|5’11”||170||3-7-2004||C||L||32nd 2020||61 NA||CANADA|
|2019-20||U-16||Guelph Jr Gryphons||32||27||23||50|
The Guelph Storm really are a team to watch when it comes to the NHL Entry Draft. Matthew Poitras, Danny Zhilkin and Michael Buchinger are all projected to go in the first two rounds of the draft (depending on who you listen too) and now you can add Jake Karabela to that list.
I believe Karabela’s best asset is his hockey IQ. He reads the ice extremely well, is constantly aware of where everyone on the ice is, and his ability to recognize where the open space and how the play can develop puts him in prime areas. Those qualities also help him in the neutral zone. He recognizes where his positioning needs to be to break up the oppositions transition, he anticipates very well and he’s quick enough to jump into lanes to break up a play.
However, he Karabela doesn’t show the same anticipation and awareness in his own zone. He will sometimes lose his coverage, but I think I have a reason behind that. Karabela will sometimes play in the middle, and sometimes play on the wing. I think he is better suited down the middle. But when he is on the wing, he just doesn’t know where to be in defensive coverage. He usually reverts to what he knows and that is the centers job.
His “next best” asset is his playmaking skills. As mentioned, he sees the ice very well and identifies his best options in a split second. He is patient with the puck, can draw defenders towards him and elude the check with strong starts and stops and solid edgework to by his teammates time to get into scoring positions.
Karabela will be known as a playmaker first and foremost. He averages about two shots per game, but his shot isn’t a strength. He likes to get into the high danger areas before he will take it, but his 8.1 shooting percentage at this level doesn’t scream NHL shot. I also believe that when you breakdown where his shots come from, that he lacks the confidence to beat goaltenders as he rarely shoots from distance.
I’m pretty confident that once Karabela is fully developed he can find a job in the NHL as a third line playmaking center who can put up some offense and even play the wall on the powerplay.
And that’s not too bad.