Photo Credit: Voltigeurs de Drummondville
Jacob Dion is coming off of his rookie season with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs. The former fourth round selection in the 2018 QMJHL Draft displayed strong offensive qualities throughout the season. In 63 games played, the Stoke, Quebec native tallied 17 goals and 34 assists. With his 17 goal campaign, he broke records such as the Voltigeurs record for most goals by a rookie defenseman, earned a spot on the QMJHL’s All-Rookie Team and was a finalist for the Raymond-Legacé Trophy (went to Samuel Hlavaj of the Sherbrooke Phoenix).
Prior to his time with the Voltigeurs, he spent multiple seasons with the Magog Cantonniers of the QMAAA and played with a strong group of prospects including William Villeneuve (2020, Saint John Sea Dogs), Patrick Guay (2020, Sherbrooke Phoenix), Justin Robidas (2021, Val-d’Or Foreurs) and Isaac Belliveau (2021, Rimouski Océanic).
D.O.B – November 1, 2001
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –181 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left
Dion’s Style Of Play
Jacob Dion likes to control the pace of the game in the offensive zone. The 5’9 defenseman is eager to pinch and complete tape-to-tape passes to his forwards once he has jumped up into the cycle.
In the defensive zone, Dion has a crisp and accurate first pass. Even with pressure bearing down on him, Dion still finds ways to evade a potential take-away and sends the puck over to an open teammate. In addition, he will occasionally use the boards to help complete his first pass if his attacker has not provided a gap. The Stoke native also does an efficient job of tracking the puck along the boards and he started to work on his physical play along the boards towards the end of the season (which was needed).
While Dion is still working on his physical game, there are some other areas in the defensive zone in which the young defenseman needs to improve upon. When it comes to be defending the rush, Dion has challenges handling speedy wingers like James Malatesta (2021, Quebec Remparts) and Zachary L’Heureux (2021, Halifax Mooseheads, formerly of the Moncton Wildcats). Speedy wingers seem to stun Dion and the defenseman has to switch from defending the rush to rushing after the puck. Aside from dealing with a speedy rush, Dion should be looking to tighten up his gap control, but I do expect that once he develops a more physically robust playing style that he will be able to use that to his advantage to tighten up gaps. Ultimately, the goal for Dion should be to acquire some of the physical attributes that fellow 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect Eemil Viro of TPS has (Viro is similar in height/weight, just slightly taller). If Dion can resemble the physical play that Viro brings to the ice, he will be tough to beat at both ends of the ice.
In terms of transitional play and skating, Dion has proven to be quite reliable at moving the puck from zone-to-zone. As others have mentioned, Dion has “silky smooth skating” and it is hard to disagree with their assessment. He possesses strong mobility and cross-overs that power his acceleration.
While it is evident that Dion has found plenty of success at scoring goals, in the below chart from InStat Hockey, you can see that his success solely comes from the slot. This makes sense as Dion is at his best from a playmaking perspective when he pinches and is part of the cycle. But, if you were expecting Dion to fire hard slap shot from the point like a Mike Green or John Carlson, those type of goals will not likely occur that often.
All-in-all, Dion has plenty of upside and if he can develop a stronger physical game, he will be a handful for his opponents.
Matt Grzelcyk, Left Handed Defenseman, Boston Bruins
While Grzelcyk is easily more physical and is stronger at gap control than Dion, both defensemen are undersized and are strong pinching defensemen. Grzelcyk and Dion have the ability to create perfectly timed tape-to-tape passes that lead the way to scoring chances.
stats from InStat Hockey and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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