The Devils currently have four picks in the third and fourth rounds of the NHL Draft, so in the coming weeks, AAtJ will be taking a look at a number of players who could end up going in that range. Today, we profile one of them in WHL prospect Jordy Stallard.
Who is Jordy Stallard?
Jordan (or Jordy, as he's generally referred to) Stallard is a forward from Brandon, Manitoba who currently plays for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. Born September 18, 1997, Stallard was actually just three days from being eligible for the 2015 Draft, making him one of the oldest players in his first year of draft eligibility. Stallard finished sixth on the Hitmen in scoring, though he was second on the team among players in their draft year behind projected first-round pick, defenseman Jake Bean. Stallard's numbers weren't huge, but they were solid this season and were a significant improvement over his rookie season. His career numbers from Elite Prospects are shown below:
With a 6'-2" frame, Stallard is a pretty good sized forward, though at 187 pounds, he still has some of that frame to fill out. His WHL scoring numbers this past season were decent, though not really high enough to make him a top-tier scorer at this point. Still, he is praised for having good hands and a quality shot and did put up a solid 21 goals this season for the Hitmen. He's also mentioned as having pretty good speed as well, so that, combined with his size and some skill gives him potential to become a decent offensive forward. Reviews are a little bit mixed on his defensive game, but nothing jumps out as a huge red flag. His older age is something to consider, but one profile has him described as "wirey," so he clearly has some room to grow and get stronger in the coming years.
As far as draft rankings go, he's projected as more of a mid-rounder, so he doesn't show up on every list out there, but he was ranked #65 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He was at #84 in the midterm CSS rankings, so he's done a little bit of climbing there in the past several months. Elsewhere, he's ranked #86 in the Draft Analyst's top 250 and mocked at pick #56 at DraftSite.com, though he didn't make Bob McKenzie's midterm top 60 or more recent top 100 lists from Craig Button or Corey Pronman. Realistically, he probably projects to go in the third or possibly fourth round, so the Devils, who have four picks in that range, are as likely a landing spot as any for the Calgary forward.
What Others Say About Jordy Stallard
Stallard has seemingly only climbed into the projected top-three round range somewhat rececently, so there aren't an abundance of profiles currently available for him, but there are enough to paint a decent picture of the type of prospect he is. First, we'll take a look at this profile from Ryan Pike over at The Hockey Writers, which frames him as a good potential value pickup in the middle of the draft:
Stallard has two decent comparables on his team: Twarynski (another 2016 eligible) and Pavel Karnaukhov (a 2015 Calgary Flames pick). Stallard arguably has better offensive skills than both of them; he’s got a great shot when he can get it off in the slot and while he’s not the world’s most talented player he has great instincts and has managed to pick his spots offensively really well. He’s a good skater and has good mobility, but his defensive-zone awareness isn’t tremendous and because he’s still a bit of a thin, wirey young man he doesn’t have the muscle to effectively out-battle opponents in the corners.
So Stallard has some good, if not necessarily elite, offensive tools in his game and has the instincts and enough speed to find room to use them. The comments on his defensive game aren't glowing which is of some concern but, as we'll see, that's not necessarily a unanimous sentiment. Overall, Stallard is described as a player who is improving and if he grows into his frame and continues to trend upward, could be a nice pickup for a team who grabs him in the third or fourth round. Of possible interest to New Jersey fans, the profile mentions Devils 2014 draft pick Brandon Baddock as an example among some older past draft picks Stallard outscored this season, which doesn't exactly move the needle much for me, but there you go.
Elsewhere, we come to a brief shoutout Stallard gets in a bit of a mid-round draft roundup from Franklin Steele at Today's Slapshot:
Jordy Stallard (C/RW) – A bit of a late bloomer who really started to come into his own late in the 2015-16 season. Still developing, but has shown soft hands and an ability to get back defensively when needed.
This matches the general consensus that Stallard is a player on the rise. He'll have to continue improving if he's going to crack the next level, but it seems he's taken steps toward becoming a solid prospect this season. It also alludes to an ability to help out on defense, so at least some feel his defensive game is adequate.
Then there's this blurb on Stallard from Bill Placzek at Draft Site:
A big framed off handed winger who is starting to come into his own. Moves well and handles the biscuit at high speed. Fearless and willing to take the hit to make the play. Defensively aware and responsible and in the attack zone gets back and covers the point when the dee-man activates. Displays soft hands and can handle hard passes and advancing while on the move. Developing player who may get even better.
So again, the theme is that Stallard is an improving player. The good hands and an ability to carry the puck with speed are both encouraging. This post also makes a point to praise his defensive awareness, a least in the attacking zone. The difference in opinions there could just come down to which night someone was watching him, but at the very least, he's probably serviceable defensively. Overall, there seems to be at least some consensus that Stallard is trending in the right direction and that he has good hands and pretty decent speed to go along with his large frame.
A Little Video
In a fun bit of trivia, Jordy Stallard was the player to score the so called "Teddy Bear Goal" which is the goal that triggers the Calgary Hitmen's annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Saddledome. This video focuses more on the whimsy of the moment, but it's a pretty nice shot by Stallard all the same:
There isn't a full highlight package for Stallard that could be found, but here are a couple of his goals, starting with this Vine which shows him driving to the net and cleaning up his how rebound:
And these highlights from the Calgary Hitmen website aren't embeddable but here's a link to a multi-goal night from Stallard versus the Edmonton Oil Kings in March. It's not a ton to go off of but a quick release is on display from Stallard on most of his goals and he doesn't seem shy about driving the net. Also at the Hitmen website, you can find his exit interview where he talks about the Hitmen's season, laments a first-round playoff loss, and talks about his personal growth as a player.
An Opinion of Sorts
Once you get into the middle rounds of the NHL Draft, the probability of uncovering a big time prospect with a given pick isn't very high, so the best you can do is try to increase your odds by finding value where you can. For New Jersey, they will have a number of chances to draft in the third and fourth rounds and the hope is that they can find some potential NHL contributors with the volume of picks they have in that range. Jordy Stallard isn't necessarily a top prospect, but he seems to be a player who is trending in the right direction. He has some good puck skills and speed to go along with good size and if he can continue to put it all together, he could have some value in the late third, or particularly the fourth round if he falls that far. Depending on who remains on the board when New Jersey is on the clock, Stallard could represent a solid pickup if the Devils choose to call his name.
After reading about Jordy Stallard, what are you thoughts on him as a potential mid-round pick for the Devils? Is there anything you see as a red flag? Do you think he has produced enough to warrant a mid-round pick? Are there parts of his game you like from what you've read? Comment with your thoughts below and thanks for reading.