On a team with many downfalls, the bright spots can be easier to spot and appreciate.
A bright spot was exactly what Jackson Houck was to the 2013 edition of the Vancouver Giants. Although the team dwelled in the basement of the WHL standings for most of the year, scouts still flocked to see their games. Houck was one reason why.
The 6-foot, 194-pound Giants star forward finished off the season as the teams leading scorer with 23 goals and 60 points in 69 games. He also amassed 68 penalty minutes and was only a minus-16 on a team that got outscored 299 to 197 during the regular season.
While not the most skilled player, Houck works and grinds to create plays and then polishes them off with a lightning quick release. His hard work and energy often frustrates his opponents and can swing momentum around in games.
Houck’s blue-collar style of play has impressed Future Considerations’ scout Dan Chan.
“Houck is a versatile, hard-nosed forward that produces on the ice through sheer determination and hardwork and finishes it off with a deceptive shot.” Chan said. “He specializes in agitating opponents thus drawing penalties.
“He’s a player any coach would love to have in their lineup as he never takes a shift off and battles for every puck.”
However one area of concern with Houck lies in his skating. He’s not the fleetest of foot and can sometimes be found trailing the play as a result.
“He will need to continue to work on his foot speed if he has any hope of keeping up in the pro ranks” Chan said.
The 18-year-old’s starring role with the Giants and all-round solid play has assisted him mightily in his steady climb up NHL draft boards everywhere. Houck sits 77th on Future Considerations’ list for the 2013 NHL Draft and could very well see himself be selected inside the top-60 come June in New Jersey.
After all – he’s got all the ingredients to be a bright spot on an NHL team someday.