Who is Jacob De La Rose?
Jacob De La Rose is a Swedish winger who has played his last few years in the system of Swedish League team Leksand. He is a strong, physical two-way player who isn't afraid to get into the dirty areas and fight for pucks. He played part of the 2011-12 season and most of this past season with Leksand's men's team in Sweden's second tier league, Allsvenskan. He lead in scoring amongst junior players in the league with 6 goals and 6 assists and helped Leksand earn promotion up to Sweden's top league, Elitserien for next season. He has also been a part of various international teams for Sweden. He was part of the U20 team that captured silver at this year's WJCs and also was the captain for Sweden's 2013 U18 team. He likely projects to the second round of the draft, but could also possibly go in the late first.
De La Rose has a pretty good sized frame, checking in at 6-2 and 190 pounds as a player who just turned 18 in May. His 12 points in 38 games for Leksand don't jump out at you as a huge output, but as was mentioned, it was good enough to lead Allsvenskan among junior players. NHL's Central Scouting has De La Rose as their 7th ranked European skater and while he is no longer in the ISS Top 30, he was ranked as high as 20 back in December. Corey Pronman has him located at number 27 in his rankings over at Hockey Prospectus but Craig Button has him way down at 57 on his board at TSN, so there seems to be a fair bit of variance regarding where De La Rose will go in this upcoming draft.
De La Rose is known among scouts for his good skating and his physical play. He can throw some big hits and has shown that he can mix it up along the boards. Most scouts/experts describe him as a player who is defensively responsible and someone who can be an asset in his own end. He seems to have pretty good hands and a decent shot, but some scouts question his ultimate offensive upside in the NHL, which seems to be why he has slid on a lot of draft boards. Even so, he is a player with a lot of good tools that looks like he could be a strong all-around player at the next level.
Jacob De La Rose Player Stats
What Experts are Saying About De La Rose
Over at Hockey's Future, they have a short talent report on De La Rose on his player page. Here are some of their thoughts:
Great power forward potential and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Stickhandling and puck-possession skills are above-average. Doesn’t hesitate to pass or shoot. Initiates contact on his own accord. Fairly good speed for a player of his size, but still has a lot of room on his frame for more muscle.
Based on a lot of the info out there on De La Rose, "power forward" is definitely what comes to mind when you try to figure out what kind of role he'll play in the NHL. De La Rose already sounds like he can use his body well, so if he still has room to fill out his frame, it stands to reason that he can still improve on his already strong physical game.
Corey Pronman at Hockey Prospectus seems to like what De La Rose brings in his game, putting him up in his top 30. He does note that some scouts are a bit weary of his offensive ability, though:
He is an all-around type of forward who can make plays in both ends, and play any of the three forward positions if asked. His best skill is his skating, which one NHL scout described as very good, while another called him an explosive skater. He is a strong, hard-working forward, pressuring defenders well with his speed and physical play. ... However, scouts are divided on De La Rose's offensive upside. Some believe that he has good enough puck skill and vision to score, but one head scout I talked to said he projects as a third line forward. I lean toward the former, although enough sources have concerns with his offensive projection that it becomes an issue of note.
Again, his skating his very good and he is a solid, physical two-way player, but some scouts seem to doubt his scoring capabilities. Based on his point outputs at various levels, it is understandable that scouts would feel this way; he hasn't really lit up the scoreboard at any level at this point. There does seem to be a split on the issue of his offensive ability, but while his scoring touch is somewhat in question, he looks like the type of player who can contribute in a lot of ways for you outside of just the stat sheet.
Last Word on Sports has De La Rose as their number 34 ranked player in the upcoming draft and had this to say in their well done "Top Shelf Prospects" piece by Ben Kerr on him:
There are a lot of tools in de la Rose’s toolbox in the offensive zone. He has great stickhandling and very soft hands. He goes to the net and can score goals in tight on rebounds and tip ins. He also has a good wrist soft, and his release is decent. ... De la Rose has shown good vision and passing skills on occasion as well. There is a huge "But" here though, and its that despite showing flashes of all these tools, de la Rose has not been as productive as he could be. His Allvenskan stats are good for a 17 year old in that league, and I don’t take issue with those, but at the international level, de la Rose is just not putting up the points you’d expect given his talent, at the U18 and WJC levels.
He is a player who is a very safe player as with his size, physicality, defensive prowess, and skating ability, he’s a very good bet to be a valuable third/fourth line NHLer even if the offence does not come around.
I think the last bit kind of sums up what you're getting with De La Rose. He has a lot of the tools there on offense, and the remainder of his game seems to be very good. It's just the matter of whether he can figure out to put it together on offense that will determine whether he can develop into a top-6 power forward or more of a 3rd/4th line grinder in the future.
Some Highlights and Other Video
Here's some highlights for Jacob De La Rose at the U20 WJC. He didn't score there so you won't see any of that, but you will see some nice forechecking/backchecking as well as some of that skating speed mentioned above:
If you want to see him actually find twine, jump to the 4:00 mark of this video from a Sweden-Slovakia game in U18s, where he finishes off a play from a turnover neutral zone turnover:
If you want to hear him talk, here's an interview he did with Hockey's Future after the semifinals of the WJC. He mostly just talks about his and the team's performance in the tourney:
An Opinion of Sorts
Jacob De La Rose appears to be a player who could contribute everywhere on the ice. He's physical and seems to position himself well in both the offensive and defensive zones. He is also a very good skater who can get up and down the ice quickly to contribute in forchecking and backchecking. The one issue is the question about his ability to contribute on the scoreboard. The Devils are a team in need of scoring talent right now and it's hard to say if De La Rose brings a ton of upside there. Still, his potential to be a good two-way power forward is hard to discount when you look at taking him in the second round.
As a whole, De La Rose looks like a pretty low-risk pick. Even if his offense doesn't come together fully, having a guy who can forecheck and win puck battles is always something a team can use. If the Devils end up picking a guy with a lot of offensive potential in the first round, maybe you can hedge it a bit in the second with a safe pick like De La Rose if he falls to number 39. His numbers won't get anyone super excited, but he looks to be the type of player who can definitely play a role in the NHL, and even land on the top 6 if he assembles his offensive game. Overall, he may not be a flashy pick, but I do think it could be a solid one for the Devils if they've already added some offensive talent in the first round.
What are your feelings on Jacob De La Rose after reading this and other profiles? Would you want to see the Devils take him in the second round? Does it depend on what the Devils did with their first pick? Make yourself heard in the comments below. Thanks for reading.