The Canucks continued to prioritize scoring with their second pick of the second round, taking the OHL leader in goalscoring among draft-eligible forwards, Jonah Gadjovich.
With 46 goals, Gadjovich outscored first round picks like Owen Tippett and Nick Suzuki and combines that goalscoring acumen with good size at 6’2”, 200+ lbs. He can score in multiple different ways, whether he’s staking out the front of the net to tip in shots and clean up rebounds, or beating goaltenders cleanly with the quick release on his accurate wrist shot.
The only issue is that Gadjovich played on a line with the aforementioned Suzuki. How much of his production was a result of Suzuki’s excellent playmaking?
I’m also wary of big forwards who score a lot of goals in front of the net in Junior, simply because their size advantage can disappear once they reach the NHL, preventing them from contributing in the same way. That said, there’s lots to be excited about when it comes to Gadjovich and getting a guy who scored 46 goals in 60 games late in the second round is great value.
If Gadjovich solely relied on his size to tap in pucks on the power play, there would be cause for concern, but he has an absolutely superb shot. International Scouting Services gives his shot their highest rating of “Excellent” and calls him a “gifted goalscorer,” while Hockey Prospect calls out his “bullet of a shot” and “excellent release.”
Even when he was scoring around the net, he impressed with his quick hands, corralling bouncing pucks and maneuvering them around sprawled goaltenders. It’s easy to see a second-line scoring winger when you look at him.
Many draft rankings had Gadjovich ranked in the third round, but TSN’s Bob McKenzie had him at 46th overall, while Hockey Prospect ended up with him at 41, down from a mid-term rank of 31. Clearly, not all scouts were as worried about the Suzuki factor.
Canucks Army, who had Gadjovich 40th on their analytics-influenced draft list, notes that he “was one of the OHL’s best volume shooters this season, finishing with 275 shots in 60 games, a rate of over four and a half shots per game, which was good enough to lead his team, and second among all draft-eligible OHL forwards, behind only Owen Tippett.”
That’s a great sign, that his goalscoring wasn’t the result of favourable percentages, but because he consistently gets the puck on net.
One concern is that, like Kole Lind, his scoring went down in the playoffs, but prioritizing the small sample over the larger sample of the regular season isnt recommended. The biggest knock on Gadjovich is his skating: he lacks foot speed and will need to address that if he hopes to make the NHL. Does anyone have the number for Bo Horvat’s skating coach?