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Jack Studnicka: 2017 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Today at AATJ, our draft profiles continue with a center playing in the OHL for the Oshawa Generals. Jack Studnicka is an interesting case because there is such a wide discrepancy in terms of where people think he could be drafted. Come see why.

Jack Studnicka is a taller Canadian centerman hailing from Tecumseh, Ontario. Elite Prospects has him standing at 6’1” and weighing only 170 pounds. Given his height, and that he is not a major top prospect, most likely he will want to bulk up and use his size to his advantage in the upcoming years. At this point, however, he is certainly a prospect with some room to grow, both in terms of his game and his size.

Over the last two seasons, he has played his junior hockey for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, playing quite well for his team this past season. He has an older brother, 22 year old Sam, who has been a decent junior player but never took his game to the next level. Jack is looking to do so by being drafted this year.

Who is Jack Studnicka?


Unlike some other players you will see who have long sheets of statistics on Elite Prospects, Jack’s list is not overly long. However, that does not mean that it is poor. Jack has played two seasons for Oshawa. His first season was not anything to write home about, posting only 26 points in 62 games. That would be great if he were playing in a European professional league, but in the OHL that is nowhere near draft worthy. He redeemed himself this past season, however, greatly improving his game. In 64 games for the Generals this year, he produced 52 points, 18 of those coming as goals. That is good for over 0.81 points per game. The highest prospects will have a PPG greater than 1 in their draft seasons, but 0.81 will almost always get you looks from professional teams. Furthermore, those 52 points tied him for 2nd on Oshawa this season.

What has perhaps really boosted his status entering this year’s draft was his dynamite playoff performance for Oshawa this year. After producing 52 points in 64 regular season games, he went on to score 15 points in 11 postseason games, helping to propel Oshawa to a round 1 victory over Sudbury before exiting in the second round after being defeated by Mississauga. Those 15 points ranked highest on Oshawa in this year’s playoffs, and it was not even close. The next best General had only 10 points. Being able to play in pressure-packed situations is an important trait, and while his resume is short on those situations, what we can see are that he has played positively in those situations, at least this year.

Unlike some of his peers who are more highly ranked, Jack does not have many games of international experience to boast about. That is a hazard of being born in hockey-rich Canada. This year, he played in 3 games for Canada in the WJC-18 and another 4 games at the Hlinka Memorial. While he was held scoreless in those 4 games at the Hlinka, he did manage to pot 3 goals in the 3 games he played at the U18 World Championships, which again is a good sign that he can play well in high stakes situations. That cannot hurt his draft status.

Where is Studnicka Ranked?

Despite having a strong season this year for Oshawa, and an especially strong postseason, Central Scouting was not kind to Studnicka. After being ranked as the 80th best North American skater by CSS at the midterm, he fell all the way to #120 for their final ranking. As to exactly what precipitated this drop I cannot say, but a skater ranked anywhere between #80-#120 on CSS’s North American rankings will most likely receive a late round selection, maybe a 6th rounder, although it is possible to go undrafted.

If you want to find some opposition to what Central Scouting determined, however, you will not have to look far. The Draft Analyst is particularly high on Studnicka, ranking him as the 52nd best player entering this year’s draft. That is a 2nd round selection, nowhere close to what Central Scouting determined! They also clearly took into account his great playoff run, as they initially had him as their 71st ranked player back in February.

Future Considerations is also much higher on Studnicka than Central Scouting, having him as their 74th ranked player entering the draft, good for a 3rd round selection. So even though Central Scouting may have Jack as a late round pick, there is a chance for him to go in the middle rounds given his high ranking by other websites who analyze NHL prospects.

What Others Have Said About Studnicka

A player profile was written about Jack back in March by OHL Writers. The writer, Dominic Tiano, had many positives to say about him. I’ve snipped a bunch of different ones that I found to be a little more powerful than the others:

“He puts as much attention to detail on the defensive side as he does on the offense. He plays in all situations and takes key faceoffs…It’s his extremely high compete level that makes him pay attention at both ends…He is an excellent skater who has an explosive first step and decent top end speed who can change direction with ease. He possesses very good vision with high quality playmaking skills…His release is deceptive and accurate…Studnicka can be elusive in the offensive zone. He can break away from coverage almost undetected and put himself into scoring positions. He has very good puck skills and strong possession skills.”

