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Canadiens 2017 Top 25 Under 25: #19 Jeremiah Addison

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His junior career complete, Addison will now make the leap to professional hockey.

Aaron Bell/CHL Images

Jeremiah Addison’s CHL career ended in victory, hoisting the Memorial Cup as a CHL champion. His next stop will be with the Laval Rocket and his first year in the AHL.

One of the last selections (207th) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Addison was not the top offensive player, nor the MVP for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires last season, though he did demonstrate some clutch skills when he scored a hat trick to send his team to the Memorial Cup Final.

The post-season performance capped off a strong year. The tenacious left-winger was the third-highest scoring forward for the Spitfires, behind Gabriel Vilardi and Aaron Luchuk, and tied with former Canadiens defence prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

A deeper look, however, will reveal that Addison was only the team’s seventh-best player on a points-per-game basis, as the club also featured prospects Logan Brown and Jeremy Bracco who had brief but productive stints, clocking in at better than a point per game. Addison scored at a rate of 0.84 points per game; a fraction below his previous season (0.85).

Image credit: EliteProspects

This production isn’t indicative of a future NHL mainstay, but does demonstrate consistency for a player more noted for his defensive game and complementary scoring than one who can play a top-six role.

No stranger to the rough stuff, he spends his share of time in the penalty box; last season he amassed 62 penalty minutes in 51 games played. He also served a suspension for a stick infraction in last year’s playoffs after coming to the defence of a teammate.

Voting

The voting on Jeremiah Addison went from as high as ninth overall to not even making the top 25 on two ballots. The EOTP community vote was close to the mark again, pegging Addison at #20.

Top 25 Under 25 History

2015: #34 2016: #30

This is Addison’s first year in the top 25 after finishing 30th last season as an honourable mention. He picked up a few decent votes in 2016, but not enough to make the final tally of top prospects.

A good season and a Memorial Cup later, along with the departure of a few eligible players sees Addison now among the better young players in the Canadiens organization. He will hope to increase his stock in his first full season as a pro with the Rocket, and has the tools to succeed at a higher level.

Strengths

Intangibles: hockey’s favourite word. Whatever you want to call the less-physical skills needed to play professionally, Addison’s got them. He has a high hockey IQ, showing smarts at both ends of the ice, particularly in the defensive zone and along the boards. The left-winger is also noted for his intensity, playing with an edge and able to get under the skin of his opponents. His forechecking skills are strong, and his positioning without the puck and his teammate support are top-notch.

Of his hockey-specific skills, his strength may well be his well-roundedness. At 6’0” and 185 pounds, he has an average build. He scores relatively consistently, even if he won’t be a top producer on his team.

He has a good skating stride, which combines with his strong positioning to allow him to excel in forechecking, backchecking, and loose puck recovery. He also has a powerful shot and boasted a shooting percentage slightly above the OHL average.

With a small sample size of playoff games under his belt, ‘clutch’ could be a word associated with Addison in the future, though we’ll have to see more yet. In post-season play since 2015, he has scored 12 goals and added six assists in 15 games — notably higher than his regular-season production.

Weaknesses

Just as the jack-of-all-trades profile can be an asset for a hockey player, it can also be his shortcoming. His scouting reports usually mention his skating, shot, and physical presence, and yet, even as an over-ager, he has failed to match the offensive contributions of other 20-year-old CHL players who’ve beaten the odds to play in the NHL.

He has good speed for backchecking and thwarting opponents’ breakouts, but lacks the separation ability to break free in one-on-one battles. His shot, while powerful, doesn’t have the accuracy to turn into a serious threat. The toolkit currently available to him will allow him to be a complementary piece on a line with more offensively skilled players than himself, but won’t allow him to be the driving force.

Time will tell whether his violent stick incident in the playoffs is a sign of things to come, but so far it seems like an outlier in his disciplinary history, and not an indication of a serious issue. That could change when needing to make an impression among better players at the pro level.

Projection

His junior stats don’t foreshadow an offensive NHL role in the future, though he’s shown flashes of potential, particularly in the post-season. He’ll play his first full season of AHL hockey (after a brief stint in 2015) with the Laval Rocket this year, and depending on who the Montreal Canadiens select for the roster, he could be playing behind several superior left-wingers, such as Daniel Carr, Chris Terry, and possibly Martin Réway.

Addison has the defensive skills and hockey IQ to carve himself a specialty role, and it’s not a huge stretch to imagine him on a checking line or as a penalty-killing specialist in the NHL, though that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

With the direction the Canadiens seem to be taking under Marc Bergevin, a player of Addison’s makeup may just be the kind of character injection the GM sees in his team’s future. He is charismatic, smart, defensively responsible, physically difficult to play against, and can pitch in with secondary scoring, and that’s exactly the sort of player the Habs have been adding to their bottom two lines.