OHL Prospect Profile: Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes has displayed a very mature and strong all-around game. He is as solid as they come defensively, with great gap control and awareness. He has continued to improve his offensive upside throughout the course of the season as well, boasting a very strong point shot and promising puck movement.

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– Jacob Holmes –

York Simcoe Express (ETA) | Left Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Alliston, Ontario | 6-foot-1, 176-pounds | July 4th, 2003

Jacob Holmes is an intelligent, mobile defencemen who has somewhat flown under the radar for parts of the 2018-19 season. The captain of the York Simcoe Express, Holmes is beginning to earn the recognition he deserves and rise up the OHL Draft rankings. Playing an effective two-way game, he is often relied upon in all situations and has proven his ability to thrive under a heavy workload.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

Holmes earned an invaluable opportunity on the national stage in February, where he represented Team Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. He flew with the chance, quickly becoming one of the team’s most relied upon and high-scoring defencemen. Holmes displays all of the integral traits to find success at the OHL level, and then some.

Strengths:

  • Positioning & Decision Making
  • Skating
  • Point Shot

Holmes is a defender that can give his team a better chance to win in any situation and at either end of the ice. He has consistently demonstrated tremendous instincts on the ice with both his positioning and decision making, both with and without the puck. Holmes rarely makes a mistake and recognizes when to take the safe play, as well as when it is appropriate to take a chance.

Related: Don’t miss out on any of our 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles.

A strong and smooth skater, Holmes is very difficult to knock of off the puck, but is even more intimidating to go up against as an opposing forward. He is very agile on his feet and can change directions instantaneously without sacrificing any speed. Offensively, he has a very heavy shot from the point and can also distribute the puck well at both ends of the ice.

Area of Improvement:

  • Speed and Puck Skills

Holmes has displayed some very intriguing offensive potential, as both a playmaker from the back end and a shooter from the point. In fact, he has the potential to become a very potent two-way defenceman if he can improve upon his speed and puck skills. Having honed the defensive aspects of his game, Holmes could easily become one of the top defencemen from this year’s OHL Draft with some added offensive flare.

With already excellent skating abilities, Holmes could be a very dangerous option on the rush with some increased speed, allowing him to create odd-man rushes or rush the puck though the neutral zone himself. As well, some slick puck skills at the point would allow him to walk the line with more confidence and open up passing and shooting lanes to take advantage of.

Future Potential:

In all, Jacob Holmes has displayed a very mature and strong all-around game. He is as solid as they come defensively, with great gap control and awareness. He has continued to improve his offensive upside throughout the course of the season as well, boasting a very strong point shot and promising puck movement.

Heading towards the 2019 OHL Draft, Holmes is certainly trending in the right direction. He is beginning to receive his due recognition and just seems to be scratching the surface of his potential. He could very well challenge as a second round pick, if not, a very valuable third rounder.

2019 NHL Draft: 5 Overlooked OHL Prospects

The 2019 NHL Draft features one of the strongest prospect classes in recent history. As a direct result, a great number of young players have been wrongly overlooked and undervalued.

The 2019 NHL Draft will boast one of the strongest prospect classes in recent history — a reality which has overshadowed a number of incredibly promising young players.

In particular, there are a number of prospects playing within the Ontario Hockey League this season whose play has been wrongly overlooked for far too long. Whether it be a lack of stature, inconsistent production, or simply a misinterpretation of an individual’s skill-set, the OHL features an arsenal of talented prospects eager to make an impact at the NHL-level.

If undervalued throughout the course of the 2018-19 season and in the days leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft, these five prospects listed below could come to be known as major draft-day steals in the years to come.

Billy Constantinou

2018-19 Team: Niagara IceDogs

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 2, 36th Overall)

The Niagara IceDogs are an impressive team within the OHL this season, and are led by an impressive 2019 NHL Draft eligible defenceman in Billy Constantinou. A smooth skating, puck-moving defender, Constantinou plays a stellar two-way game and can be counted upon to influence the outcome of any given game at both ends of the ice.

