In a year, a prospect can make great strides. Or take a poor stride and bring it up to par. That’s what six-foot-seven, 240-pound defenseman Jamie Oleksiak did.
A late-round possibility at best a year ago with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede,Oleksiak has improved by leaps and bounds in his first year at Northeastern University and is now being mentioned as a possible first round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft this June.
“If you saw this lanky, skinny, awkward defenseman last year you would have laughed at the thought of a first round ranking,” Future Considerations chief scout Dan Stewart said.
Oleksiak, who has 13 points to compliment 57 minutes in penalties in 38 games, has improved dramatically as a freshman. While his skating has improved impressively, it’s not the only area that has helped launch the Oleksiak hype.
“(He) has been on an almost 90-degree trajectory all season while improving his skating, defensive reads and overall coordination which has firmly planted him in first round conversation,” Stewart added.
First round conversation that includes debates about where he should be slotted among the likes of Saskatoon Blades’ Duncan Siemens, Vancouver Giants giant David Musil and Swede Jonas Brodin. After the New York Rangers went off the board by drafting Moose Jaw Warriors blueliner Dylan McIlrath 10th overall, it wouldn’t shock anyone to see another club make a similar move with Oleksiak.
But still, there are questions surrounding Oleksiak, a query that only the future of the Toronto, ON. native can answer.
“Upside in the offensive aspect of the game is the only unanswered question at this point,” said Stewart. “But with his immense size and skating he will play in the NHL at some point.”
Great strides indeed.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!