Any team picking between 15-30 should take a close look at Jansen Harkins.
What he lacks in flash he more than makes up for in effort and defensive awareness. Some scouts have compared him to the likes of David Krejci or Derek Stepan, and he looks up to players like Ryan Kesler, Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar, so he could be a solid fit on any team in need of a reliable two-way centre.
Here’s what you need to know about the Prince George Cougars forward.
From: North Vancouver, B.C.
Weight: 181 pounds
Central Scouting Rank (North America): 15th
Marek’s Take: A really smart, second-generation hockey player who plays a complete game and competes hard. While he can score at the junior level, most expect him to be a strong two-way checking center at the next level. Comparable: Adam Henrique
He comes from a hockey family…
Harkins’ dad, Todd Harkins, played 48 NHL games in the early 1990s – 20 with the Calgary Flames and 28 with the Hartford Whalers (He also appeared in the 2004 movie Miracle!). Todd became the Cougars general manager in July 2014. Having his dad close by in junior is something Jansen said he enjoyed.
Two of his uncles also made a life in hockey. Don Harkins is a director of scouting with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, while Brett Harkins played professionally from 1993-2008 including stints with the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
He is inspired by his older brother…
Nicklas Harkins, Jansen’s older brother, has dealt with a rare genetic disorder called mucopolysaccharide disease since he was a child. This hasn’t quelled his love of hockey and his perseverance has inspired Jansen and the Harkins family.
“It definitely gives you a different appreciation what he goes through on a daily basis, what he’s had to overcome in his short life so far,” Jansen told NHL.com in December. “It’s a big motivational factor for me and for everybody on our team. It really helps out and shows how good our lives are and how good our bodies work and how fortunate we are every day to go out and play hockey. He loves hockey so much, probably more than all of us [on the team] combined, and to be able to go out there and play every day is something I’m very grateful for.”
He hit a few milestones with the Cougars this year…
In February, he became the second youngest player in Cougars history to record his 100th career point with the franchise. With 59 assists in 70 games this past season, Harkins set a new franchise record for most assists in a single season. It should come as no surprise he gets plenty of assists considering he’s a pass-first type player. In fact, one of the few criticisms of Harkins is that he doesn’t shoot enough.
He wears No. 12 because of a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors…
Harkins wears No. 12, but he didn’t always. In fact, that number was never his first choice. “Actually kind of a funny story,” Harkins told Yahoo! Sports in March. “I was always 26 growing up. My dad was that number when he played. Come bantam year, we already had jerseys made up and all the older guys picked and I was a first-year guy. Eventually, it was me and one of my teammates in Prince George, Cal Babych, and there was 17 and 12 left. We both wanted 17. Ryan Kelser was big with the Canucks. We did rock-paper-scissors and he won, so I got 12 and I’ve had it ever since. Jarome Iginla and some pretty good guys have worn 12.”
He began his career in Germany…
Both Jansen and his father were born in Germany, despite representing Canada on multiple occasions at international tournaments. He first began playing hockey in Germany where his dad spent the final few years of his playing career. You know who else spent the early part of his life in Germany? Dany Heatley – and he had 50 goals in ’07.
He is a leader with international experience…
Don’t be surprised if Harkins sports an ‘A’ or even the ‘C’ on an NHL sweater one day. From a young age, he has exhibited maturity and leadership qualities. He was an assistant captain with the Cougars this season and was captain of the Canada Pacific team at the U17 Hockey Challenge in 2013. He also won a gold medal at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and bronze for Canada earlier this year at the world U18 hockey championship.