Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Beau Jelsma is 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who plays for the OHL’s Barrie Colts. He grew up in Brownsville, Ontario. If you aren’t familiar with Brownsville, it’s southeast of London, Ontario and not far from the Highway 19 and Highway 3 interchange/roundabout.
Jelsma played 14U AAA and 15U AAA hockey for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and had a stint with the Brantford 99ers U16 AAA. During his time with Buffalo and Brantford, he played alongside a few 2022 NHL Draft eligibles including Owen Mehlenbacher (Muskegon Lumberjacks) and Gavin Bryant (Owen Sound Attack).
Jelsma was selected in the third round of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft at 55th Overall by Barrie. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, he didn’t get his DY-1 (draft year minus one) season, but he has had an excellent OHL rookie campaign this season.
D.O.B – April 28, 2004
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –174 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Jelsma’s Style Of Play
Jelsma does an excellent of job of creating space for himself. Jelsma constantly looks to go to the low slot and provide passing options at net front. If a teammate is behind the net with possession of the puck, he goes to the low slot to offer a one-timer passing option. When his teammate is working the cycle around the boards and the opposition is puck watching, that is when Jelsma sneaks past them to the low slot. By the time the attackers notice, it’s too late.
Since Jelsma is always looking to create passing lanes most of the time, he usually doesn’t opt to carry the puck into the slot himself. Instead, if he is control of the puck beyond the perimeter, he will opt to complete a deceptive drop pass to a teammate behind him and then skates into the slot to give that teammate a passing option.
Occasionally Jelsma will make the extra pass when he has a lot of open ice in front of him, but generally speaking, he is an underrated playmaker in this class. He will attempt to complete passes to the slot if he can spot a usable lane. Sometimes he will miss target especially when he is in the corner facing tight pressure. But, for the most part, Jelsma has proven that he can wire quality passes to the slot. He doesn’t just look to complete passes to the slot, he looks to complete passes to teammates at the backdoor. Jelsma is trying to catch the goaltender off his rhythm but feathering a quick pass to his teammate at the backdoor and hoping that his teammate can get a clean one touch or one-timer shot off before the goaltender can shift over to his teammate. When attempting that pass and he has pressure on him, you can expect Jelsma to pass underneath the stick or over the stick if he can’t use his reach to open up a passing lane.
Jelsma has good upper body strength to push past attackers while on the forecheck and has the speed to stay active and aggressive when staying aligned with oppositional puck carriers. His upper body strength allows him to cut inside when going for a loose puck on the forecheck. By using his upper body to push past the attacker, he is able to beat the attacker to the loose puck.
While Jelsma is very good in loose puck battles, he is slightly more inconsistent when looking to put pressure on puck carriers who are along the boards. He won’t shy away from hunting on the forecheck in the corner against someone who is not in his weight class by a long shot. But, he struggles with applying enough pressure to truly shut down the oppositional puck movement. I’d like to see him truly use his upper body strength to sandwich attackers into the boards.
He also needs to work on using his back to push traffic off of him while working the cycle / controlling the puck along the boards when facing rather tight pressure. Sometimes, he can be rather shifty and he will pivot to shake off an attacker. But, he struggles to do that consistently.
When he is at open ice, sometimes he won’t have the stick-handling reach that he needs in tight gap control situations to turn around the defender and cut to the net. But, when defenders match up well with him, he won’t try to force the puck in. Instead, he looks for an open teammate to pass to.
When you look at his shot, Jelsma needs to work on shot release when on the move. He has got slightly too much of a cradle and that can give away that you intend to shoot while on the move. But, he has done well with one touch shots from medium danger at the inner hashmarks going top shelf far side. However, the bulk of his scoring success has come down low backdoor. He grabs a spot in the low slot, nets a passing lane and quickly scores immediately after capturing possession off of a pass.
One of the things that I really like about Jelsma is he has the capability of utilizing quality crossovers and has good puck protection at the same time on the rush. When deploying both together, it makes him tough to handle for the opposition. He can utilize his crossovers to net good acceleration to get past slower attackers and will secure the puck nicely with his backhand as he turns around the attacker. Once he gets to net front and slightly past the goaltender, he finds a gap and uses his forehand to get the puck in the back of the net.
Generally speaking, Jelsma deploys quality defense in his own zone. He is a responsible defender. He will drop down low to support his teammates who are trapped in puck battles behind the red line and he will play a support / insurance role when his teammates are engaged in puck battles on the side boards. Jelsma has good defensive positioning when the puck is along the opposite half-wall as he will skate over to centered ice to defend the slot.
Jelsma will also look to bail his teammates out. If he sees that one of his defensemen are struggling in a tight puck battle along the boards, he’ll skate to them to give them an opportunity to complete a drop pass to him and the get the puck away from danger.
In addition, he will go defend net front if one his defensemen is looking to put pressure on an attacker coming out of the corner and plenty of open ice opens up at net-front. When he sees an open attacker with the puck headed to the net and no defender in sight, he quickly follows in pursuit. Jelsma will attempt to throw his weight to silence puck movement, but given his frame, that only works against attackers of similar size. He is constantly scanning the defensive zone and making sure that he is in the best spot to defend against oppositional puck movement.
