Each year, there are players in the NHL Entry Draft whose rankings get boosted after piggybacking on the talent of gifted linemates. That is one of the main concerns with Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who played most of the season centring one of the top offensive prospects available — Kailer Yamamoto — with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. When you look at the many aspects of his game, you discover that Anderson-Dolan is a promising player in his own right.
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Weight: 191 lbs.
Despite contributing at better than a point-per-game pace this season, his best asset is his defensive play. He’s not a particularly tall centreman at 5’11”, but he has decent mass on that frame at 191 pounds, and throws that at opposition players in the defensive end when the opportunity presents itself.
Usually he prefers to pressure the opposition players rather than try to eliminate them, using a strong work ethic to stay with his man along the boards and attempt to gain control of the puck.
While he does have good acceleration, he doesn’t have a great top speed to take advantage when he does force a turnover, so he isn’t able to turn defence into offence solely on his own. When does get into the attacking end, it’s the speed of his hands that stands out.
The most obvious benefit of those quick hands is the accurate snapshot that is on display several times in the highlight video above. He doesn’t need much of a backswing to be able to launch a shot, and that allows him to get pucks on target with little space to work with.
With that ability and his assertive style of play, he’s able to work his offensive game from the slot, and can get a lot of power behind a shot from just a few feet in front of the goaltender. That ability will translate well to the professional ranks, much more so than players who need the space allotted by the junior-level positioning of defencemen in the amateur ranks to use their big windup. He gives goaltenders little time to react, and that trait will serve him well at any level.
Those quick hands also allow him to zip passes around the offensive zone, and having a linemate as skilled as Yamamoto off to one side of the net to take advantage saw him rewarded for his playmaking this season.
Anderson-Dolan finished 30th in the WHL in scoring, and sixth among WHL first-year-draft-eligible forwards. Of his 44 five-on-five points, 40 of them were primary. Twenty-five of those were goals, tying him for 14th in the league and just three back of Yamamoto’s 28 for the lead among draft-eligibles, serving as a testament to his good shot.
Hockey Prospect Black Book
... [A] two-way pivot who plays above his weight class and uses his quickness and skill to both defend and create; a player who makes and wants to make something happen on most shifts....
Anderson-Dolan is that typical heart-and-soul, all-hustle player who attacks from the defensive side of the puck and can be relied upon in both zones.
Hockey Prospect: 43
Future Considerations: 37
Central Scouting service: 21 (North American skaters)
Corey Pronman: 43
Only one outlet has him pegged as a first-rounder, with several slotting him as an early- to mid-second-round selection.
Anderson-Dolan would be an off-the-board pick if he were selected with the Montreal Canadiens’ 25th-overall pick, though he could be one of the team’s options if management is dead set on adding a centre on June 23. Even in that case, there could be a more talented player available.
However, he would be a great prospect to add with one of the late second-round picks the Habs hold if he were to fall several spots from his projections. He already has some skills that would allow him to have success at the NHL level, and the potential to develop those abilities that could keep him from the top league.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan has middle-six potential, and he won’t need the zonal sheltering that many young prospects need, thanks to his strong defensive game. He’s not an answer to what is seen as a hole on the top line, but you can’t go wrong adding a centreman with all-around ability to the organization.