Over the past few weeks, The Win Column has ranked the Calgary Flames’ best prospects in advance of the 2022 NHL Draft. Next up in our prospect rankings is the second ranked prospect: Jakob Pelletier.
Pelletier received seven second place votes and one first place vote as the Flames best prospect.
Pelletier was drafted with the 26th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and, despite being a target for criticism by prospect models, he has looked like a great pick ever since they announced his name.
Listed at 5’9″ and 165lbs in his draft year, Pelletier put up 39 goals and 89 points with a 1.36 point per game pace in the QMJHL. He was the second highest scoring member of the Moncton Wildcats, being eight points shy of Jeremy McKenna who is two years older than Pelletier. The following year, he was named the captain of the team and produced 32 goals and 82 points, while playing eight fewer games.
Pelletier was later traded from Moncton to the Val D’Or Foreurs during the 2020 QMJHL entry draft. He was instantly named the captain of the team, and he immediately took the reins, producing 13 goals and 40 points in a covid shortened 28 game season. He also had five goals and 23 points in 15 games in the playoffs.
Pelletier was also named to Team Canada during the 2020 IIHF World Juniors with fellow Flames prospect Connor Zary. Pelletier produced at a point per game pace, putting up three goals and seven assists, and helped the team win a gold medal at the tournament. Other members on that team were Braden Schneider, Bowen Byram, Jamie Drysdale, Quinton Byfield, Dylan Cozens, and Jack Quinn.
Last season, Pelletier played his first season of pro hockey with the Stockton Heat and opened a lot of peoples eyes. Pelletier was outstanding on a line with Matthew Phillips as he produced 27 goals and 62 points. The only player who produced more than Pelletier was Phillips who only had six more points. Stockton was one of the best teams in the AHL last season and much of that is due to the brilliant play by Pelletier.
Pelletier’s strengths and weaknesses
Jakob Pelletier has been described as a very versatile forward who, though plays on the wing most of the time, is also able to take on the duties of a centre. He contributes offensively but is also defensively responsible. He was incredibly valuable in all situations, spending time on both the power play and penalty kill while in Stockton. Pelletier is also an agile skater with great edgework.
Because of his mobility—in addition to his consistent 100% effort—he is able to win races to pucks, and is overall very tough to play against. He is looked at more as a playmaker on the ice, however, he is very capable of putting the puck in the back of the net as well.
Pelletier is listed at 5’9″ and 160lbs which is on the smaller side for the NHL. This can be a challenge for Pelletier if he is going to graduate from the AHL and join the big league, however we have seen the Flames not be shy to select smaller players in the draft countless times. Names like Johnny Gaudreau, Andrew Mangiapane, Matthew Phillips, Jack Beck, and Rory Kerins are all some smaller players that the Flames have selected. Gaudreau and Mangiapane have shown what they can do in the NHL, and with Pelletier’s work ethic and skill on the ice, his size might not be something to be too concerned about.
Pelletier’s on-ice results
|2020–21||Val D’Or Foreurs||28||13||30||43||20||25|
It is very clear that Pelletier is very comfortable putting up points in any league he is in. Being able to be near a point per game pace in his rookie season just reinforces that. It is clear that Pelletier has the ability to both set up players for goals, but also shoot the puck himself. With top line minutes, Pelletier has proven to be a reliable forward who will produce and be a leader for which ever team he is on.
Due to his phenomenal rookie campaign in the AHL, Pelletier was named to the AHL all-rookie team, and he was definitely looked at by many to be in the running to be rookie of the year as well.
No matter where Pelletier has played, including in the world juniors, he has shown time and time again that he can contribute with his offensive skills, defensive responsibility, work ethic, and leadership qualities.
This is a man you want on your team.
Pelletier’s next steps
There is no doubt Pelletier has his eyes set on making the Flames roster next year. Flames fans also have been calling for him to be on the roster ever since last year. He has shown that he has the skill to contend for a roster spot, and Brad Treliving back in February stated in an interview on the Fan 960 that Pelletier “has earned an opportunity” to be on the Flames roster.
Additionally, the Flames have many big name free agents to re-sign. In order to do that, the team would need players who are on league minimum deals to serve in their bottom-six to keep them cap compliant. Can Pelletier fill that role next season? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, don’t be surprised if he makes the roster and makes an immediate impact to become an NHL regular as soon as next year.