When defending against the puck carrying attacker at the point, he lowers and widens himself to take up a lot of space and forces ill-advised non dangerous shot from the point. But, there are instances in which he will look to use an active stick when defending at the point, but he needs slightly more reach to truly disrupt puck movement. If you are a shifty defender, you should be able to navigate around Jelsma’s active stick.
Aside from working on his active stick, I would like to see his reaction timing to moving pucks improve. There have been instances in which he had the opposition pass the puck in front of him, he easily could have intercepted it, but the puck went right by him to an attacker in the slot. If he was quicker when reading the route of the puck, he might have been able to snag the puck and neutralize the threat.
In those situations in which he is in control of the puck, he has shown that he can move the puck even in situations in which he doesn’t have a ton of breathing room. When he doesn’t have a skating lane and he’s skating north / south along the boards and he has an attacker in front of him, you can expect him to go backhand to forehand with the puck quickly to catch the attacker puck watching and that allows him to pass the puck down the boards to a teammate closer to the blue line.
When Jelsma is being paired with San Jose Sharks prospect Ethan Cardwell, Cardwell usually is the one carrying the puck from zone to zone. But, we do see instances in which Jelsma is effective at moving the puck up the ice. Instead of looking to navigate around traffic obstacles in the neutral zone with shifty pivots, instead he will look to manufacture quality passes for zone entries. There have been shifts in which he will complete a backhand bounce pass to his teammate when he was skating up centered ice. He noticed that his teammate was much closer to the blue line and Jelsma then flipped him the pass. The only instances where Jelsma has difficulty netting a zone entry pass is when he attempts long range diagonal feeds.
When he does have possession of the puck, he is keeping a keen eye on the attackers in front of him and watching their stick movements. Jelsma will watch for the moment that the attacker looks to trap him and at that moment he cradles the puck to the right to escape the pressure. He can be very quick to react with the puck on his stick. It’s when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick and he is tracking from further out is when he has some challenges with reaction time.
When defending, he is most often behind the rush. If he is slightly further back from the puck carrying attacker yet still in range, he ill extend his stick out towards the puck with one hand to try to force puck disruption. It doesn’t lead to a turnover in most situations, but at least he can slow them down along the boards and that might mean that his defenders can then trap the attacker somewhere in the defensive zone along the boards.
In situations in which he is facing the rush, if he notices an attacker who is wide open and skating through the neutral zone, he will skate after him. When closing in on him, he lowers his body to take away as much space as possible. But, he does struggle to defend against shifty and mobile puck carriers. When the puck carrying attacker pivots, he is slightly delayed and it opens up enough time / open ice for the attacker to utilize to continue on the rush.
When you look at Jelsma’s skating underneath the microscope, there is a lot to unpack and a lot to like. His forward stride is in great shape. Jelsma has good activation when in a stand still position and that allows him to be dangerous on the forecheck. It allows him to kick off the rush and get to top speed pretty quickly when in transition. Jelsma deploys lengthy skate extensions and has quality ankle flexion that allows him to keep quality pace with his teammates when they are moving the puck up through the neutral zone into the offensive zone.
Not only does he have an excellent forward stride extension that allows him to push up the ice with speed, he also has excellent crossovers that allows him to get up the ice with quality speed. He gains so much acceleration with his crossovers and it allows him to keep quality pace with the puck carrier. When looking to acquire necessary acceleration to keep pace with his puck carrying teammate on the rush, he uses multiple crossovers to get his feet moving and then launches into stride. It allows him to make up ground if he slightly further away from the puck carrier initially. He will also use good backward crossovers in order to drive speedy lateral movement. Jelsma will look to utilize those backward crossovers when he is trying to find open ice in the offensive zone without the puck. Also his crossovers allow him to activate quality speed / acceleration to win loose pucks and that has led to goals like this one, which he scored against Peterborough in November.
His edge work is the only portion of his skating that can be inconsistent. When pivoting out without the puck, he will struggle to maintain balance. Jelsma needs to work on his inside edge and outside edge stability when turning out of pivots. One of the biggest issues with his edges and pivoting is how far his skates are from each other. When his skates are wider than the torso and he deploys his edges, he ends up falling forward. He needs to be cautious about skate placement as that will hurt his mobility and balance. Sometimes he will need to apply his hand on the ice to maintain balance on a turn. In tighter situations like behind the red line, his edges have been of quality and he can stay neck and neck on the forecheck, but when he has a lot of open ice he then tends to extend his skates further out wide.
Jelsma is someone who I believe will provide solid secondary scoring at the NHL level. He is going to be an effective forward, who can alternate between wing and center and still maintain the same forechecking pressure and defensive play that you have come accustomed to seeing from him on the wing. He is going to hunt for open ice in the slot and open up vulnerable passing lanes for the opposing goaltender. I believe he can be an effective third liner in the NHL with second line upside.
April 17, 2022
stats from InStat 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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