It’s no secret that the Leafs are a dynamic offensive team, boasting one of the best 1-2 punches down the middle in the entire league, but a big part of their offensive attack revolves around play driving wingers Mitch Marner and William Nylander. With the NHL draft just days away, we continue our draft preview series with a look at another highly skilled, play driving winger in Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks.
Jarvis has been one of the biggest risers in the extended build up to the 2020 draft, putting up a monster year as the WHL’s top scoring draft eligible player. Beginning the season mostly ranked towards the end of the first round or later, Jarvis’ name has climbed into the top half of the first round in several draft rankings after posting 42 goals and 56 assists in just 58 games.
Though he spent time at both center and the wing, Jarvis is a bit undersized at 5’10”, 172 pounds and projects as a winger at the NHL level. He’s strong in offensive transition and more than capable of getting the puck into the middle of the ice, allowing him to drive a line from the wing much like Mitch Marner does. That’s going to be a bit of a them here.
Jarvis is a slick puck handler and a slippery player with the puck on his stick who can create something out of nothing any time he has it. Despite his small frame, he uses a strong base and quick feet to protect the puck from opposing defenders along the boards and when he takes it into the slot. He adapts well to pressure and can bait defenders into over committing before taking advantage with a quick pass or deke. Look at how he maintains possession as he takes the puck off the boards and to the front of the net, keeping the defender on his left hip before spinning around on a dime and firing a quick shot that leads to a rebound goal:
Seth Jarvis bathed in butter before this game.
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) August 7, 2020
He’s a really elusive skater and his great edges make him dangerous off the rush. He can set up defenders not only with his hands, but with his feet as he does in the clip below. Jarvis fakes wide causing the defender to open up, and he is no match for Jarvis’ ability to change direction while making a skilled move with the puck on his stick.
Seth Jarvis is just so much fun pic.twitter.com/We2NzktMRd
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) June 1, 2020
Jarvis generates plenty of high danger chances for himself, as well as his teammates and he’s as aggressive as any prospect in this draft when it comes to passing pucks into the slot. He has a keen sense of where his teammates are at and where the soft spots in coverage lay, needing little time to find teammates for scoring opportunities.
Seth Jarvis (2020) with a quality pass in the slot. Jarvis sees Newkirk rushing down the ice and delivers an accurate pass in the slot for Newkirk. Newkirk scores on the play. #2020NHLDraft | @DobberProspects | @FCHockey pic.twitter.com/LdbZ8YXIVg
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) December 4, 2019
Jarvis’ skating makes him a weapon in transition, and when he keeps his feet moving on the defensive side of the puck he can be a handful for the opposition. With the puck on his stick, he’s able to combine his quick feet and excellent crossovers with equally quick hands to generate controlled entries at a high rate but could do a better job of using his teammates on breakouts and regroups. If none of the previous clips reminded you of a certain Leafs winger, this one should do the trick:
I want to call this clip “The Thomas Edison”… Try, Try, Try Again.
Watch Seth Jarvis’ crosses as he completes two controlled zone entries and attempts to set up scoring chances.
To help his transition, he will pass to himself off the boards. Smart.
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) July 17, 2020
Perhaps it’s a bit of a lazy comparison, but I really do see a lot of similarities to Mitch Marner’s game when I watch Jarvis. Now, I’m not saying that Jarvis will necessarily reach Marner’s level of offensive production but he does have a similar tool kit. He doesn’t have the all-world vision and playmaking ability that Marner does but he is a more than capable passer who is adept at finding his teammates in high danger areas. If he can’t find a passing lane, Jarvis is more than happy to take the puck to the net himself and he has the hands to beat goaltenders in tight. If there’s a weakness in his game, it would have to be his engagement and consistency in the defensive zone. He is sneaky when it comes to swiping pucks and he will finish his checks but he will also cheat for offense and abandon his defensive responsibilities from time to time.
Though he’s still a year or more away from the NHL, it’s easy to see how Jarvis would fit into Toronto’s forward group. He has the talent and IQ to complement high end offensive players but he could also turn into a real play driving third line winger if he can shore up some of the concerns away from the puck. He is a dual threat offensively, capable of being a focal point on the power play and he has the skills to be a dangerous penalty killer if he commits to that part of the game. Beyond Nicholas Robertson, there aren’t many sure fire offensive talents in Toronto’s system and Seth Jarvis might be too good to pass up if he’s on the board when it’s the Leafs’ turn to pick.
(Statistics from eliteprospects.com)