Leading up to the NHL draft, I’ll be profiling 10 players who the Oilers could consider taking with the No. 14 pick. Today, we have John-Jason Peterka.
An interesting trend we’ve seen over the past few years is the influx of highly-touted German prospects in the draft.
Back in 2013 when the Oilers selected Leon Draisaitl with the No. 3 pick, he was an anomaly. Draisaitl was the first German to be selected with a first-round pick since Marcel Goc was selected with the No. 20 pick in the 2001 draft.
Now, it isn’t uncommon at all to see a German player at the top of the draft. In 2018, the Blues selected Dominik Bokk with the No. 25 pick and in 2019 the Red Wings took defenceman Moritz Seider with the No. 6 pick.
Tim Stützle is the headlining German prospect in this year’s draft class coming in as the top-ranked European skater according to the International Scouting Service. But Stützle isn’t the only German worth talking about in this draft class. There’s also John-Jason Peterka, a skilled, pesky forward projected to go in the middle of the first round.
Date of Birth: January 14, 2002
Position: Left Wing
Height: 5’11” / 180 cm
Weight: 192 lbs / 87 kg
“His unrelenting motor is a force multiplier in every zone. He’s hard on every puck. He’s an eager, willing combatant in board battles. He’s violent, disruptive — a real pain in the ass. He’ll make second and third efforts where other players generally relent. He’s rarely, if ever stationary, constantly scanning the ice when the puck isn’t on his stick.” – EliteProspects 2020 NHL Draft Guide
“Peterka was a tough player to evaluate this season, as he played very limited minutes on the top team in the DEL. I’ve seen him at other levels over the years, so I believe in the talent, but the lack of playing time in his draft season makes his projection more uncertain in both directions. I see a great toolkit. I see a player with quick twitch hands and ability to beat pro defenders. He’s a strong skater who can make highly skilled plays at a quick pace. He moves the puck well, although Peterka’s 60 IQ comes more from how creative he is offensively, as opposed to being a truly great playmaker. He’s not that big and I wouldn’t call him a great two-way forward, but he does work to win puck battles, and he’s not a perimeter forward.
Tobias Abstreiter, coach of Germany U20 Team, on Peterka: ‘With the puck he’s a threat. He has good speed and very good skill.'” – Corey Pronman’s 2020 Draft Board, The Athletic
Peterka boasts a great skillset. He’s a short but not small winger with good, strong skating ability. He has great hands and a quick, wicked shot, giving him the toolkit to become a highly effective top-six forward.
But perhaps even more important is Peterka’s motor. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and isn’t afraid to shy away from any puck battles or contact in the offensive zone. Putting together a combination of speed, skill, and tenacity makes Peterka a major pain to deal with in the offensive zone.
At a glance, his statistics look really underwhelming. He scored just 11 points in 42 games last season, which obviously pales in comparison to the 34 points that Stützle posted. But it’s important to mention that Peterka played on a stacked EHC Munchen team and was mostly used in a depth, checking role. The fact that he cracked that roster as a teenager is pretty impressive.
If you’re Peterka, it’s difficult to imagine a better situation than being drafted by the Oilers where you could join Draisaitl, who’s already the best German NHL player of all time, in a few years.
Drafting Peterka at No. 14 would be a bit off the board for the Oilers as he’s mostly ranked in the 20s in pre-draft lists. But, last year, we saw Steve Yzerman go off the board at select Moritz Seider at No. 6. Teenagers in the DEL aren’t the easiest to project based on numbers.
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