Joel Dorcas | May 26th, 2020
Jake Sanderson enters the 2020 NHL Draft as the number four North American prospect. He is widely considered the second-best defenseman of the entire Draft. His father, a former NHL veteran of 1,104 games, Geoff Sanderson, has paved the way for the youngster to succeed and excel at the next level. Let’s dig in and take a closer look at the 6’2′, 182-pound product from the U.S. National Development program Jake Sanderson.
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Team: US Development/ set to join the University of North Dakota in 2020-2021
2020 Draft Prospect Ranking (Central Scouting): fourth(North America)
The stock on Jake Sanderson has been on a steady incline for a good while. TSN’s Craig Button, amongst many other analysts, has the 17-year-old on a steady rise since the year started. Sanderson was ranked 33rd on Button’s list in January, as of March he has climbed all the way to 12th. He trails only Jamie Drysdale as the best defenseman available. He is considered to be the top American born player on the board. It shouldn’t be a surprise if he gets nabbed within the top 10 picks based on his improved play and the fact that he is one of the few elite rearguards available.
Not Just a Great Skater
The impressive array of talents Jake Sanderson has at his disposal is very impressive. Immediately evident are his defensive skills. Sanderson is very responsible in his own zone and takes pride in shutting down the opposition all the while staying out of the penalty box. He uses his long frame to his advantage along the boards with tight-checking and good stick work. This is an area of his game that has gotten better and will improve once he gains more muscle.
If there were any concerns, and there aren’t many, it would be how Sanderson would fit on an NHL team in terms of providing offense. This may be a part of his game that is difficult to judge based on the competition. So far the production has actually been decent. For both the U-17 and U-18 U.S. teams, Sanderson has led all defencemen in team scoring with 24 points in 44 games and 29 points in 47 games respectively. Sanderson is so efficient in his own zone, it will be interesting to see if he jumps into the rush more often with North Dakota next year. He has hinted his interest in this style as he would like to model himself similarly to Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars. Someone who excels at skating but can also provide offense.
Good Defensemen Wanted
The fact that there is debate as to if Sanderson will be picked in the top 10 or not just shows us how deep this draft class is. The stock rose so quickly on Sanderson that he could go even earlier than that. You can bet that the likes of the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators have taken a close look. Teams such as the Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators, amongst others, are hoping he somehow slips.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images