In the late rounds of the draft, teams have to start taking chances on players who fall more into the “project” category than finished project. Could Jocktan Chainey, a young, but generally solid two-way blueliner with plenty of room in his game to grow, be a option for New Jersey in the 5th or 6th?
Who is Jocktan Chainey?
Jocktan Chainey is a defenseman currently with the Halifax Mooseheads who just finished up his second season in the CHL’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Chainey is listed at 6’-1” and 185 pounds, making him a relatively average-sized defensive prospect. Chainey’s birthdate, which is September 8, 1999, puts him just a week ahead of the cutoff date, making him one of the youngest players available in this year’s NHL Draft. Chainey actually started his QMJHL career with the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2015-16 but was traded during the season to Halifax, where he is now established as one of the top defenders. His career stats can be seen below from Elite Prospects:
Chainey’s counting stats are not anything to write home about, but he reportedly logs big minutes for the Mooseheads in all situations. Chainey was also a part of Canada’s U18 World Junior Championships team, where he put up 4 assists in 5 tournament games. Chainey seems to be the quintessential “project”-type player that can be an attractive choice when you get to the later rounds. He has decent size and some definite skills to work with. He hasn’t put up big offensive numbers, but the reports out there on him seem to indicate a player who can play well at both ends. His skating seems to be a plus and he is touted as someone who can manage and move the puck well. His offensive game doesn’t appear to be fully realized yet, but he seems to have the tools there as well. Again, reports indicate that he is something of a project, but that is the reality of a player who is ranked in his general range.
The NHL’s central scouting has him at #126 among North American skaters and The Draft Analyst has him at #148 overall in their May list. Others generally have him outside of the top-100 area, with him showing up as an honorable mention in some draft guides. This puts him securely as a likely 5th-round or later pick for this year’s draft unless someone really likes his game and takes a big reach.
What Others are Saying About Jocktan Chainey
Given Chainey’s status as a likely later-round choice, there aren’t a ton of profiles available out there for him, but there is enough to get an idea of the type of player he currently is and what he could potentially develop into. The first description we’ll look at is just a blurb on Chainey from the Local Express, which covers the Mooseheads, to get an idea how he’s perceived by the team and the locals who cover them.
Chainey, also from Asbestos, has become a mainstay on the Mooseheads’ blue line. The 17-year-old defenceman has been steady in his own end and has become a successful puck-mover for the Mooseheads over the past season and a half.
Chainey is considered a big part of the Moosehead’s defensive group since arriving and he’s seen as a solid puck mover. It’s not an in-depth analysis but it gives us a good baseline of how he’s performed in Halifax and what people around the team think of him. The fact that he was selected to Canada’s U18 Worlds team also speaks to some quality play.
For a little more detail on what kind of player Chainey is, we’ll go to this short profile from Bill Placzek at DraftSite. He might not be a high-end prospect, but there seems to be enough there to think he could develop well over the next few years:
Big solid “Q” defender who is a solid, well-balanced skater who logs big minutes in both ends of the ice, due to his good hockey head and positioning. Not flashy, and probably would be even better if he was a tad quicker and a bit edgier. Needs to use his body more to handle attackers, but overall projects to a mid line-up rearguard if he continues to develop his game.
There may be some aspects to his game that could use improvement, but overall a good review of a player that could be available in the 5th or 6th round. Most mentions of Chainey see him as a solid two-way type who can improve but has definite abilities to build on at both ends of the ice.
For more on his game, there is this October 2016 profile of Chainey from Marshall Mackinder at HockeyNow. Mackinder also points to some areas of Chainey’s game which could improve, but the potential for a strong two-way D with a good offensive game certainly seems to be there:
Chainey is a poised, controlling defenceman who can play both roles of an offensive defenceman and a defensive defenceman. Chainey is rarely caught out of position and is a solid skater in tight but needs to work on his man-for-man coverage as he is not overly physical and tends to lose his check.
Offensive defenceman just starting to scratch his full potential. Solid NHL size. High mobility. Confident on the PP this year. Can play the physical game but needs to get stronger. May be a guy that becomes well-rounded or all-out offensive, hard to tell right now. Lots of skills to work with there.
Chainey didn’t put up huge counting stats in 2016-17, but he did enough to make his way onto the U18 tourney team for Canada, and put up 4 points in 5 games while there, so the portions on his potential as a good player at both ends seems legitimate. His youth versus other players in his draft class also supports the notion that he still has a lot of additional potential in his game.
A Little Video
Given the type of player Chainey is, the predictably isn’t a ton of video out there for him. There is a recap of Canada’s U18 game, though, in which he put up a big 3 assist effort.
Chainey has a couple of really nice feeds to Cody Glass for goals in that video that definitely support that he has some quality potential as a puck-mover.
In another video, he puts up two of his four goals on the season in the same game.
The shots aren’t exactly big time bombs from the point (makes sense as his shot isn’t mentioned much), but goals through screens still count on the scoreboard.
An Opinion of Sorts
When you get to the later-round prospects in the draft, it gets a little tougher to develop strong opinions, since most players will have flaws at that point. For Jocktan Chainey, it seems that he has some good tools and has put together a decent two-way game, but hasn’t quite made the jump to a high end prospect yet. Reports on him are definitely encouraging though for a player rated lower on draft boards. His stats aren’t immediately impressive, but he is seen as a solid two-way puck moving type and with his late birthday making him one of the youngest players in his draft class, it seems that there is significant room for him to grow into an NHL player. That’s certainly enough to make him a decent option in the 5th round or later in this year’s draft and with the Devils’ lack of a defensive pipeline, he could be a good project to take on.
After reading a bit about him, what are your thoughts on Jocktan Chainey as a potential pick for the Devils in the later rounds? Is there anything you read that stands out to you about his game? Do you think there’s enough there to warrant the pick or would you want the team to go in another direction? Comment with your reactions below and thanks for reading.