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Ottawa Senators Top 25 Under 25, #16: Christian Jaros

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The first big divergence between readers and Silver Seven staffers is due to disagreements on who the team's best SHL defenceman is.

There were no pictures of Christian Jaros, but sources say that he'll be good at occupying where Kostka and Neil are in this image.
There were no pictures of Christian Jaros, but sources say that he'll be good at occupying where Kostka and Neil are in this image.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16: Christian Jaros (Reader rank: 25, Last year: N/A)

Here are a couple scouting reports from Senators European scout, Mikko Ruutu (1) and International Scouting Services (2):

1) "defensive defenceman, big and strong. Competitive, character player."

2) "big, physical defender who thrives in a shutdown role."

Christian Jaros? Or Andreas Englund? Therein lies the dilemma, which is why the duo were ranked 16th and 17th respectively in this year's edition of the T25U25. One one hand, Englund has been a full-time player for Djurgardens for the last two years and has been in a leadership role for Sweden internationally from the U17 level. On the other hand, Jaros has also starred at the WJC, being team captain for (the albeit less talented) Slovaks and named as a top-3 player on his team for the last two years. For me, the difference comes down to perceived skillsets and the ability to translate that into the modern NHL game. Englund, being a 2014 draftee, has a head start by crossing the pond to star for Binghamton in the AHL this year. Jaros, the club's 2015 5th round pick, will likely be in Sweden for one more year having locked down a full-time role with Luleå.

Going into the draft, Jaros was unranked by both TSN and McKeen's, but was a late third round player for ISS Hockey and a 5th round player for HockeyProspect.com. The weakness that kept most teams away can be summed up by RedLineReport, who had Jaros among the slowest players in the draft. That, however, didn't matter to the Senators, who were impressed by Jaros' ability to get into 25 SHL games as Luleå's youngest defenseman and his 2014 WJC performance where he played top-pair minutes in a group that featured both Canada and the United States.

Player

TOI/G

Shots/G

Hits/G

Blocked Shots/G

Jaros (2014-15)

8:50 (25 GP)

0.65

0.68

0.4

Jaros (2015-16)

14:40 (25 GP)

1.28

1.24

0.56

Englund (2014-15)

12:43 (49 GP)

0.39

1.16

0.67

Englund (2015-16)

17:31 (46 GP)

0.65

1.74

0.84

Englund and Jaros compare quite well when you look at their SHL time too, with both showing a massive jump in ice-time per game from Y1 to Y2. Here's where we begin to see some differences in their games, though. Jaros appears to have the better offensive ability, with even is 2014-15 shots per game ahead of Englund's career high. This isn't surprising when you look at their U18 or even SuperElit (top junior league) levels, where Jaros' point totals were greater than 0.5 PPG while Englund's were sub-0.30 PPG. It's important to note too that although Jaros has the size and ability to be a big hitter (6'3, 220lbs) and scouting reports often say that he "plays physical", he doesn't appear to do it that often, especially in comparison to Englund. Hitting and blocked shots, as you know, have become less frequent skills at the NHL level, with coaches now asking their defenders to prevent controlled zone entries and stop the opposition with strong neutral zone defense or quick zone exits. We've already seen *some* evidence that Jaros' offensive ability may lead to better zone exits than Englund, but what about neutral zone defending?

From HockeyProspect's Mark Edwards:

He's an interesting one. One of our Euro guys really liked him a lot and you know, he had a good World Junior, and I saw him a lot at the World Junior and this was a kid that was passed over in his draft eligible year but I thought he had a great showing. We actually ranked him in the 130s. His skating really improved over last year which is one of the biggest factors from being undrafted to drafted. He has good mobility now and can join the rush a few times while looking natural due to good decision making. Right-handed shot who's a smart player that anticipates the play well. Really liked him in the neutral zone and how he controls the gap on opposing forwards. There's some real upside there. I'm not sure if he has true offensive potential at the NHL level but he has some offensive talent there for sure. Can be physical and bang the body if he needs to.

From Pierre Dorion, pre-2015 WJC:

"The reports on him are outstanding," said Dorion. "He's going to be the captain of Team Slovakia. He's a hard-nosed defensive defenceman, who can make a pass and really defends well. He's a big body, he can do what a defensive defenceman needs to do with the puck.

Check. Let's be clear, though. I don't think either Englund or Jaros have the ability to become impact defenders at the NHL level. If they can be great AHLers and contribute value on the 3rd pair, I'd be pretty happy. Due to draft position, this type of result seems 'okay' for Jaros and 'poor' for Englund, but as we're seeing more and more, these two are more similar than we think. Due to some latent offensive potential and the rarity of right-shot defenders in the Sens system, I think Jaros is the better bet. The answer will be clearer in the next two years.

Thanks for reading!