The Draft Board: Jared Cowen

A face only a mother could love but a game that fans could grow to adore.

In preparation for the NHL Draft, we're going to run down the top 15 players as ranked by the ISS and have our users vote for how good they think each player will become to help us prepare our draft board. It's not often that real work stands in the way of our posting but the past two days didn't give much time to writing for either one of us. However, today we'll make up for lost time. First up, I'm back the ISS #7, Jared Cowen.

Any discussion about drafting Jared Cowen begins and ends with one topic: the knee injury that ended his season. Cowen fell from his earlier ISS ranking of # 3 because of the injury and teams are of course leery of using a high first round pick. He did an interview with Hockey's Future in which he addresses the injury.  

As a huge fan of Nik Antropov and Tom Brady I am quite familiar with knee injuries. After Antropov had both knees bionically repaired they held up for the rest of his time in Toronto. Sure you gasped every time he fell and got up slowly and he wasn't the future of the franchise. And all accounts point to Tom Brady's knee being stronger than ever. As Chemmy frequently notes, this is a kid that was above Evander Kane and Matt Duchene last year (although his ranking fell to 7th mid-season he was ranked 4th prior to the injury) and knee surgery is extremely specialised now. Why was Cowen ranked # 3? He helped lead the Spokane Chiefs to the Memorial Cup last year (ask wrap about it!) and he has a tantalizing skillset:

Cowen is huge by junior standards and has become comfortable with imposing his size on opponents. Mobile for a player of his size, he is capable of contributing more offensively. His reach and strength enable him to dominate opponents physically in junior hockey. Spokane Chiefs management continues to marvel at Cowen’s commitment and work ethic.

If you're looking for more omens pointing towards Cowen being destined to pair with Our Luke and Saviour for the next 15 years look no further than his birthplace: Allan, Saskatchewan. The Leafs have done pretty well drafting defencemen from the mythical kingdom of Saskatchewan.

GP G A PTS PIM
Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

122

11

30

41

109

It is definitely a risk, no matter what you think about surgical techniques, to take a player that has had such major knee surgery. While the tools seem to be there it's clear that the teams that interviewed him were concerned. He is only halfway through his rehab and might not even be ready for the Juniors' camp in August. There would be no question that he would be spending the next year in Spokane. Listening to him speak, however, you get the sense that work ethic won't be the thing that holds his rehabilitation back. He comes as across as mature and well spoken and well suited to bouncing back. I just don't know if I can handle the stress.

Wrap Around Curl's Hometown Thoughts:

PPP was kind enough to let me toss in my take on Cow Cow. I know everyone is freaking about his knee injury but the kid is tough. Really. I am fairly certain this is the only time he has been injured as a Chief. What I love about Cowen is you always know when its his shift. I know he is rather large and hard to miss but he makes his presence known. His defensive partner was Jared Spurgeon (5'9, 170lbs.) and they were the wrecking crew and the go to shut down boys on the penalty kill. Oh and Cowen is fiercly protective of goalies. I think I have only see him fight once but that was when someone decided to plow into Dustin Tokarski. I've never seen someone drop gloves that fast. It was over in about 30 seconds but Cowen devastated the player who decided to mess with his goalie.

Cow Cow also brings leadership to the team which became clear once he was injured and then the Chiefs had the Great Injury/Suspension Meltdown of 2009. I'd see Cowen at game sitting either in the press box or down in the seats but he cared about the game taking place. There were times I'd see him in utter agony over the game taking place while the other healthy scratches or injured messed with their cell phones and talked to their girlfriends during intermission.

Jared is a wonderful player and I think he'd pair fantastically with Luke Schenn. He has a great attitude and solid work ethic who would jump into any sweater with enthusiasm. Also one time in an interview he got excited about his mom's cookies and it was adorable.

So PPPers, have at it. How good of an NHLer will Jared Cowen become? Defend your vote in the comments

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