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2015 NHL Draft: Jansen Harkins profile and scouting report

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Jansen Harkins is one of the 2015 NHL Draft's top two-way centres and he might be available with the 24th selection in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

Rumour has it the Vancouver Canucks, selecting 23rd overall, really like North Vancouver native Jansen Harkins in this year's draft.

Not only did the Canucks interview Harkins at the NHL Scouting Combine but they were regularly seen to have staff scouting him in Prince George, including general manager Jim Benning.

If he isn't selected prior to the Leafs slot one pick later though, he'll become an interesting candidate for Toronto's second first round pick.

Harkins, known primarily as one of the 2015 NHL Draft's best passers, is fresh off a 59 assist campaign, good enough for sixth in the WHL and second among draft-eligible forwards, behind only Kelowna Rockets centre Nick Merkley's 70 helpers.

Playing with relatively low-end linemates by WHL standards in Prince George, Harkins posted 79 points in 70 games, 10 more than his closest teammate, overaged Chase Witala, while facing top checkers and defenders all season.

Harkins is more than a pass-only complimentary centre though. Driven without the puck (rarer than you think at the junior level), Harkins is among the 2015 class' better two way players despite lacking an explosiveness to his stride that's consistent in some of the rest of the drafts top forwards.

Harkins is still a strong skater once he gets going, but needs to add a quick first few strides to his arsenal as he develops.

And while he's got a big 6-1 frame, he has yet to fill it out and needs to continue to add strength. Not a physical player, Harkins' knack with and without the puck is what separates him from the pack on the ice.

Relied on heavily by head coach Mark Holick in all situations, Harkins played big minutes, including top penalty kill time.

Strong at even strength, Harkins finished first among draft eligible WHL forwards with 52 even strength points, three more than Portland's Paul Bittner and six more than Merkley.

Relatively young, with a May birthday, Harkins' age adjusted points per game (aaPPG) also ranked among the WHL's best (third) at 1.07, behind only top-10 pick Mathew Barzal and Merkley.

Beyond his prowess as a puck retriever and passer, Harkins is also adept at controlling and protecting the puck off the rush or on the cycle.

Possessing quick hands, Harkins is able to make plays in tight at full speed.

Notice how he kicks the puck off his skate and takes it from his forehand to his backhand in one motion off the rush.

Concerning for some, Harkins' play cooled off down the stretch, with just five points in 11 games in March and two points in the team's final three playoff games in June, leading to a dip in his ranking that was only helped by a strong U18 performance internationally with Team Canada.

Still, on his body of work and translatable NHL tools, Harkins is among the class' best two-way pivots and projects comfortably as a middle-six centre at the next level if he can continue to grow.

Note: PPP's Tanya Rezak (Achariya) will be attending the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida. Follow her on Twitter @tanyarezak for in-arena updates on Friday and Saturday.