There’s a lot of high-scoring, skilled forwards that could be available when the Leafs select 24th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, so selling the idea of drafting a defender might be a difficult one. Still, there are a handful of blueliners who need to strongly considered, and Sherbrooke Phoenix assistant captain Jeremy Roy is one of them.
Roy had a very strong season for a resurgent Sherbrooke team, scoring five goals and 43 points in 46 regular season games. In the postseason, Roy added another five points in six games in a first round loss to Charlottetown.
Internationally, Roy represented Canada at the WJC U18 tournament and scored three goals and an assist in seven games. At the Ivan Hlinka, Roy added another three points in five games.
According to PCS%, courtesy of our friends at Canucks Army, Roy has an even 20% chance at becoming a successful NHLer (reaching the 200 games played mark). A lot of his closest comparables 1970’s and 1980’s, but one name that every Leafs fan will recognize is Francois Beauchemin.
The Eye Test
Every scouting report I come across seems to really like Roy’s offensive skill and praises him as a ‘power play quarterback’. They also suggest that his defensive skills aren’t quite at the same level as his offence, but that’s hardly a dealbreaker. The reports remind me of what scouts said about Matt Finn back in his draft year – good at everything, terrible at nothing; just a well-rounded talent that can help out on the man advantage.
A mature, cerebral defender who sees the ice remark- ably well and can locate his teammates with crisp, cross-ice passes, initiating a breakout .. highly-skilled puckhandler with soft hands .. an effective quarterback on the power play .. skating is decent – stride lacks elite power and doesn’t generate burst during acceleration phase .. unafraid to make the simple play or the flashy play, when needed .. possesses off the charts hockey sense with the ability to control the play .. what separates him is his ability to make plays with the puck at his top speed with hands that operate quicker than his feet .. not very physical, his anticipation serves him well in all three zones – always positionally sound with solid stickwork providing an advantage .. can play either side defensively, adding to his value and versatility
Roy is a pretty pure offensive defenseman. He shows great poise and composure when opposing forwards forecheck. He is effective, shows great vision and passing skills when he makes a great outlet pass to begin the breakout. His strength is certainly in his passing. He passes tape-to-tape and hits teammates in stride. He likes to rush the puck and does it pretty effectively, but he does struggle a little at top speeds through the neutral zone. He seemed to fumble it a bit at his top speed. He reads the situation well, knowing when to push it more or slow it down to wait for his teammates to join in. He is pretty aggressive with his pinches, and creates loads of offensive opportunity when he makes that gamble. His shot is extremely heavy from the point, but it is typically all power and very little precision, missing the net often… He is not a huge liability defensively, but he does leave a little to be desired back there with regards to his decision-making. The biggest thing is his inability to play a two-on-one correctly. He often gets caught in the middle of playing the pass or going for the puck carrier, showing indecisiveness. That usually results in a good scoring chance for the opposition.
Roy has been consistently ranked in the later half of the first round, with a couple outliers here and there. He ranks 21st among North American Skaters according to NHL Central Scouting, and 23rd by ISS. Over at McKeen’s, they have Roy at 24th, while Future Considerations has him all the way up in 13th. ESPN’s Corey Pronman has him in 19th.
Should He Make The Leafs’ Shortlist?
I’ll readily admit that Jeremy Roy is one of my late-first favourites. I think he’s deserving of getting snapped up closer to the middle of the first round, but there’s a good enough chance he’ll still be available when Toronto walks up to the stage to select 24th overall. I hear the word “undersized” a lot when I read about him and, hey, if he was 5’8 then that’s fine – we can talk about that. At 6’0, 188 lbs (his Combine measurements) though, I don’t know what the hell these people are talking about. Roy absolutely deserves to be on the Leafs’ shortlist – maybe even at the top of it.