– Devin Kaplan –
North Jersey Avalanche (AYHL) | Centre | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible
Bridgewater, New Jersey | 6-foot-2, 190-pounds | January 10th, 2004
Power forwards with speed and skill are extremely difficult to come by, but that’s exactly what you receive from Devin Kaplan of the North Jersey Avalanche on a nightly basis. Blessed with outstanding size and strength at a young age, Kaplan uses his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame to toy with his opponents. Capable of protecting the puck with absolute ease before skating it into high percentage scoring situations, Kaplan is as dominant as he is promising — a reality which makes him one of the most highly touted perspectives eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft.
- Skating Speed, Strength and Agility
- Puck Protection
- On-Ice Vision
- Shot Strength, Release, and Accuracy
When Kaplan gets moving, he stands as nothing other than an unstoppable force. At top speed Kaplan is an intimidating sight, as his quick lateral movements and agility combined with his size make him next to impossible to defend. Owing to his skating abilities Kaplan can create a wealth of time and space for himself with the puck, as opponents are often unsure whether he will opt to rush the puck wide or bulldoze his way towards the net. Once in proximity of the net, Kaplan loves to unleash his wicked wrist shot — a facet of his game defined by its lethal velocity and remarkably consistent accuracy.
— Wagon Hockey (@WagonHockey) November 5, 2019
However, if the opportunity to blast the puck on net does not present itself, Kaplan’s composed and calculative nature immediately take over. Not one to commit turnovers or rush himself into mistakes, Kaplan regularly surveys the ice — protecting the puck all the while — before moving the puck to a fellow teammate who stands in a dangerous location on the ice. Kaplan’s on-ice vision alongside his impressive shot combine to make him a versatile offensive player who can generate offence in a variety of forms — a reality which makes him arguably the most dangerous player on the ice on any given night and during any given game.
Areas of Improvement:
- First Step Acceleration
- Teammate Utilization
Since Kaplan stands as one of the very best prospects eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft, there isn’t too much room for improvement within his game as it stands. Yet, with this being said, Kaplan isn’t perfect. In terms of specific areas of his game to improve upon, there are Kaplan’s first step acceleration as well as the frequency in which his utilizes his fellow teammates in the offensive zone.
Like most players who mature physically at a young age, Kaplan’s acceleration on the ice remains a work in progress. While it is not below-average by any means, Kaplan’s acceleration will undoubtedly improve as he becomes more comfortable in his sizeable frame and as he adds greater lower body strength in the months and years ahead. Moreover, we’d like to see Kaplan utilize his fellow teammates in the offensive zone with a greater frequency, as Kaplan can — at times — attempt to do a little too much on his own before moving the puck throughout the ice.
Ultimately, Kaplan is a terrific young prospect and one of the most intriguing power-forwards born in the year 2004 and beyond. However, like a number of prospects eligible for the upcoming 2020 OHL Draft, Kaplan is committed to an NCAA program and may never set foot in the major-junior circuit. With a commitment to Boston University in hand, it’s likely that Kaplan will remain in his native country as he continues to polish his game ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft.
If he does opt to play in the OHL however, we could be looking at the second coming of Quinton Byfield.