“Five For…” is a Q&A feature with NHL Draft eligibles that touches on their lives and careers leading into the 2020 NHL Draft. This edition features forward Jake Sanderson of the U.S Under-18 National Team.
Jake Sanderson has set himself up very well for the 2020 NHL Draft.
He captained the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, collecting 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 47, and 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 19 games against United States Hockey League competition.
Sanderson, the son of former NHLer Geoff Sanderson, looks to be one of the top defenders in this draft class and slots No. 17 in Future Considerations’ Spring ranking for the 2020 draft.
Among defensemen, only Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League is ranked ahead of him.
Future Considerations recently caught up with Sanderson:
FC: Looking at your season, what are your thoughts on how it went?
JS: “I think as a team we surprised a lot of people being behind the ‘01s and how strong they were individually. I think we were a different team, we played a different style. We played a bit of a grittier game than them. I think we surprised a lot of people with how we progressed through the year and how we got so much better from September to the end.”
FC: Is there one point in the season that stands out for you?
JS: “Definitely winning the 5 Nations tournament in Sweden in November. Just because it was our first international win together and it was nice to get a reward after all the adversity we’d been through.”
FC: How about in your hockey career so far, is there a highlight so far?
JS: “Honestly, just making the USNTDP is a highlight for sure, just because I’ve learned so much since I’ve been there, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve been to Sweden a couple time, I’ve been to the Czech Republic. The NTDP has just brought so much to my life.”
FC: You shot up most rankings this season. Why do you think that is?
JS: “I think as our team got better through the season it kind of impacted everyone’s individual play. So, I think it wasn’t just me, it was everybody else on my team. Individually, I think my confidence grew as the season went on and I started to become more comfortable with my play, I started to jump up in the rush a bit more and trying to score more goals.”
FC: Have you put any thought into where you think you’ll be selected?
JS: “Not really, I haven’t really been thinking about it a lot recently because it was postponed. I was kind of bummed out about that. I haven’t really been thinking about where I’ll be going. I had goals of where I wanted to go, but honestly, it’s just something that you can’t control.”