40Jakob Pelletier
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2019: #3 Jakob Pelletier

With their first first rounder in two years, the Flames had plenty of options to choose from. Despite having plenty of left handed forwards (and small ones, at that) already in the system, the Flames went for 5’9″, 161 pound Jakob Pelletier.

What made the Flames go with the Quebec City prospect was quite clear: he can put points up on offence, play effective defence, and do both with extreme relentlessness. Often described as playing bigger than he is, Pelletier impressed Flames scouting staff with his high IQ and his high work rate, making him an irresistible pick in the late first round. He lands at third on his inaugural top 20.

How did we get here?

Pelletier first made a name for himself in the Quebec Midget AAA leagues. As a 15 year old, Pelletier lead his team in scoring with 57 points in 40 games, and especially turned it on in the playoffs, scoring 29 in 17 games and leading the Seminaire St-Francois Blizzard to a championship. Thanks to these performances, he was selected third overall by the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL draft.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Pelletier made an immediate impact on arrival, picking up 61 points in 60 games and finishing top three in team scoring as a rookie. His work earned him a nod on the QMJHL’s all-Rookie team and a spot on Canada’s White team during the  U17 World Hockey Challenge roster. He scored four goals in the tournament, leading the team in that department.

Headed into his draft season, Pelletier was tabbed as one to watch from the QMJHL. He lived up to the expectations, finishing first among all first time eligible QMJHL prospects in scoring, and was selected 26th overall by the Flames.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein 

Well, “finishing first among all first time eligible QMJHL prospects in scoring” tells you a lot already, but let’s look at what else he succeeds in.

Games Played Goals Assists Points
65 39 50 89

A top line fixture all season, Pelletier was a pretty consistent scorer all year long, his longest scoring drought lasting two games. He also liked to rack up the multi-point games, picking up 30 of those during the season. He was also an all situations contributor, picking up 28 powerplay points and four shorthanded points. Of course, that pales in comparison to his 5v5 scoring, where he scored 52 points with 36 of them being primary. That means he contributed on 33% of all of Moncton’s 5v5 goals, and made the primary contribution on 23% of them.

Relative to the rest of the Q, Pelletier finished seventh in scoring league-wide and ninth in point-per-game scoring. Look at just U18 players, he finished second in both categories behind budding superstar Alexis Lafreniere, meaning that he led all draft eligible prospects (side note: Lafreniere is amazing).

The major selling point for Pelletier is his defensive acumen in addition to his offensive skills, but that’s harder to track given the lack of data in junior leagues. He was generally trusted in all high leverage defensive situations for Moncton: he saw the opposition’s best players often, he was a penalty killer, and he was trusted to defend the net during extra attacker situations. If you still believe in plus/minus, he was the highest rated Moncton forward at +27.

The only major issue in Pelletier’s numbers is that they’re QMJHL numbers, which have the reputation of being inflated and rarely translatable. Even though he’s ahead of the rest of his cohorts, there’s always going to be that suspicion hanging around that he’s not as good as his numbers suggest.

Those in the know 

Moncton coach John Torchetti offers his view of where Pelletier could improve:

Strength. Definitely his strength, but that comes with age, too. From knees to chest, just strengthen that core up and get stronger, which will make him a harder, quicker skater. Put on about another 6-8 pounds of strength. I think he can keep working on his give and go game. Not too much defensively. One of the things he didn’t play before I got here, I put him on the penalty kill, and he really made us a threat defensively… This kid’s gonna block shots, he’s gonna make the big block when it’s 3-2 in the third with a minute left. When your top players are doing the little things to win hockey games, all the other things fall into place.

QMJHL scout for Hockey Prospect Jerome Berube on the same subject:

He’s got to improve his speed, strength & shot. He’s an excellent junior player already in the QMJHL but by improving those he’ll make himself a better NHL prospect and the chance to play higher in a NHL lineup.

On the horizon

With a relative lack of first round picks in the Brad Treliving era, Pelletier has become one of the Flames’ most exciting prospects by default. If he can keep up his hard work and offensive output, he could become a fan favourite very quickly.

Pelletier might get the nine game cup of coffee depending on his preseason (I don’t mean to dampen the mood, but the Flames are down a pretty important left winger right now, and could be for the opening few games of the season), but he’s going to be back in the QMJHL for the season. The Flames have ELC slide years to use (even though Pelletier doesn’t have a contract yet, but priorities), and they will absolutely use them.

Although being one of the Q’s best is a tough thing to improve upon, Pelletier’s year-over-year growth suggests that he might be able to do something special next season. It’s likely not very long until we see him in the NHL.

Previously

  • The GREAT WW

    Another small player.
    Way too many of them in our system.

    I’m not sold on this kid; reminds me of Klimchuck and Emile Porrier……I hope I’m wrong.

    WW

    • The GREAT WW

      For the good people on FN who have been complaining about our drafting here is some perspective: our neighbors up north do the last decade!

      2009…..10th overall……Paajarvi…..BUST.
      2010…..First overall….Hall…..trades away for NOTHING.
      2011…..First overall……RNH……Third line C.
      2012……1st overall…….Yakupov……BUST.
      2013…..7th overall……Nurse…..Decent second pairing D.

      WW

      • The GREAT WW

        Continued….

        2014……3rd overall…..Drisaddle……can’t C his own line but good winger for McD.
        2015…..1st overall…..McDavid…….good top line C.
        2016……4th overall…..Puljujarvi……BUST.
        2017……22 overall…..Yamamoto……BUST
        2018….10th overall….Bouchard…..too early to tell.
        2019…..8th overall…..Bromberg……too early to tell.