First, I like that he is a two-way player, especially as a center. During the draft hype, offensive skill always gets more coverage, but the best centers are also quality in their defensive end. Having good speed, vision, and playmaking abilities is also key. Tiano did not really write many negatives in Studnicka’s game. His only real complaint is that Jack is too small and needs to put on some muscle so that he can get into the tough areas of the ice more effectively. At only 170 pounds, I can definitely see that, but given his height, I think there is room for growth there. Muscle can be added, but skill cannot be taught, and from the way he was written about here, it seems that he has some skill.

Hockey Now also did a profile on Jack. While not overly long, it does provide some good insights into his game. They wrote:

“Extremely coachable player, Studnicka plays a safe game with and without the puck and has developed into a reliable two-way forward who makes a good transition from the offensive zone to the defensive zone. Shows a good amount of speed and hustles back to break up odd-man rushes and uses long reach to intercept cross-ice passes. Never stops and has tremendous work ethic. Very effective in the face-off circle and given consistent power play time. His play five-on-five needs to be more consistent to make a difference at the next level. Bulked up over the summer and appears more confident on the ice from a year ago. “

The positives stated here are similar to what the OHL writers said. Two-way forward with good speed and a high compete level who also excels at faceoffs. Again, these are all traits that will certainly get him drafted. Their negatives, while again short, add a little more concern. A player can be good at faceoffs and chip in on the man advantage, but the bulk of the game is played at 5-on-5. If he needs to be better there to really make a difference, that will seriously deter some teams from taking him anywhere before the end of the draft. I wish Hockey Now would have expanded on that concern, but oh well.

And while no profile information was given by Draft Site on Jack, like with other players, they did include him in their seven round mock draft. The website has him being taken all the way up in the 3rd round, at 78th overall to Arizona. Given the rankings by the Draft Analyst and Future Considerations that does make sense, but it is still just so weird to see that contrasted with Central Scouting which is clearly much lower on him. A mid-round selection is possible, but a later round pick is also still likely. There is a large window in which he could be taken.

A Little Video

The first video here is from the World Juniors this year. He potted two goals in this game against Switzerland.

With Oshawa here back in December, you can watch him score 2 goals and add another assist against North Bay.

Here is a pretty nice breakaway shorthanded goal, also from December.

This video is him with a goal and an assist back in September against the Soo Greyhounds.

And finally, here is he producing three points for the Generals, 1 goal and 2 assists, back in November.

My Take

Jack is an interesting case. In this section, I try to give my opinion as to where I think would be a decent place for the New Jersey Devils to take the player. However, given the wide range of possibilities for him, that is a hard one to really pin down. If you solely look at Central Scouting, you would assume a 6th round selection from New Jersey would be appropriate. I mean heck, any pick in the 6th round that is taken on someone that is not just an enforcer-type is a solid option, and Jack certainly is not an enforcer. 36 PIMs in 64 games for Oshawa this year does not meet that definition.

However, there is certainly a chance he is gone earlier, perhaps considerably so. If you listen to basically anyone else I linked to or quoted in this profile, you would think that he is a solid mid-round prospect. He has real upside with his skill, is smart defensively, is very coachable and is a likeable guy, and clearly has a knack for playing well in important games like in the OHL playoffs or the World Juniors. The Draft Analyst might be a little too optimistic ranking him as the 52nd overall prospect this year, but there is a strong chance that CSS is too pessimistic ranking him as the 120th North American skater. Who knows where he would be on their rankings if all players were bunched together.

The Devils pick in the fourth round at 98th overall, the 5th round at 129th overall, and in the 6th round at 160th overall. If they actually took him at 160th I would be ecstatic, but I am extremely doubtful that he falls that far. If you only look at CSS that would make sense, but given everything else out there, I have to think he goes earlier. I would love to see him taken at 129. That would be great value in that selection. They could also take him at 98, and I would not hate the choice there. However, given that the most important draft ranking service of them all, Central Scouting, is the most negative on him of all, I am a little hesitant with an early 4th round selection. There could be better prospects to choose from at 98. Again, however, I wouldn’t hate the pick there, I just would be much happier with him at 129 if he actually fell. But if Ray Shero is higher on him like Future Considerations and The Draft Analyst are, then by all means take him at 98. Hard to argue against taking a center with some good upside.

Your Take

What do you think about Jack Studnicka? When you read about his game and watch some tape, do you agree more with Central Scouting or other 3rd party rankings like that of Future Considerations and The Draft Analyst? What round do you think he might go in, and where would you want the Devils to begin looking at him? Please leave your comments below, and thank you for reading another draft profile here at AATJ!