Ranked 22nd on our list in the winter, Jarrod Maidens has played zero games since then--yet still moves up four spots. How is this possible? No mystery: Maidens has been cleared to practice. Look, there he is on your development camp roster sheet! No joke. He was there!
heading back home after a great week in Ottawa for the Sens Development Camp. Thanks @NHL_Sens for another great time! Amazing group of ppl.— jarrod maidens (@jarrod_maids) July 9, 2013
Consider that at this point last year, the team still had no idea if Maidens would ever play again, this is a massively positive step forward for his career. One wonders what the training staff told him to work on, considering it will have been nearly two calendar years since he was last allowed to play competitive hockey. That will change this year, as Maidens is expected to return to the OHL's Owen Sound Attack.
Maidens is widely regarded to be Ottawa's best chance at a legitimate steal in recent drafts. Prior to his concussion, he was considered a surefire first round pick, and there are rumblings that he could have been a top-15 pick if not for his injury. Ultimately, that may be a little high for him, but it's interesting to note that scouting reports on Maidens are similar to the more recently-drafted Curtis Lazar, but with more mention of offensive skill:
Maidens is a highly-athletic player who’s an excellent skater, enabled by his upright posture and stride which allow for powerful thrusts that help him enter the zone effectively. He is always around the puck due to his skating and size.
When healthy, Maidens shows a lot of tools that make you think he could be a solid top 6 forward at the next level. His biggest asset is his strength and compete level. He is one of the better board players in the draft. He is strong at winning battles for the puck along the boards in the offensive zone. He uses his body to protect the puck from opposition defenders. He makes crisp tape-to-tape passes from behind the net. He is an underrated skater who shows strong footwork. He projects out as a good top 6 forward with leadership abilities.
Jarrod Maidens struggled with concussions all year, but has very good upside and could be considered in the first round. One of the better OHL scorers when healthy, Maidens has a shooter’s instinct with a very good shot. He powers into dirty areas on the ice and shows a fiery attitude to win.
Maidens came into the year with a little bit of hype but he ended up playing a shortened season. He is not a flashy player who wows spectators with puck skills or skating but he does everything well and is what scouts have called a "classic underrated type". His best skill is his hockey sense, which is plus and translates into his offensive game through his positional play and great vision as well as his play in the defensive end. He regularly makes impressive feeds and will show high-end playmaking ability. Maidens' puck skills are decent and can flash a tick above that, so if he doesn't have the space to work with, I don't see him as the kind of player who will create that kind of working area for himself, but if you line him up on a power play from the sideboards, he can see all the options unfold. Maidens has a decent physical game as he protects the puck fine and plays the body, but he has a beanpole frame and needs to put on a lot of muscle. He also needs to work on his skating, as despite good mechanics, his speed is below average.
The big centerman plays a strong north-south game leaving his mark around the goal crease with his ability to stickhandle and shoot in traffic. Once considered a first round lock, Maidens is an enticing package of size, grit and skill and his hard-nose approach will attract suitors but his latest injury will raise serious concerns.
Maidens is obviously behind on his development and missed a chance to play with fellow prospect Cody Ceci last year, but he has the skill and the frame to play in the NHL at some point. Expectations that he might someday replace Jason Spezza probably need to be tempered, but it's not unrealistic to imagine him one day centering a hybrid scoring/checking third line alongside some of his talented fellow prospects, giving the Ottawa Senators a legitimate payoff for all of the prospect depth they currently have. Like many of the lower names on this list, he's a player whose path to the NHL might be longer than a year--which keeps him under the radar--but his potential value for the team makes him a player worth watching.