August 08 2012 11:07AM
Colgate Raiders defenseman Jeremy Price has managed to fly under the radar in Vancouver, which is pretty impressive considering how much media attention anything or anyone related to the Canucks typically generates.
The 21-year-old defenseman (and 2009 4th round selection of the Canucks) has spent the last three seasons at Colgate University, and is returning this fall for his senior season. During his time with the Raiders, Price has recorded 56 points in 113 games.
He was profiled on Canucks Army back in January of this year. Price is far from a goal scorer, but he skates well and moves the puck effectively, something reflected in his assist totals (especially over the past two seasons).
Price has established himself as a prospect with NHL upside. Will he continue to blossom into a solid two-way defenseman in his final year of college hockey? How far away is he from seeing NHL action? Read past the jump to find out.
Thanks to Gabe Desjardins and his NHL equivalency (NHLE) number, we have some rough tools that allow us to project Price's production were he to move to the NHL next season. NHLE is only intended to be a snap-shot and it has some limitations, but it's based on the offensive performance of players who moved from one league to another in consecutive seasons.
This method tends to underestimate the difficulty of leagues that are substantially weaker than the NHL. This happens because only the top players get called up to the NHL – before the call-up, they were on the first line and playing the power play; after the call-up, they’re 3rd or 4th liners. This cuts down on both their overall ice time, and on their power play time, which is when they’d get the best opportunities to score.
Thomas Drance calculated the NHLE for several Vancouver prospects back in May. Here are the defensemen:
|Prospect||League||Age||NHLE G||NHLE A||NHLE Pts|
Price has been in Ontario this summer training with Vancouver Director of Player Development Dave Gagner (along with several other Canucks players and prospects, including Chris Tanev, Brendan Gaunce, Frankie Corrado, and Steve Pinizzotto). He was a noted offensive threat in junior hockey (he scored 12 goals in his final year with the Nepean Raiders of the CJHL), but he has settled in as more of a two-way defenseman at the NCAA level. The fact that he is training with Gagner bodes well, since it allows the Canucks to keep closer taps on his offseason training and to provide guidance on proper recovery and nutrition.
For a puck-moving defenseman with an excellent first pass, Price possesses solid size at 6-1 and weighing close to 200 pounds. He led Colgate's defensive group in scoring in 2011-12, and he has seen his production increase each season as a Raider - from 14 points, to 19, to 23. He credits the college schedule for a lot of his improvement.
Going the NCAA route has definitely given me time to develop, both physically and mentally, around the game. Just the number of practices throughout the week always allows you to be improving throughout the year. And we definitely get more pumped up with the college schedule, having games just on the weekends. All you can think about all week is your game the upcoming weekend. The last thing you want is to have to look back on a poor game all week. It’s a way better schedule for development, and brings a higher level of intensity to the games.
After his senior season concludes, look for Price to join the Chicago Wolves and work his way up at the AHL level. Price has been named as a team captain for Colgate's 2012-13 season, along with Thomas Larkin and Nathan Sinz.
Some more thoughts on Price from Go Gate Hockey:
You may not have noticed it due to the offensive fireworks put up by Austin Smith and Chris Wagner but Jeremy Price quietly turned in a career offensive year in 2011-12. The Vancouver Canucks draft pick ripped off 23 points on two goals and 21 assists; career highs were set in assists and total points. Price tied for third overall on the team in points and he was Colgate’s top scorer on the blue line. Against ECAC opponents, the rising senior snapped up 18 points with 16 assists – the second-highest total on the team. Price played heavy minutes for the Raiders appearing in 36 of 39 overall games. He was on Colgate’s top power play unit, killed penalties and paired with several different mates on the back end.
He won't be rushed to the NHL, as there are several defensive prospects ahead of him on the depth chart – for now. Price shows off his skating ability in this clip below – he scores on a nice wrist shot from the slot at the 6:14 mark:
While Price's promising development over the past few years has gone largely unnoticed in Vancouver, but you can bet that Canucks management and the coaching staff have been paying close attention. As we see each season, you can never have enough quality defensemen. Especially defensemen who are reliable in their own zone, and appear capable of moving the puck up the ice.