Jack Quinn is one of the more intriguing prospects in the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft, mainly because nobody had him near the top-end of their lists to start the season. Having come out of nowhere to truly establish himself as one of the better power forward and goal-scoring options in this Draft, many have begun flirting with the idea of having him ranked in the top-10. This article looks at how Jack Quinn went from relative nobody to bonafide top-10 prospect, while highlighting the changes in his game that could aid his transition to the NHL, sooner rather than later.
A Slow Start for Quinn
Quinn started the year in relative anonymity. Playing behind the likes of Tye Felhaber, Sasha Chmelevski, Austen Keating and Marco Rossi on the forward chart last year, Quinn was relegated to 3rd line duty most of last season. He was only able to put up 12 goals and 20 assists for a meager 32 points in 61 games. However, even prior to his exceptional 2019-2020 season, the signs were there that, when given the chance, Quinn could be far more than a simple checking forward. As one of the oldest players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft (being born 3 days before the cut off for the 2019 Draft), it didn’t look good for him, but the summer of 2019 seemed to have changed everything for him.
Although he possessed good hands and had an impressive shot, he had average speed and seemed very predictable (toe-drag deke + shot) in almost every sequence. I’ve left this sequence from early 2018 here just to give you an idea of his apparent potential, even last year, but I invite you to circle back to this video at the end of the article so see how much Quinn has improved over the last year and a half.
Jack Quinn 2.0
With a less loaded roster pushing him down the pecking order, Jack Quinn had all the opportunity to shine for the Ottawa 67s, and boy, did he ever. Right out of the gate, you noticed that he had greatly improved his explosiveness and his edge work. He would literally blow by defenders, who had inside positioning on him, within 2-3 strides up the neutral zone. An great example would be in the video below, which shows Quinn using his explosive first few steps and strong subsequent strides to command inside positioning en route to a high danger opportunity.
He also combined his speed with a very good frame (6’1 and 180 lbs) to effectively protect the puck and weave through the offensive zone during zone entries. One of the things that I enjoyed the most regarding Quinn is how he attacks the play, and his improved skating and growing body were major reasons behind such a noticeable change in offensive production. He often used his frame to distance his opponents from the puck, pivoting on himself in mid-stride (as seen by the video below), while creating more space for his teammates and increasing the offensive options at his disposal (before eventually putting it in himself). This is the kind of style he will need to perfect to play in the NHL, but he’s already quite good at it, no matter who the junior competition may be.
Best Goal Scorer of the Draft?
Quinn is easily one of the best pure goal-scorers available
in the upcoming draft (along with the likes of Jarvis, Holtz and Rossi), but he
could possibly have the best overall shot in the Draft. No disrespect to
Alexander Holtz, who has an absolute laser of a shot that I find to be more
precise, but Quinn’s shot has the velocity and power to be deadly at the next
level. One thing that is different this year, and has afforded him much more success,
is the release of his shot. He is able to let his shot go at a much faster rate
and that makes him extremely deadly in the slot with time and space.
In the video below, you can see him receive a pass, fake a toe-drag and eventually unleash a cannon of a shot in the top-corner. His shot is able to rise and fly at such a rate that the goaltender, who was admittedly screened, had absolutely no chance of stopping.
And this is not a one-time occurrence. In fact, what makes Quinn’s shot so dangerous is his ability to get off quickly and from literally anywhere (as evidenced by the video below). He’s able to turn on himself, and still release a powerful wrister in traffic that finds twine in a hurry. The speed and velocity will continue to improve as he continues to add to his frame, but that precision and the speed of execution cannot be taught; it’s an instinct and he has it.
A Two-Way Player
I really like Quinn’s maturity when it pertains to his
two-way game. Having spent most of last year in a checking role for the 67s,
Quinn had become far more conscientious of the defensive side of the game. It
allowed him to play some good minutes on the PK for Ottawa, while also being
quite solid at creating a strong forecheck and causing a plethora of turnovers
in the neutral zone.
Here’s just a quick example below, where Quinn is able to use his frame along the boards in the neutral zone to strip his opponent of the puck, halting their rush and subsequently creating and odd-man rush the other way that he finishes in style. If you replay the video and follow him closely in the frames, you can see him anticipate the play, position himself along the boards to block the pass and effectively explode up the ice for the counter attack.
Even at center-ice, Quinn was effective at using his speed and quick stick to pluck the puck away from his opponents and create his own offensive chances. He had a knack for being able to quickly zone in on the puck carrier and apply significant pressure, while also using his active stick to try and poke the puck away. In the sequence below, he does exactly this, while zoning in on his man, he strips him of the puck quickly and immediately rushes back into the offensive zone, goes back to his favourite toe-drag move and stuffs it home for a beautiful goal that would make any coach warm with pride.
A Product of Marco Rossi?
This is another myth that many seem to be spreading, that Jack Quinn’s point totals are coming specifically from playing with Marco Rossi, who is a bonafide top-5 talent in the upcoming Draft himself. For starters, the only time that Rossi and Quinn play together in a regular game setting would be on the first power play wave. Rossi anchors the first line at center, while Quinn plays on the second line with Beck and Hoelscher.
Even if you factor in his power play scoring, only 15 of Quinn’s 52 goals this season came on the overplay, which means he scored a staggering 37 even-strength goals in 62 games; the highest of any Draft-eligible CHL prospect and 2nd in all the OHL behind Nick Robertson. I think one of the reasons the Ottawa 67s were such a dominant team in the OHL this year was specifically because they had two elite talents on separate lines in their top-6, and Jack Quinn’s presence on the 2nd line allowed coach André Tourigny to spread out the offence and make them far harder to defend. Both Rossi and Quinn benefitted from this at various points throughout the season, but their success is their own.
A Top-10 Talent
Given the lack of power forwards in the top-end of this Draft, you could very well see Jack Quinn jump ahead of some players and squeak his way into the top-10. His combination of size, speed and skill may tempt a team with multiple 1st round picks to take a chance on him (Ottawa, New Jersey, Anaheim) in order to fill a void in their organization. I personally believe that he has bonafide top-6 potential, and that his size and mature two-way game will make him indispensable on a competitive roster. Will he become a legit scoring threat in the NHL and a bonafide 1st liner winger in the same ilk as a Corey Perry or a Rick Nash? Well that remains to be seen. However, it would be safe to say that he has the potential to get there, and that has many GMs salivating.
More To Come!
I’ll also be covering the following prospects in coming editions of the ‘’Not Just the Top 10’’
So stay tuned!