The first installment of Profiles is underway as I begin with info regarding a certain prospect and where he currently stands within the Devils’ Organization. I then follow with a brief questionnaire for one of the ten Panel Members who participated in the Quarter Grades & Evaluations Series for the Binghamton Devils.
This is about Joshua Jacobs and a member that has followed him for a second season in his evaluations.
Jacobs Excels to the Top
Defenseman Josh Jacobs is playing in his third year in the pros for the Devils’ Organization and second in Binghamton. A 2014 2nd round pick and #41 overall by New Jersey, he is in his last year of a 3-year ELC contract signed in Apr 2016.
In his rookie campaign for the Albany Devils in 2016-’17, the 22-year old native out of Shelby Township, MI, USA was held scoreless but had 9 helpers in 49 appearances. In 2017-’18, Jacobs scored his first* and only goal of the year while adding 15 assists in 55 outings for Binghamton.
Since then, Jacobs has established himself as a defensive defenseman in a short time but likes to join the occasional odd-man rush and it’s paid off. So far in 2018-’19, he has quietly eclipsed his previous highs in goals and soon to be assists. In 23 games this season, the 6’ 2” 201 lbs defenseman has recorded 2 goals and 3 assists with a team-leading +14, 4th best in the AHL with the current Devils’ record at 10-11-3-0.
A steady and consistent blueliner willing to knock a few bodies out of the way in the shooting lane as the more experience Jacobs absorbs, the better his development will make a dent. With the results so far, it has been a testament to his recent success.
The right handed shooting Jacobs has been lined up with Colby Sissons and Tariq Hammond on the third pairing to help in their development while adding a calming yet, steady influence for the two rookie players.
Jacobs will be an RFA and the end of the season once his ELC expires and should be in line for a new, 2-way deal on the horizon for the NJ Devils.
The Panel Grades
In the 1st Quarter Grades reports Jacobs received an 85.7 which was the best amongst all defenseman in Binghamton. Perhaps he might be under-rated but has begun to turn the corner of your average blueliner in the AHL that hasn’t quite yet captured their opportunity to the next level.
One of Tino’s (Mike) player’s he will follow this season for the BDevils is Jacobs and this was his evaluation, including his 90 grade at the end of the first 19 games on Nov 22nd. (The 85.7 / B was an average of all members combined.)
#8 Josh Jacobs - 85.7 / B
(18 gms, 1g 3a) In my opinion, he is the BDevils best d-man and NJ’s best defensive prospect. He is the definition of steady could be a huge asset down the stretch as he continues to be rolled out against the opposition’s best line. I love this kid and hope he continues to develop. @enker1700 (90)
5 Questions for Mike
I asked five questions regarding a few on defenseman Josh Jacobs to Panel member @enker1700, along with a couple of Binghamton related in the process of getting to know some of the people behind the scenes in the Quarterly Series and this is his response;
- Mike, Jacobs averaged 85.7 out of the ten members of The Panel. However, you gave a grade of 90 which happened to be ranked near the top of the other nine members. What supports your grade in being what it is?
Jacobs does his job as well as anyone can ask for. You have to be able to score, obviously, but if you ask anyone who has extensive hockey knowledge, they’ll tell you scoring goals is the SECOND most important aspect of the game. The most important part is keeping the puck out of your own net. You can’t win 0-0, but you can win 1-0 and it’s much easier to score 1 or 2 goals as opposed to 4 or 5 because you can’t keep the puck out of your own net.
Josh has a +14 rating which leads the team by 8 (Hammond +6), which shows how defensively responsible he is. The +/- stat is overrated but a +14 is pretty telling. Playing defense is the most important part of hockey and Jacobs is, by far, our best defensive defenseman.
- When you mentioned in your evaluations that Jacobs is considered “..the BDevils best d-man and NJ’s best defensive prospect.” Generally speaking, what do you think is the next step for Jacobs in making that come to fruition leading to a potential NHL call-up?
I, personally, think he’s ready to play in the NHL. NJ may want him to hone the offensive end of his game a bit, which is understandable, but as far as playing defense, I feel he’s more than ready to at least get a call-up and a really good look by the big club.
- What would you like to see out of Jacobs in the 2nd Quarter for Binghamton?
I would really just like to see his development continue trending upward and I would like to see it pay off with a call-up.
- The club is currently bordering a playoff birth in what has been deemed to be a weak North Division. Do you see any chance of a post-season appearance for the team and if so, how?
I definitely think there’s a good chance they could clinch a spot. The defense has looked better lately (led by Jacobs and Ramage) and Mackenzie Blackwood has been night and day from last year. His numbers and play are MUCH improved from last year and it looks like he could be the guy we can hitch our wagons to and ride into the post-season. Couple that with the fact that we have one of the better AHL goaltenders over the last 5 or so years in Eddie Lack waiting in the wings should Blackwood stumble. Lack has not looked like his usual self, but he’s a veteran and I have no doubt that he will turn things around.
The issue for me lies with the offense. Between call-ups (Seney, Zacha and now McLeod) and injuries (Tangradi and Quenneville for a bit), our scoring has taken a real hit. Nick Lappin, Quenneville when healthy and Marian Studenic have been really the only consistent offensive contributors that we’ve had since opening night. I never know if we are going to score 5 goals or get shut out each night. If Tangradi returns sooner rather than later and we start getting more consistent contributions from Rooney, Sharangovich and maybe Pietila and Speers, I think we can score consistently enough to win enough games to get into the playoffs.
- And finally Mike, what is your favorite memory in Binghamton hockey history?
Wow, this is actually a great a question. Obviously winning the Calder Cup in 2011 is up there for me. That was a magical season and an absolutely memorable ride through the post-season; with the goalie switch, learning we’d be without David Hale for the entire post-season and losing Derek Smith to an “upper-body injury (concussion)”, and still be able to rally around Kurt Kleinendorst, Robin Lehner and Ryan Keller. Also, how can we forget the big mid-season trade for Ryan Potulny?
I also have to talk about hockey and my personal life briefly. When I first started dating Staci, we would go to hockey games all the time. It became part of our early life as a couple and it was through hockey that I decided she was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Thanks Mike, and a terrific story you told involving your wife Staci!
After reviewing Mike’s responses, I tend to agree that Jacobs has the potential to wind up in New Jersey sooner rather than later. With a career 128 games under his belt in the AHL, people are beginning to take notice. But as a reminder for any upcoming prospect, it does take considerate amounts of time, however, this blueliner is on the right path.
And there you have it in the first Profiles report over the course of the season for the BDevils. Thanks for reading as this series will hopefully** continue with another player and five more questions for a different Panel member soon.
*First professional goal scored on Dec 15, 2017 against the Utica Comets