Friday, May 22, 2009

Cowen, Jared - D - Spokane WHL

Jared Cowen / Spokane Chiefs WHL

D-L / 6-5.25, 220 / 25-Jan-91

Skating: 70 / Skill: 60 / Sense: 70 / Compete: 65 / Tough: 60

Strengths: Outstanding combination of size and skating. Thinks the game very well in the d-zone. Tons of untapped offensive potential.

Weaknesses: The reconstructed knee. (Or is it? That's the problem - we won't know until well after draft day.) Could be more aggressive offensively.

Absolutely no problems in his skating stride - his mobility almost makes you forget he's 6-5. A shut-down stalwart in his own end. Good physical strength and uses it well. Isn't a punishing hitter, but that's fine - when he does use the body it usually accomplishes something defensively. Flashes occasional offensive brilliance and makes you wonder why he isn't more aggressive with the puck. Might be the most likely guy to stick in the NHL next year, especially if the team that drafts him wants to keep close control of him because of the knee.

Summary: Would have been easily #1 on my list but for the knee injury/surgery. Thirty years ago his career might have been over and no one would have touched him until well beyond the 1st round. Drafting an 18 year old with a rebuilt knee is obviously far less of a risk now because of medical advances - but it's not zero risk.

Draft Day: Might depend on what feel teams get from him at the Combine. He probably won't be able to participate in any of the physical testing at all. As such, he'll get asked extensively about how rehab is going. If there's nothing alarming, I'd have to guess he'll still go top ten. But if he slides, we'll know it's because there's worry about the knee.

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