If Jett Woo isn’t the best player in the 2018 NHL Draft, he can at least lay claim to having the best name.
The big, right-handed defenceman plays that solid defensive game WHLers have become known for. Montreal Canadiens defenceman Noah Juulsen comes to mind as a comparable.
Woo won’t blow you away with the numbers, though nine goals and 16 assists in 44 games with Moose Jaw this season suggests he has some upside in the department.
What stands out is his ruggedness in his own end, solid positioning and an active stick. Woo figures to be a late first-rounder when things get underway in Dallas.
Here’s a sample of what he can do.
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
From: Winnipeg, MB.
Weight: 205 pounds
Woo would’ve wished for some better luck in his draft-eligible season.
He suffered a shoulder separation 18 games in, which kept him out of action for six weeks. Then Woo missed a month with a strained oblique muscle and a hip injury.
All of that limited Woo to just 44 games with the Warriors.
“Projecting what Woo will become has been problematic for scouts all season long, and him missing the better part of a month to injury has not helped,” said Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino in December. “At his best Woo is an agitator whose physical play forces you to be aware when he’s on the ice. He has big character and compete, but just where does his offensive upside project?”
STRONG AND INTIMIDATING
Woo’s size is obviously appealing.
There aren’t too many draft-eligible players tipping the scales at over 200 pounds, especially those who are just 6-feet tall.
You expect Woo’s size will make him a force to be reckoned with — that should be the case at the higher levels with his natural skill set.
Here’s a sign that it might be: Marshall MacKinder at hockeynow.ca calls Woo “An intimidating presence on the blue line,” adding he “will hit opponents with clean, brushing body checks at any given opportunity and loves that aspect of the game.”
“Almost always comes away with the puck coming out of the corners,” says MacKinder. “Gets good looks in the passing lanes and moves the puck effectively out of the D-zone. Power play QB and is intelligent and patient in the offensive zone. Strong skater who has a very active stick and can break up plays in the neutral zone and quickly transition to offence. Tough to beat and waits for the offensive player to make a move and he adjusts his coverage well on the fly.”
A NATURAL LEADER
Outside of his play with Moose Jaw, Woo participated in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and was a captain there for one of Canada’s entries into the tournament.
Woo also served as an assistant captain for Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Tournament.