        And this year they are trying to use players that couldn’t crack the Flames lineup to fill 3 of their top 6 forwards….?!!!!

        WW

        • The GREAT WW

          For those following along at home, that is;
          Four first overall picks.
          A 3rd overall.
          A 4th overall.
          A 7th overall.
          An 8th overall.
          And 2 10th overall picks in a decade……and still wandering the desert……

          WW

        • Flaming moe

          I don’t understand your weird obsession with the oilers. You know more of there stats then there own fans probably do. Plus you invite the trolls with your unnecessary creepy obsession of the oilers. Go back to the bush WW.

        • Theo/14

          Lol Walt are you sure you aren’t secretly an oilers fan???? You realize you look kind of rattled every time you go on an oilers tirade every week….. or like I said maybe secretly an oilers fan???

        • The Beej

          @WW

          He is definitely more productive than Klimchuk and Poirier in their draft years so I dont think it is a good comparison. Pelletier looks to be more talented in my opinion.

          But we will see. He is a couple years away from Pro so he will need to improve and put up numers at a greater ppg rate each year.

      • The Fall

        thats a bit of a false equivalence…
        There are 31 teams and one Cup. Each year the Cup is won by a team with big, strong players who win battles, score, and hit (in that order).

        • TheBigChef

          In that order? Pretty sure scoring is more important than winning physical battles or having big players. It’s kind of the entire objective of the game.

          • TheBigChef

            Oh, the rules change in playoffs? Pretty sure the games are still won by the team that scores more goals, not the team that “wins more battles” or has the biggest players.

          • Albertabeef

            Wow! Puck battles are different from physical battles. You don’t need to be big and strong to steal a puck and score a goal. To win the only one you need to beat is the goalie, and if you physically battle him you are in the box for 2 minutes. Nothing has changed in 150 years, the team with the most goals in a game still wins the game. You can possess the puck for 90% of the game and still loose if you can’t beat the goalie.

          • TheBigChef

            Lanny you can debate the value of physicality all you want. The response was made primarily to the “in that order” comment in which “big strong players who win battles” was listed before goal scoring.

            It is nonsensical to think that any trait is more important than scoring goals when that is quite literally the point of the game. Some goals may indirectly result from winning physical battles, but not all goals are. All goals are the result of scoring goals. That sounds like a ridiculous statement but it has to be given the ridiculousness of the premise previously posited. There is certainly value to physicality. There may even be an argument that physicality is valued more in the playoffs. But by no means should it ever be valued more than goal-scoring. Guys who can do both are rare commodities. It’s why guys like Tom Wilson and Ferland got such big paydays. They are players you can comfortable slot into your top-9 forward group without losing any offence and getting that toughness boost. But those guys are becoming harder to find as the game gets faster and more skilled and toughness should not be added to a lineup for the sole sake of toughness if it comes at the expense of goal scoring. That is absurd.

        • The Fall

          You have to own the pick, before you can Corsi the puck, before you can score.

          The team with the stronger players tends to be the bigger team and that team tends to win most seven game series. It takes winning 4 best of seven series to win the Cup.

          This comment isn’t an inditement on one specific player. It’s a general comment that most of our ‘top prospects’ up front are more than just below average in size and strength. They are downright small.

          • TheBigChef

            Mr. The Fall, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Albertabeef

      OMG I know what WW has nightmares about, it’s Wizard of Oz Ho Chi Minh hockey. He see’s the “little people” from the movie armed with hockey sticks and Robin williams voice saying “we are the Northern army, Northern army. Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail”.

  • Puck Head

    I was a little unsure of Pelletier when they picked him and didn’t have him on my short list during the draft. However, the more I have read about the guy the more I like the pick and it shows how the organization has adjusted it’s drafting strategy – selecting players with skill, grit and compete. He has the tools to put bums in the seats and become a fan favourite. Great pick and I’m excited to follow his development.

  • Hockeyfan

    Hi Flame Fans, i hope summer has been good to all. I enjoyed the pools during playoffs even with a horrible result for myself. I have created a 12 team ESPN fantasy hockey league called “Flame Fan Pool”. The draft is on Sept. 29,2019, 11:30AM. Basics are 10 skater, 5 goalie Roto scoring categories and it’s free to join. If interest is shown, we can decide to put an entry fee and prize as well as increasing teams to 15 or reduced to 8 to 10. Once teams are entered, a vote will be held to determine if prize money will be required and how it is distributed, EG: 1st ,2nd, 3rd., or we leave it for fun and bragging rights. FlamesNation, i hope i am not breaking any rules posting this. Let me know if i am and i will refrain from posting this further. Thx.

    • Off the wall

      Not related, but 2 more sleeps until Otw says good riddance to my Dick Landlord…

      We forwarded our new address to him yesterday because we’re legally obligated to, under the Tenancy Act.

      His reply, “ I’m not bringing you your Damage Deposit to your house. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Don’t ya think that’s a bit offside?”

      If he read the “Act” like most Landlords do, he’d know those simple legalities. We never suggested anything about our Damage Deposit.

      What a dum dum Dick…

  • pennerm

    “Left handed forwards”…no, no they’re not. The vast majority of left-shooting forwards are right-handed – they just shoot left. Handedness has nothing to do with it. (Sorry, pet-peave)

    • Albertabeef

      They play with a left handed stick, therefore a left handed player. Who care what hand they sign their contracts with. I can play with either curve, does that make me ambi-stick-trous?