Weight: 158 pounds
Date of birth: January 7, 1999
Hometown: Mississauga Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 8, 142nd overall, 2015 Priority Selection
Ranked 23rd among North American goaltenders on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January, Sudbury Wolves’ goaltender Jake McGrath came in at number 19 on their final rankings this month.
McGrath played his minor midget AAA hockey for the Toronto Marlboros during the 2014-2015 season where he posted a 1.34 goals against average in 37 games and leading the way to a GTMMHL championship. He also led the way for the Marlboros in capturing the OHL Cup with a 1.43 goals against average in 4 games. However, the championships didn’t end there as Team GTHL Blue won the OHL Gold Cup Championship where McGrath posted a 2.33 goals against average in 3 games.
The Wolves would select McGrath 142nd overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection. Despite an impressive camp with the Wolves, he was assigned to the St Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He appeared in 30 games for the Buzzers and posted a goals against average of 3.37 and a save percentage of .908. He would be named to the OJHL Second Team All-Prospects.
McGrath was invited to participate in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp as an Under-17. He also took part in Hockey Canada’s Development camp for the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. He played in 3 games for Canada Black and posted a 4.36 goals against average and .851 save percentage.
McGrath finished this season with the Wolves appearing in 45 games with a 17-18-6 record, 3.77 goals against average and an .896 save percentage. He went 2-4 in 6 playoff games as the Wolves were eliminated by the Oshawa Generals. He posted a 3.00 goals against average and .902 save percentage.
McGrath is currently with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships Under-18.
What McGrath doesn’t have is the big size NHL scouts seem to covet with goaltenders and he is one of the smaller goaltenders in his draft class. But what he does “lack in size”, he makes up with other assets. Don’t misinterpret that, there are holes in his game but nothing that can’t be correct with further coaching and development.
Finding consistency in his game is at the top of that list – from game to game or shot to shot. He can go from being spectacular to average from game-to-game, but it’s something that I think he can improve on in time. But you should be impressed by his ability to have a bounce back game following a sub-par performance. It’s a strength he possesses.
McGrath does well at making the first save, challenging the shooter and remaining square and tall, but he needs to improve on his second-chance opportunities and chances in close. His puck handling skills also continue to be a work in progress and should improve in that department as he gains more experience.
McGrath certainly has the tools to be a solid goaltender. Now, it’s up to NHL scouts to determine whether the few issues he has are correctable. I wouldn’t bet against him and he could certainly end up being a good value pick for whoever chooses him in June.
Stat page of Jacob McGrath at Elite Prospects