The 2020 NHL Draft became the flagship for Doug Wilson Jr., San Jose Sharks Director of Scouting. The event brought some of the organization’s most exciting prospects: first round Ozzy Wiesblatt, Avenue Boy Thomas Bardello, WJC great man Adam Ruska and snipers Daniel Gushchin and Tristen Robbins.
It’s easy to get lost in Brendan Coe’s draft queue, especially considering that, with the exception of Ruska, the aforementioned were drafted before qualifying for the fourth round (98th overall), which played four years in junior hockey from North Bay with the OHL Battalion.
The question extrapolates to the wider range of that year’s draft, as nine of the top 10 selections for that draft have already taken place in the NHL; Alexis Lafrenier (NYR), Quinton Byfield (LAK), Tim Stutzl (OTT), Lucas Raymond (DET) and Jamie Drysdale (ANA) have all seen significant time in the NHL and are already playing regular roles in their NHL clubs. So continuing to gain time in the juniors after his conscription year, playing for the OHL team, which once took last place, the fact that Coe flew under the radar is not his own fault, but perhaps the collective view turned elsewhere .
First, here is a child who was once called third in the overall standings in the OHL. But Coe would never have aroused more interest from the hockey world than in 2021, when ours did not. 12 prospects struggled to rediscover the spotlight.
Start with the North Bay Battalion, which moved from a 17-41-4 record in 2019-20 to a division victory this season, finishing second with a 43-18-3 record. The OHL canceled its 2020-21 season due to the COVID pandemic, so Coe gained experience at the AHL level that year by playing 17 games with San Jose Barracuda, scoring four assists and scoring the first goal at the professional level.
The regression for the season seemed the best for the offensive battalion, as the team scored 78 goals more than the previous season, which is good for an increase of 1.15 more per game. Of their total 267 goals in 2021-22, Coe, who is now an alternate captain and leader after three seasons in the battalion, scored 34, scoring an additional 67 goals from assists.
Most of Coe’s points have been assistants, just 67 this season. He has proven to be a skilled playmaker who seems to always be able to find his teammates in dangerous areas on the ice. Promising was that his game went beyond what Sharks expected.
Elite Prospects 2020 leadership project Coe describes it as follows: “Defense is the strongest element of his game. The fact that he lacks energy, he compensates by reasonable positioning. He is always above the game in the attack zone. Preliminary physical play allows Coe to win battles, establish body position and escape by owning them. ”
The factor in Coe’s frame is now up to 6 feet 5, 203 pounds, according to Battalion list “The sharks probably imagined a six, a staple line, and a grinder with a little resentful instinct.” a la Eric Fer is about 2018. This is a good look, as Fer was considered an important device for the San Jose team, which hopes to fight for a deep post-season run. But this year, Coe shows that scores are more than just instinctive.
The battalion, which now plays in the OHL Eastern Conference semifinals, had high hopes for Coe, who scored more than a third of his team’s total points. This is a considerable feat and reflects another player who has largely secured the result for his team this year: Tim Mayer. Coe stated that the contribution (goals and assists) was 0.38 of the battalion’s total number of goals – in 2021-22 compared to Meyer’s 0.36 for the Sharks.
Clearly, Coe has been a more impressive player for his club compared to Tim this season, underscored by the rapid reconstruction and appearance of the battalion in the post-season, an achievement that is currently eluding the Sharks. But you can’t compare the OHL to the NHL, and making the jump proved difficult even for the most prolific scorers. But what it would be worth, but Coe’s number of points kept him at the top of the leaderboard for weeks before the season.
His dominance this year was exactly what the sharks ordered. He hoped to join the organization after 17 AHL games and visits Sharks Development Camp in September 2021 (where he skated with Bordelo and William Eklund). Like many KHL prospects, the 20-year-old now needs an extra year to develop, especially given the 2020 gap.
