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NHL Draft Prospect: Jake Jaremko

Matt Christians

The Player

Name: Jake Jaremko

Position: Center/Wing

2014-2015 team: Elk River(MN) High School/Chicago Steel(USHL)

2014-2015 stats: HS: 24 games 21 goals 41 assists 62 points/USHL: 11 games 0 goals 3 assists 3 points

Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 110th among North American skaters

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Jaremko was a dynamic and electric scorer at the high school level this past season. He builds speed well with a good skating pattern, displays excellent vision and playmaking sense, and is strong on his stick with an average shot, but very quick release.

It's difficult to say there is anything that Jaremko can't do, but certainly a lot that he hasn't done. While he showed elite offensive skills against high school players, there's no guarantee that that scoring ability will even translate to the junior hockey level, let alone the pro level. He's a smaller player, though he plays with a strong, low center of gravity making it difficult to knock him off the puck. He hasn't spent much time playing in a league with a high level of physical contact though, something that could exacerbate his lack of size.

Is he trending up or down heading into the Draft?

Jaremko was eligible for the 2014 Draft--he made the age cut-off by only three weeks-- but was never really considered a legitimate prospect to be selected. He made a huge leap in play last summer and looked like a completely different player this past fall when he was the most dominant player in the Minnesota Elite League, which put him on NHL Central Scouting's radar as a player to be selected this year. He had a strong high school season where he won the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award as the state's top senior player. After the high school season, he played 10 games with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, but only managed three assists. That's not many games, and it's difficult to insert a new player into an established line-up that late in a season, so it's not necessarily a bad sign, but teams would likely feel a lot better about him heading into the Draft if they saw nine or 10 points in that stretch.

Where is he projected to go in the Draft?

NHL Central Scouting has been a big fan of Jaremko all season, putting him in the range of a player that will definitely be drafted. NHL teams are likely to be a bit more skeptical though. An older player, a weak league, and a lack of junior production, even if it's a very small sample size and understandable circumstances are a lot of red flags. Jaremko looks like a sixth or seventh round draft pick, with the possibility of going undrafted

How does he project as a pro?

Jaremko's ceiling is as a potential second or third line winger that plays a strong two-way game and provides some good set-up ability. He's a smaller player, but the NHL game is opening up more for smaller players, and Jaremko plays more of a pro-style game that will suit him well even though he's smaller in stature.

Where will he go next?

Jaremko will play for the Chicago Steel in the USHL next season. The hope is that playing in Chicago full-time will result in more consistent offensive results for Jaremko. Jaremko is committed to play NCAA hockey at Minnesota State University when he is done with his USHL career.