Weight: 195 pounds
Date of birth: August 11, 2000
Hometown: Jackson, MI
Position: Left Wing/Center
OHL Draft: Round 1, 4th overall, 2016 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 24th – North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at this time
One season ago, Saginaw Spirit left winger Blade Jenkins was playing for Team USA in the United States Hockey League with well-known names such as Brady Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes, and Oliver Wahlstrom. He scored once and added 4 assists in 34 games, one season after the Saginaw selected him with the 4th overall pick at the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
Prior to his OHL draft, Jenkins played for the Compuware Under-16 squad in which he scored 15 goals and 21 assists in 22 games.
Jenkins has made an impression in this, his rookie OHL season. He has 18 goals and 20 assists in 58 games and his 38 points are good for fifth on the Spirit. He sits fourth among OHL rookies in goals and points and fifth in assists.
Jenkins’ 18 goals come on just 115 shots, good for a 15.7 shooting percentage. He’s won 118 of 238 faceoffs, or 49.8% of his draws. That’s not bad for an OHL rookie.
Internationally, Jenkins has represented Team USA on two occasions. A season ago, he appeared in 5 games with the Americans at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 scoring once. In August of 2017, he was on the American Squad at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament but was held off the scoresheet in 4 games.
Fans on both sides of the 49th parallel get a little annoyed when a player commits one way and then decides to head the other way.
Which brings us to this Blade Jenkins tweet:
Jenkins had committed to play in his home state of Michigan for the NCAA Michigan Wolverines. There is no doubt it was a massive gamble for the Spirit to use the fourth overall pick to select a player that had already committed to going the NCAA way. But Saginaw is less than a two-hour drive from his home and maybe management knew something the rest of us didn’t. I just want to say “Get over it. It happens both ways and players and their families will do what they believe is best for their careers.”
There is no doubt that Blade is among the elite of hockey names. But names do not a hockey player make. So, who exactly is Jenkins the hockey player?
Jenkins got off to a very slow start on the season with just a goal and two assists in his first dozen games. Since then, he’s posted 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. There were questions raised about his skating coming in, and the slow start reinforced those concerns for some.
Personally, I don’t think it was a skating issue and it was more about getting comfortable with the OHL speed and game. That’s not to say he couldn’t use a better first few strides or better top end speed or even a separation gear – he certainly could, but I don’t think it hinders his ability.
At 6’1”, 195 pounds and still room to grow, Jenkins possesses decent size. He uses that size to his advantage and battles well along the walls and in front of the opponent’s net. He’s learning how to be dominant with each passing shift. He drives the net hard with or without possession and he’s extremely strong playing the cycle game.
Jenkins also possesses good hockey sense. He has shown that he can be elusive and make himself open for teammates to find. He can also play patient and wait for lanes to open up when he has puck possession. He can play the playmaker game, but at the same time, he can beat you with a very heavy shot.
Defensively, Jenkins’ game is a work in progress. On a lot of nights, you will walk away knowing he was one of the most noticeable players on the ice. Evidence that he will put the work in where he requires it.
Stat page of Blade Jenkins from Elite Prospects