Having just completed (along with @icEzra) a lengthy breakdown of all the Jets prospects, the one guy I kept coming back to with interest was John Albert. Recently signed by the Jets out of Ohio State, this college centre appears to have many solid hockey attributes bubbling under the surface. Of all the second-tier prospects in the system, I am far and away most excited about Albert.
A self-described goal scorer (his numbers indicate a propensity to pass first) Albert models his game after Martin St. Louis. Taking the US National Team Development Program (based in Ann Arbor, MI) route to Ohio State (Columbus, OH), Albert is part of an ever-growing crop of Ohioans making their way through the hockey ranks. A solid if not spectacular performer at USNTDP, Albert went on to a very solid career at Ohio State, totally 33-91-124 in 159 games. The former Buckeye captain also brings a lot of intangibles to the table, including hockey smarts, penalty killing ability and a good track record in the faceoff circle.
More on Albert after the jump.
Scouts were initially attracted to Albert because of his solid production in Ann Arbor and his excellent track record of putting up points against NCAA teams (The US Development Program plays exhibition games against college programs). Albert’s time at Ohio State allowed him the chance to develop the aforementioned finer points of his game, and in a discussion with Illegal Curve Twitter follower @tbonnar, we concluded that Albert may translate into a Shawn Horcoff-lite type of player (without the massive contract). They possess many of the same attributes (faceoff skills, penalty killing acumen, speed, defensive awareness and above-average offensive skills).
Standing 5’10 and weighing 180 pounds, Albert will have to work on strength and conditioning at the AHL level, but he seems determined enough so that this would not be an issue. As noted by @tbonnar, at the very worst the Jets have a solid AHL centre. It’s my belief that Albert will find his way to the NHL in a lower-6 capacity and figure into the penalty killing equation within a season or two. I truly believe that the Jets need players like Albert to succeed long term, and it’s tough to discount smart players with speed, skill and hockey sense.
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