Photo Credit: Mitch Highman/MJOYPHOTOGRAPHY
Scouting Report written by Bailey Johnson
It’s been quite the last 12 months for Jack Peart.
When the season started in November, the Grand Rapids, Minn. native went to Fargo to play for the Fargo Force in the USHL. Peart played the first 16 games of the season with the Force, tallying 11 assists, then headed back to Minnesota for the high school hockey season.
In 18 games for Grand Rapids, Peart put up an eye-popping 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 total points — and picked up Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award. After returning to Fargo, Peart scored his first regular season USHL goal and proceeded to score two more goals in the playoffs as the Force made a run to the Clark Cup finals.
The left-handed defenseman will begin his college career at St. Cloud State in the fall, where his elite defensive skill — he was arguably one of the best pure defenders in the USHL this year — and offensive upside should make him an impact player right away.
D.O.B – May 15, 2003
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 181 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left
Peart’s Style of Play
There’s no question that Peart is a modern, two-way defenseman, but while a lot of two-way defensemen these days lean much more heavily toward the offensive side of their game, Peart’s bread and butter is his defensive play.
The overall impression of watching Peart defend is one of a calm, poised hockey player who knows where he needs to be. He’s rarely out of position and almost never panics, allowing him to make simple, smart plays to shut down the opposition.
He controls his gap well and is efficient at shutting plays down before they become true threats. On the occasions where he is beat or has to hustle to shut down a rush threat, his skating allows him to cover ground easily and he almost always gets back to where he needs to be.
He uses his stick well, both on the rush and in defensive zone coverage, and is a skilled penalty killer because of his patience and high-level vision. When it comes to breaking the puck out of the zone, you can almost guarantee he’ll find the right passing lane up to his forward — if he doesn’t take it himself, which he shows a willingness to do.
Peart is still on the smaller side, but the strength coaches at St. Cloud State will surely help him add a little size. The one area where his size shows up is in the relative lack of physicality in his game, but he’s not unwilling to play the body when required. It seems likely that the physicality will come as he adds strength and gets into a more physical league, which the NCHC certainly is.
Peart’s offensive game is less developed than his defensive game, but there’s plenty of reasons to believe that growth will come. His performance at the high school level — though disclaimers about the quality of competition apply — demonstrates that he has some offensive tools.
In Fargo, he played mostly on a pair with Ryan Siedem, who took on the more offensive role of the two. But at St. Cloud State, Peart will likely have the opportunity to display more offense and we’ll get a look at how far that side of his game can come.
The same high-level vision that makes Peart so strong defensively also comes into play on the offensive side of the puck. He might not grow into the kind of defenseman like Quinn Hughes or Cale Makar who can make a highlight-reel play off the rush, but his breakout passes will always be in the right place at the right time, and he’ll set his teammates up for success.
Peart walks the blueline well and displays impressive patience. Particularly on the power play, you won’t see him bombing away from the top of the zone and hoping a puck hits the net — he’s much more likely to wait, find the right lane and shoot a puck that’s much easier to tip in for a goal.
His shot isn’t overly heavy, but it isn’t a detriment at this point, and will only improve with added strength as he grows his frame. At times, he displays impressive creativity with the puck — a sign there’s more offensive upside to his game than it may seem.
Peart’s straight-line speed won’t blow you away, but he’s an agile, fluid skater who certainly isn’t held back by his lack of top-end, elite speed. His backward skating may be even more fluid than his forward skating, which serves him well as a defenseman, and he changes directions with ease.
He uses his edges well, which allows him to stick with his checks and break the puck out of the zone efficiently.
Top-four defenseman, possibly second-unit power play
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Bailey Johnson. If you would like to follow Bailey on Twitter, her handle is @BaileyAJohnson_.
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