With the 30th overall pick in SB Nation's 2015 Mock Draft - courtesy of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Antoine Vermette deal - the team at Five For Howling selects another gifted forward on a team desperate for offense: Edmonton native Jake DeBrusk.
Jake DeBrusk - LW - Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
2014-15 Regular Season Stats: 72 GP, 42 G, 39 A, 40 PIMs
DeBrusk was the more prolific player on his team; he averaged 1.13 points per game to lead his team despite being only 17 years old. His two closest teammates stats wise - Colby Cave and Coda Gordon - are already part of the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames organizations respectively, and are both at least two years older than DeBrusk.
Jake DeBrusk does several things right that the Coyotes desperately need. He is a finisher and he likes going to the front of the net. Both are qualities the Coyotes could use more of in their forward corps.
Additionally, DeBrusk put up impressive numbers in the WHL despite not having the strongest of teams; Swift Current only barely made the WHL playoffs this season. He can create opportunities on his own when needed, and has grown significantly in terms of production as his major-junior career has gone on (39 points in 2013-14 versus 81 points in 2014-15).
DeBrusk would also continue the Coyotes' tradition of drafting the sons of former NHLers, as Jake's father Louie played 12 seasons between Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Arizona. The elder DeBrusk also served as the Coyotes' radio color analyst from his retirement in 2003 until 2008, when he ventured north to do color commentary in Edmonton.
TSN's Craig Button has nothing but good things to say about DeBrusk's upside as an NHL prospect:
Jake is smart and reads the play well. He gets chances for himself but also creates them for others. You can describe him as an ‘after it, on it’-type player who finds ways to be productive and gets invested in the hard areas of the game. Has continued to grow, both literally and figuratively, and this along with his versatility makes his potential very high.
At 6'0", 176 pounds, DeBrusk may have a harder time playing in front of the net at the NHL level, especially if he doesn't grow much bigger. Still, his offensive acumen and his growth potential makes him a top six forward prospect, and one that the Arizona Coyotes should not pass up.