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Canadiens 2015 Draft Targets: Jansen Harkins

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Is the well-rounded WHL forward the right player to covet in the upcoming entry draft?

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As the leading scorer of the Prince George Cougars, Jansen Harkins gained notoriety throughout the league as a potential first-rounder, primarily due to his well-rounded play. He's not a flashy player, but he has shown signs of offensive prowess, matched with a penchant for staunch defense.

Place of Birth: North Vancouver, B.C.

Shoots: Left

Position: Center

Heigth: 6’1"   Weight: 182 lbs

No aspect of his skill set particularly stands out,  which is probably the biggest knock against Harkins. That being said, he's blessed with a high hockey IQ, a quality shot, and a reasonably strong passing game. He's not a risky player, preferring to make the high-percentage play, but seeing as he more than doubled his rookie output, it would be naive to peg him as a boring forward. Harkins finished 26th in all-situation and even-strength scoring in the WHL, indicating that his production isn't necessarily tied into his powerplay ice time.

His defensive awareness is what makes him a prime candidate for the first round, seeing as how most scouts agree that his positioning is usually immaculate.

Scouting

Elite Prospects

A blue collar type two-way center. Heads-up player who makes high-percentage plays in all three zones; efficient in all situations. Smooth skater. Out-working the opposition and being hard to play against are leadership traits that Jansen Harkins most definitely embodies.

Has been getting many comparisons, due to his high-end playmaking ability and all-around game, to the player David Krejci. Comparable adaptive game and ability to shoot as well as pass the puck.

Future Considerations

Harkins is a bit of a polarizing prospect as some guys I’ve talked to really like him and think he has the potential to be a solid NHL player while others see him as a kid with some good smarts but many other warts that need improvement. My opinion is that he needs to get stronger and he needs to get faster, but once he does he will be a real heart and soul kind of guy who will do whatever it takes and someone you can plug into any line or role. He will be a player and someone you can count on.

Dobber Prospects

Highly competitive pivot that is always moving his feet wreaking havoc for opposing defenders. Harkins projects as a #2 or 3 energy centerman at the next level, carving out a role as a two-way all-situations forward. He’s an adept puck handler at top speed and owns good vision as a playmaker. Praised for his high-end hockey intelligence and pin-point positioning, it’s no wonder that Harkins projects as an effective two-way checker. His defensive ability should be applauded but Harkins has also shown to be a very dangerous WHL attacker, cashing in on nearly a third of Prince George’s goals this season.

Rankings

Future Considerations: 25th

Craig Button: 23rd

Hockey Prospect: 25th

Central Scouting Service, North American Skaters: 15th

International Scouting Service: 25th

Thoughts

The main attraction in Harkins' case seems to be his defensive acumen, which is surely to catch the eye of several scouts leading up to the draft. His offensive output this season was impressive, although questions remain as to whether or not his game can translate to the NHL.

It's not that adding a player like Harkins to the prospect pool would necessarily be a mistake, but considering that Habs are without a second-round pick this year, it's perhaps a wiser strategy to target a player with a higher ceiling.