after two years, and ready for the NHL after a brief stop in the minors.