Well, he excelled after leading the OHL by points in December, receiving a three-year entry-level contract with San Jose, signed on December 6, 2021, a few days after his birthday. He finished the year fifth in all OHL skaters with 101 points.
As I said: more than just instinct. Try determination.
Trying to estimate what it took for him to make a breakthrough season, it probably depends on the fact that Coe is a player who needs to play not only in his hockey career. This is what he detailed in his own words in an essay entitled “For Dad”Which he wrote for the Players’ Tribune, honoring the memory of his late father Lance.
“Although it was hard not to miss my parents when I was in North Bay, I found a new competitive advantage. Every time I stepped on the ice, I left everything there. For my dad. For me, ”Coe wrote about his first years as a junior, a mindset that obviously affected his 2021-22 campaign. Growing up, Co lived in Ajax, Ontario, but traveled with his parents to Toronto for 30 minutes during training sessions and games where Coe could play against stronger competition.
Lance died of multiple myeloma in 2020, just a month after Brendan was drafted into the NHL, but was with him every step of the way: from waking up six-year-old Brendan to morning skating before a game, hours to Brendan’s youth league games ; joint trips to Pittsburgh to witness then-star Sidney Crosby; and watching his son put on green for the North Bay Battalion.
Coe is now spending the best season of his career, improving the number of points exponentially over his four-year junior career. But that means more than just producing or being a leader on ice. In the same essay, Coe recounts how, despite being in the hospital for months, Lance along with Brendan’s mother, Heather, were Coe’s biggest fans. “I think deep down I always knew he wanted to see me in the NHL, even if I didn’t realize it.”
“So when he got sick, his dream became mine,” Brandon wrote.
What we like
When Coe wins the J. Cup. Ross Robertson, the Memory Cup or both, it will be the limit of his likely terminated junior career – and will add to his Sharks Top Prospect award in 2022, the title of best player of the week OHL in November 2021 and the CHL Top Prospect award in 2020.
He is projected to make the leap with the promising Sharks crop, which is expected to be at the center of the franchise in a few years, along with Eklund, Benjamin Hadro, Gannan Larock and the aforementioned Cow draft colleagues. Expect to see him in a Barracuda sweater to start the 2022 season.
Coe brings the insight that the organization already stands for: an archetypal two-way street. Logan Couture, Matt Nieto, Tomasz Hertl, Nick Banina and Noah Gregor are all current players in this form. They are a group that has watched power games throughout their careers, but also participated in the second best penalty in the league. This should ensure a smooth transition for Kou.
In addition, it brings much-needed size – many current prospects are at a height of 5 feet 11 or less, including Gushchin, Brothel and Eklund. Despite Coe’s frame, “he rides well on a big man,” as noted former player, now Sharks scout Brian Marchment.
No, size does not directly translate into positive, but with size comes implied strength, an instrument that we have seen Gertl and Mayer used to be successful hockey players in their careers. If he could continue to mimic some of these habits, Kou’s physical ability around the puck would become an important component in driving and driving control.
Areas for improvement
While Coe’s game seems airtight in most respects, now the question is how often will he bring his A-game? Only a few players can hope to maintain the speed of production that Coe has set this season. And yet, Coe has never spent more than three games without a point through 68 games in the OHL.
The question of consistency is rather a critique of Coe’s career to his breakthrough campaign of 2021-22. All indications are that he has solved the problem this season, but the next step comes with a new level of body wear.
Its high performance can retreat as easily as it can maintain. This is common for transition players. Despite all the signs of true talent, Coe will have to dig deep to prove that this year was no accident.
Everyone remembers the clutch Sharks goals. In the last second of the game Meyer scored a goal in the match against the team Vegas Golden Knights April 24 and four or five from the 2019 Western Conference Finals. How about this from Coe?
He shows balance, agility and speed to play Game 2 in the first round of the 2022 playoffs against the Ottawa 67s. This postseason it was part of a constant diet with clutch performances from Coe. You love seeing it.