Jakob Pelletier is an intriguing option at left wing in this year’s draft. The third overall pick in the 2017 QMJHL Draft made the most of his season, building upon his great rookie campaign last year.
He made the most of his time on the ice, racking up 39 goals and 50 assists for 89 points in 65 games, a big improvement over his 61 points in 60 games the previous season. His strong on-ice prowess didn’t shine as much in the playoffs, where he struggled and only amassed two goals and one assist in seven games.
Birthplace: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Date of birth: March 7, 2001
Position: Left Wing
Weight: 160 lbs.
Team: Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Pelletier’s game can be divided into three different aspects: his skating, his offensive tools, and his defensive game. He’s a complete player, being incredible in all three zones. He’s the perfect exemple of what a 200-foot player looks like.
He finished the regular season with marks of 1.37 points per game and 0.60 goals per contest. His on-ice success translated enough for him to earn a nomination for the Top Professional Prospect Award in the QMJHL. Suffice to say that he is focused on becoming an NHL hockey player, taking no shortcuts to get there.
Pelletier was an important player with the Wildcats. He played on both their power-play unit and their penalty-killing formation. He is a relentless forechecker, aggressive on the puck yet very dedicated to the backcheck.
He also demonstrated great leadership qualities that earned him an alternate captain role this year. He seems to have all the qualities and intangibles that a front office would look positively upon in a potential prospect.
His skating is one of his clear assets. He’s shifty, quick, and has good speed to fend off defenders. The power-play sequence in the video below illustrates how good and nifty Pelletier is at using his skating and shiftiness to create space and to keep possession of the puck. His speed allows him to fake a defender and cut straight to the net, which is where he scored a handful of his goals.
He is a creative playmaking forward who knows how to utilize his talents. He likes to carry the puck and can orchestrate plays with his excellent vision. A bulldog mentality sees him never stop working in battles, creating a scoring chances in the attacking end and transitioning from defense to offense in a flash from his own.
Even though he racked up 39 goals this year, he is projected as more of a playmaker. He’s sharp on the ice, has incredible vision, and understands how making sure plays will develop into scoring chances. He anticipates plays while always keeping an eye out for his teammates, able to thread passes in high traffic and pinpoint his passes to open up lanes.
Pelletier has good hands that allow him to control the puck, dictating the pace around him with the speed to avoid defenders. His own aggressive forechecking allows him to put pressure on defencemen and create turnovers.
His soft hands help him finish off plays in tight areas and around the net. He’s great at driving the net and creating havoc. A great shot is also in his bag of tricks, and that’s something he could stand to use more often.
Corey Pronman summarized Pelletier’s game quite nicely: ’’If you ever can’t find Pelletier on the ice, look around the opponent’s slot or net and you’ll likely spot him. He lives in the tough areas of the ice and competes very well for pucks despite not being that big.”
Pelletier is a fast, skilled winger who’s committed to all three zones on the ice. He’s a forward who can score on a fairly consistent basis. He’s dangerous with the puck and can be very creative if needed. He also never stops working and will always keep himself in movement and ready to pounce on a puck.
While this might irks some folks around these parts, Pelletier’s game is similar to Brad Marchand’s — a stylistic comparison and not one based on pure skills or his potential ceiling.
Rankings (not all rankings are final)
Dobber Prospects: #27
Elite Prospects: #24
Future Considerations: #20
Hockey Prospect: #31
NHL Central Scouting: #27 (NA skaters)
Pronman/The Athletic: #40
He will most likely be selected near the end of the first round. Whichever team selects him, they might have quite the gem in this diminutive player. He’s shown he will work for his offence and that will ease the size concerns going forward.