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Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #9: Jayden Grubbe

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Bruce Curlock
9 months ago
The kid from Calgary, who played in Red Deer and now wants to be in Edmonton. Jayden Grubbe comes in at #9 in the Oilers Prospect Countdown.
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: January 12, 2003
Drafted: 3rd Round Pick, 2021 
Height: 6’3″ / 191 cm
Weight: 203 lbs / 92 kg
Ranking last year: Not ranked
I mean if I were a right-shot center with defensive chops, I would sign with the Edmonton Oilers. Honestly, I would have been doing this for about the last five years because this has been a long-recurring need in Edmonton. Indeed, the need has been so great the Oilers chased Nick Bjugstad for a 3rd round pick and Michael Kesselring and had him play minutes at 2C in the playoffs. It didn’t work.
 
So each year I watch for undrafted or unsigned right shot centers and then try to make a case for how they can fit the Oilers. Jayden Grubbe was my most recent effort and like a blind squirrel, I finally found a nut.
Grubbe first caught my attention in a couple of regular season games against Oiler draft picks, Jake Chiasson and Reid Schaefer. He really solidified my interest in the Rebels second round playoff series loss to Jake Chiasson’s Saskatoon Blades. Grubbe was Red Deer’s best player impacting the game in all three zones and in all situations. He finished the seven games series 1-5-6 and the playoffs as a whole at 2-14-16 in 12 games with 35 shots.
As can be seen, Grubbe really bounced back this season in terms of scoring after a very sub-par 2021/22 season. It remains a little bit surprising to me that the New York Rangers decided to trade his rights to the Oilers instead of signing him to an entry-level contract. Whatever the reason, the Oilers saw enough in Grubbe to flip a 5th-round pick for his rights and promptly sign him to an ELC on May 31, 2023.
So what do the Oilers have in Jayden Grubbe? Well, he’s a big, right-shot center…..ok, I’ll stop. Seriously, there is lots to Jayden Grubbe’s game to like. Here is a clip that says most about what you get in Jayden Grubbe. He’s going to win faceoffs. He will absolutely go hard to the net. He will certainly not take any guff from the opposition.

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What Grubbe is most known for is a very staunch defensive game. He has a great knack for playing above the puck and using his size to thwart attacks and to separate players from the puck. He has a lot of Noah Philps in him when you watch how he thinks the game defensively. Here is a penalty kill clip of Grubbe. He’s keen to step into the puck carrier’s space all the time with his body and/or stick. He also maintains excellent body position trying to keep the player to the flanks of the offensive zone.

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However, it does not mean, Grubbe doesn’t have offensive skills at all. After all, his point totals this year were pretty healthy. For certain, a lot of his goal-scoring success will look like this clip.

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The fact is though, he has offensive ability. He was on PP1 in Red Deer and on the ice for any situation requiring a goal. The most notable part of Grubbe’s skills is his shot. He hasn’t scored very much, but I think that may change because he has an excellent release. It has very little body movement to it, so goalies are not tipped off easily.  In addition, it is quite a heavy shot despite the fact there is minimal loading on his shot.

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Grubbe also has very good puck patience as well. I think this translates very well to the pros. He’s got a big body that will allow him to puck protect even against men. Adding this patience to his game should allow him to be more effective offensively than he has been career-wise.

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There is a lot to like about Grubbe. The one area that could really accelerate his game is improved skating. Here is a clip I showed after he was signed focused on his skating. It isn’t too bad, but some tweaks could really help. His body position is pretty good. Maybe a little too much tilt in the upper body. However, he has a strong lower body. The issue mostly is that his heel kick on the push is quite high on his transition and therefore it takes time and energy for the skate to return back to center. More work on pushing straight back with the skate lower to the ice would help immensely. If you watch the clip as he comes across the blue line you can see his kick is much better. So more focus on the first couple of steps in pushing low should not be a challenge.

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With Noah Philp retiring, Jayden Grubbe jumps right up the rankings because of his handedness and his position. His defensive acumen will push him even faster to an Oiler roster spot. Where Grubbe needs to focus is making sure he can be a threat offensively and that as he meets players bigger and faster than he is used to that his skating becomes a help and not a hindrance. Grubbe will be a player to watch this season because he might be closer than most think to the NHL.

Previously in the countdown

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