A few weeks ago I took part in a mock draft put on by Lowetide and TSN 1260. I researched prospects a few days in advance and established a rough list consisting of guys like Timo Meier, Yevgeni Svechnikov, Oliver Kylington and Nick Merkley. Jeremy Roy wasn’t even on my radar until I started digging into his scouting reports and numbers.
He turned out to be my pick in the draft.
Here’s what convinced me to change my mind in such a short period of time.
According to scouts, almost everything about Roy is impressive. A high hockey IQ defender, Roy plays top minutes and is said to be almost constantly aware of what’s going on on the ice. He has the talent to either skate or pass the puck out of the zone on the break-out and is offensively aware enough to quarterback a power play. On top of all that, he’s a recognized leader. Roy wears an “A” for his club the Sherbrooke Phoenix’s and was the captain of the Canada Quebec U17 team in 2013.
Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects has this to say about Roy:
His absolute and total awareness of other players’ positions on the ice is a testament to his incredible knowledge of the game. Roy possesses the intangibles of maturity and character that can’t be taught, as well as the individual skill that turns heads every time he is on the ice. All-in-all, a highly intelligent defenceman that plays high-percentage hockey and is a catalyst for positive plays in all three zones.
Has a real smooth stride and is pretty mobile…very mature game with strong positioning and smart with the puck…tough to separate from it as he has a heavy stick…makes terrific passes and rarely has anything intercepted…has a good point shot as well and he gets it on net…has the vision and creativity to QB a PP…solid defensively, using his smarts and his strong stick to break up plays and take away chances…uses his strength on defense to play physically down low and contain his man…used in all situations…a big presence on the ice and slows down the play when the puck is on his stick.
His frequent NHL comparison? Duncan Keith. And in fact, according to the prospect projection tool, Keith is indeed a comparable to Roy according to his junior results.
The only perceived downside to Roy’s game seems to be his slight below average size (6′, 190 pounds) and the fact he isn’t as fast as some would like him to be as a “undersized” defender. Otherwise, his play is already mature and well rounded by all accounts.
Roy’s counting stats are almost as impressive as his scouting report. An offensively gifted defender who led his blueline in scoring at age 16 (and won the QMJHL’s award as the league’s top rookie defenseman), Roy’s season this year was cut to just 46 games. He nevertheless still led his team’s defense corps in scoring with 43 points, a near point per game pace comparable to possible top-5 pick Ivan Provorov.
Roy’s NHLe of 19 was the best in the QMJHL amongst defenders and the fifth best amongst blueliners in the entire CHL. Roy also contributed to over 27% of his teams’ scoring while he was in the lineup. No draft eligible defender had a better ratio in Canadian junior hockey. Roy was even top-5 in the QMJHL in terms of shots on net per game (2.61).
The only wrinkle in Roy’s numbers is he scored a majority of his point on the PP this year, counting just 17 of his points at 5on5 (40%). That said, defenders tend to be more reliant on the extra man for their scoring in general, so it’s not as a major a concern as it would be in a forward.
Despite near universal praise for Roy’s game plus some of the best numbers you can find in the CHL for blueliners, he is frequently ranked in the latter half of the first round by most outfits. I don’t know whether the truncated season or Roy’s size is the culprit behind him being considered a kid to pick in the 20’s, but this means he will likely be around when Calgary takes the podium at 15th overall.
The Flames don’t tend to choose players from the Quebec league very often, but the last time they did it was a rangy defender named Ryan Culkin. Roy might be good enough to convince them to try again this time around.