The later rounds of the NHL draft often feature a number of names you haven't heard before. In my recent mock draft of rounds 3-7 I tried to put a light on some players who the Devils might be interested in with those late round picks. Often times these picks don't pan out, but everytime you see a Mark Fayne (5th round pick) make an impact in the NHL you realize that there are diamonds in the rough available. To find them, teams sometimes draft outside of the comfort zone of the main sources of draft picks (CHL, NCAA commitments, European Elite Leagues) and look to other leagues for players.
In Canada, besides the main three Canadian Major Junior Leagues, there are other leagues that have prospects who might be drafted. The Tier A Junior Leagues, specifically the BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League) and the AJHL (Alberta Junior Hockey League), are not league names you hear of that often but they do have a number of talented players who are eligible to be drafted. The AJHL is a Tier A league in Western Canada that has produced NHLers Dany Heatley, Curtis Glencross, Wade Redden and Chris Phillips. (It is also where current Devils prospect Derek Rodwell played before he began his college career at the University of North Dakota.)
While a team isn't usually expecting a Heatley or Glenncross in the 6th or 7th round of an NHL Draft they do look for players who might have been overlooked and who they can watch develop over the next few years.
In this In Lou We Trust Prospect Profile we learn about one of the players likely to be picked late in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft: Defenseman Sam Jardine of the Camrose Kodiaks. Let's learn more about Sam after the jump.
Sam Jardine Career Statistics:
Who Is Sam Jardine?
Jardine is a 6'0", 185 pound defenseman who played the 2010-2011 season for the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL. Committed to playing at The Ohio State University this fall (with fellow Devils prospect Curtis Gedig) Jardine is described by the Buckeyes as a 'offensive defenseman'. With a August 1993 birthday, Jardine is younger than most potential draftees in 2011. Further, his committment to Ohio State allows the team drafting him to let him develop in the CCHA (or whatever division it ends up being in a few years) as he matures. He should get plenty of ice time on a struggling Ohio State squad that lost three defensemen to graduation.
His stats don't jump off the page at you, but the AJHL isn't a high scoring league like the OHL or the QMJHL. Jardine was the highest scoring rookie on the Kodiaks last season with 6 goals (3 on the PP) and 22 points in 50 games (4th overall defenseman). Also, in November Jardine joined the U-19 Canada West Team in the World Junior A Tournament. One of the younger players on the squad Jardine added an assist in the 5 games Canada West played. During the AJHL postseason he led all Kodiak defensemen in scoring during the playoffs with 4 goals and 11 points in 23 games. His performance in the RBC Cup earned him first team RBC honors.
After being named to the CSS Watch List back in the fall (where he was projected to go in the mid rounds of the draft), he was ranked 205 in the mid-term rankings. Unranked in the final CSS rankings, he hasn't exactly wowed the scouts but it's still possible that he is drafted in the late rounds of the draft.
There is not much video out there that shows Jardine in action, so this video is for you pugilist fans.