Billy Constantinou of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Constantinou’s versatile yet lethal game is driving his value as a 2019 NHL Draft prospect. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

A second-round choice of the IceDogs in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Constantinou is quickly establishing himself as a quality NHL prospect this season. Scoring 13 points in his first 18 games played alongside a solid +9 plus/minus rating was an excellent start for Constantinou, who has been projected to be selected in the second-round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Having already surpassed his previous career-high in points, Constantinou could rise into the first round of the NHL Draft if able to put forth a consistent effort this campaign.

Cole Mackay

2018-19 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 5, 98th Overall)

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds nabbed Cole Mackay with the 98th overall choice in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, and it is safe to say that he has already surpassed any and all expectations placed upon him. Following an average rookie campaign with the Greyhounds in which he scored five goals and 14 points, Mackay has exploded out of the gate to begin his 2018-19 campaign.

Cole MacKay of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Mackay has quietly become a driving force within the Greyhounds’ offence this season. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

With six goals scored and 20 total points in his opening 20 games, the former fifth-round choice is quickly cementing his status as a prospect to watch ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. However, Mackay has been widely projected as a potential mid-round selection — a difficult reality to comprehend given his consistent lethality thus far this season.

Cole Schwindt

2018-19 Team: Mississauga Steelheads

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 4, 69th Overall)

While he isn’t the most lethal offensive player in the OHL this season, Cole Schwindt is quickly becoming one of its most consistent two-way forwards.

Although capable of contributing offensively, Schwindt’s value lays in his ability to defend within his own zone and shut down his opposition’s top attackers. Boasting a solid frame given his 6-foot-3 stature and 180-pound weight, Schwindt can physically dominate his opposition in his defensive zone before dislodging the puck owing to his active and accurate stick.

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While his offensive game continues to grow, Schwindt’s defensive play can not be overstated. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Somewhat similar to former Oshawa Generals star Anthony Cirelli given his sound 200-foot game, Schwindt could prove to be a steal if selected late in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft. Having scored four goals and nine assists in his first 19 games played with the Mississauga Steelheads this season, Schwindt’s already impressive two-way play alongside his growing lethality could afford the native of Kitchener, Ontario a long and prosperous professional hockey career.

Nathan Staios

2018-19 Team: Windsor Spitfires

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 1, 17th Overall)

Nathan Staios was selected by the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, yet he has flown largely under the radar to begin his first campaign of NHL Draft eligibility. A fiercely competitive defender, Staios plays a stellar two-way game defined by his pace as well as confidence with the puck. With the poise of a seasoned veteran, Staios sees the ice incredibly well and can navigate within it with relative ease.

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Staios is a diminutive defender who boasts a whack of skill and potential. (Photo Credit: OHL Images)

Despite this glowing skill-set, Staios has been widely projected as a second-to-third round choice ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

While slightly undersized given his 5-foot-9 frame, Staios has the composure of a highly touted prospect and the raw talent to match. Although his start to the 2018-19 OHL season was somewhat slow offensively considering he scored just one goal in 19 games, Staios had already added seven assists — a rate of production much greater than that of his rookie season.

Keean Washkurak

2018-19 Team: Mississauga Steelheads

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 2, 30th Overall)

The departures of both Mike McLeod and Nic Hague this past offseason staggered the Steelheads, who saw two of their top offensive players ascend to the professional-level. Fortunately, Keean Washkurak — Mississauga’s second round choice from the 2017 OHL Priority Selection — has quickly made the most of the opportunities presented to him this campaign.

Keean Washkurak of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Washkurak’s speed and tenacity combine to make him a persistent two-way force. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

With major minutes available, Washkurak has earned his place within the Steelheads’ top-six through consistent and lethal offensive play this season. Standing 5-foot-10 and 185-pounds, Washkurak’s electrifying style of play has been evident on a nightly basis — the native of Waterloo, Ontario has quickly become a two-way stalwart for the Steelheads.

Having recorded five goals and 17 points in his first 19 games played this season, Washkurak could sneak into the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft if able to maintain and improve upon his current level of play.