If a dynamic offensive forward is what the Montreal Canadiens are looking for, then Seth Jarvis would be an excellent choice for their first-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft. Although he is relatively small in size, he makes up for it with his high levels of scoring ability and hockey sense. It’s possible he will be selected before the Habs virtually step up to the draft podium, but other NHL teams may be concerned about his size which would allow Jarvis to drop to Montreal much like what happened to Cole Caufield last year.
Weight: 175 pounds
CSB (North American): 11
Elite Prospects: 13
McKeen’s Hockey: 12
Hockey Prospectus: 9
Future Considerations: 11
The Hockey News: 16
TSN (Button): 29
TSN (McKenzie): 18
The Athletic (Pronman): 13
There’s a lot to like in Seth’s game. His skating level is excellent – probably in the top ten of this draft. What’s even better is the acceleration from his first few strides, which is easily in the top three of this draft class. To add to his toolbox, his hockey sense is excellent, and he’s nearly as good at scoring goals as he is at setting them up.
Jarvis started the season well at just over a point per game pace. After the Christmas break, his game really took off. He was managing a 2.4 point per game scoring rate before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the hockey season. His 98 points made him the top scorer on his Portland Winterhawks team, 28 points ahead of his nearest teammate. He also ranked second in the WHL scoring race.
As a junior player, Jarvis has been both a centre and a right winger. As a centre, his playmaking ability helps him succeed at that position. His defensive game is solid since his peripheral vision and quick mind help him anticipate plays from the opposition and neutralize them. This has made him a valuable member of his team’s penalty killing squad, where he often gets the first assignment to start against the other team’s power play. However, he did not take many faceoffs and when he did, his winning percentage was relatively low. When it comes to his play as a winger, when he chooses to focus on scoring he’s a deadly threat. His 42 goals gave him the third-highest total in the league. Seth has an excellent wrist shot and is very accurate. He’s also a very deceptive shooter and is creative in choosing his angles and release points to bring deception against the goalie.
There really are no serious weaknesses in Seth’s game. If he was two or more inches taller, he would likely be talked about among the top ten or top five selections. It’s still uncertain which position Jarvis will become as a pro player. His size may dictate he eventually end up as a winger, but he may also become a versatile forward who plays centre when the need arises or a lack of depth allows him that opportunity.
I expect Jarvis to follow a similar path as Cole Caufield, and not be rushed to the NHL. He may not grow very much, but if he stays in juniors for the next two seasons, he will gain strength and can spend time fine-tuning his game to be better ready for the pros. For example, in five-on-five situations, Seth could put a little more effort and consistency into defence when it’s warranted. That is something which comes with maturity and focused coaching. It’s likely he will be two or three seasons away from being ready for that next step. He should easily become a top-six forward on whatever team drafts him, but his defensive game on the penalty kill could allow him to jump into a bottom-six role sooner than later to help get him into the pros.