11. Christian Jaros (Reader Rank: 11, Last Year: 12)
The countdown to #1 continues with Christian Jaros coming in at lucky number 11; an interesting defenseman who is expected to have a good chance at fighting for a spot in the big club this season. The 22-year old Slovak was drafted 139th overall (5th round) in 2015 and has since played the majority of his career in the Swedish Hockey League until the 2017/2018 season where he was started off his AHL career and even managed to get a taste of the NHL; playing 2 games last season. While he didn’t clock any points, to his credit he did show flashes of a solid defenseman and many argued that he deserved another look by Boucher; especially with the state of the blue line by the end of the season. In his first game, he was only given 6 minutes of ice time and managed 3 hits showing his physical side which may prove to be one his strongest assets.
The general consensus was that Jaros is a shut down defenseman; a Chris Phillips kind of player who you can rely on to make all the right defensive plays and making the big hits. It seems that his time in Sweden was well spent in helping him expand beyond this role with a turning point in 2017 that saw him turn on an offensive spark that most did not expect from Jaros. In the 2016/2017; Jaros caught everyone’s attention with one of his best offensive season scoring 5 goals and 8 assists in just 36 games.
On an international level, Jaros has represented Slovakia on 5 different occasions including a bronze medal performance in the World Junior tournament in 2015. He also had a chance to play with the senior team in the 2015 World Cup scoring 2 goals in 5 games. He also scored his first IIHF World Championship goal this summer and I have to say; while it’s a slight bobble by the goalie I would love to see more of our defensemen shoot like that in the offensive zone.
Jaros has come along way since he was drafted and has completely changed his game to become a multi dimensional player who can both score while making sure to provide a stable presence on the back end. He will most certainly not be pushed around at 6’3 he has proven that even though he is looking to rise on the offensive front he has maintained his base of being the physical defensive player he was scouted to be.
This year’s development camp was a bit of a showcase for Christian Jaros where he delivered the big hits his scouting reports promised while also showing he was NHL-ready; or at least get a chance to spend more time in Ottawa. It seems though that the criticism around him is his skating ability where SensProspects mentions in his final observations some concerns about Jaros.
...he made a couple bad coverage choices on D and his skating isn’t amazing. -SensProspects
My prediction for Jaros is he will most certainly have a good chance at starting the season in Ottawa and if sent down he will probably be a regular call up. Jaros still has some areas where he needs to improve but his development at this point is better served in the NHL with hopefully more than 6 minutes of ice team. He has proven he can play with the older players via his international experience, he has also maintained his renowned physical play and now it will just be a matter of how far he can continue to improve his offensive game.
If you have been missing Anton Volchenkov lately, here’s a little something from what must be Jaros’s most famous hit to date: