2021-22 Team: London Knights (OHL)
Date of Birth: February 27, 2004
Place of Birth: Newmarket, ON, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-2, Wt: 194 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 123rd (amongst NA skaters)
It was an exciting day for Jackson Edward and his family when he was selected by the London Knights 22nd overall in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection. The prestigious team which boasts many NHL alumni throughout its history was going to be his home for at least the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas as it forced the OHL to close its doors for the entire campaign. As a result, Edward did not suit up to play any sort of organized hockey until the 2021-22 season began on Oct. 8, 2021, against the Owen Sound Attack.
Related: THW’s 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Coming off a 2019-20 season where he had 12 goals and 30 points in 33 games playing for the York Simcoe Express U16 AAA team, Edward was selected by the Knights for his mobility, size and ability to walk the line in the offensive zone. However, instead of showcasing those skills in London for the Knights and their fans, he was on the move between Ontario and British Columbia, hoping and praying that a season would finally begin. Which, as he soon found out, wasn’t meant to be. Ultimately, the only game action he saw during the 2020-21 season was in scrimmages with the Nationals against Komoka and practices with the Victoria Grizzlies in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
When it became clear that a season wasn’t going to happen, Edward got to work training for the 2021-22 season in hopes that he would avoid a step back in his development going into his draft year. To help make that happen, he spent the summer with Peter Renzetti, a fitness guru who previously worked with former Saginaw Spirit standout Cole Perfetti, who is now a top prospect for the Winnipeg Jets. He also spent countless hours with defence coach Dylan Hunter to further refine his game for the increased competition in the OHL.
“I feel like I’ve improved twice as much…The coaches, especially (D coach) Dylan Hunter, have been working with me like crazy. I’m hoping it will be a breakout year like all of our ’04 (born) players in our NHL draft year” (from ‘London Knights rookie defenceman chased puck dreams near and far’, London Free Press, 9/24/21).
Fast forward to the end of the season, and Edward didn’t have the breakout year he was hoping for as he recorded only six assists in 54 games and was a minus-9 in the plus/minus column. However, stats don’t tell the whole story, as he still displayed several tools that could one day translate to the NHL game. Those being his size, mobility, and hockey IQ. He also isn’t afraid to drive to the net, even though he’s a defenceman. In the end, those attributes might be enough to entice scouts to recommend him to their general managers (GM) as a late-round selection.
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Jackson Edward – NHL Draft Projection
Currently unranked by all the major outlets, except for NHL Central Scouting at 123rd among North American skaters, Edward won’t likely be hearing his name until the sixth or seventh round, if at all. Having said that, the modern NHL can always use another 6-foot-2 mobile two-way defenceman in its ranks. Unfortunately for him, the missed 2020-21 season and only 61 games in 2021-22 (54 in the regular season and seven in the playoffs) might be too small of a sample size to impress scouts and GMs enough to warrant a selection even in the seventh round. The more likely scenario will be another year in London to prepare for his second year of eligibility at the 2023 Draft where the competition will be even more fierce to be selected.
“Edward is a big blueliner with an ideal frame that he continues to grow into. He is an extremely raw prospect, but the flashes of high-end skill leave you wanting more. He skates really well for his size, which pairs along with some pretty nifty and shifty hands that he likes to showcase on the rush.” – Josh Thomas, FC Hockey
“Edward is a patient defenseman who often shows strong effort when playing in the offensive zone. He does very well to stay in front of his opponents when on the backcheck and take their possession either physically or with a well-timed stickcheck. When playing in the offensive zone, he drives the net front very often and is able to have chances at tipping in a shot and blocking the goalie’s view of the play. On the defensive end, Edward does well blocking the shooting lanes, and challenging his opponents and pinning them against the boards when digging in the corners.” – Olivia McArter, FC Hockey (from ‘23854 – Kitchener vs. London Game Report’, FC Hockey, 5/9/22)
“Edward has good size at 6’2” and very good mobility. He’s able to retrieve pucks and has the ability to start the transition to offense. He has shown he can be strong defensively and make the right decisions. He has the ability to keep gaps close with his mobility and reach, keep players to the outside, take away lanes and be positionally sound. However, there is a lack of consistency to all those. While he has shown the abilities, they just don’t happen on a consistent enough basis.” – Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
“He’s a big six-foot, two-inch defenceman who skates very well…He can transport the puck out of his own end…and has a good combination of offence and defence to his game.” – Rob Simpson, London Knights associate general manager
- Hockey IQ
- Battle level
- Accurate shot
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Backward skating
- Needs more time and experience in the OHL
Right now, it’s difficult to project Edward as an NHL defenceman, mostly because of his lack of experience at the junior level. He might turn into a good bottom-pairing guy in the NHL, be a journeyman in the American Hockey League (AHL) or never make it to the pro level at all. We just don’t know at this point. In normal circumstances, scouts and pundits would have at least two seasons of work to evaluate his game. As it is, they only have 61 games, which is tough to make any judgements one way or the other. He does have some translatable tools, but maybe not refined enough to foresee any sort of NHL future right now.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 5/10, Defence – 5/10
Edward was invited to the 2022 NHL Draft Scouting Combine in Buffalo where he finished ninth in the “Musculoskeletal: Bench Press Power watts/kg 8 or more” fitness test with an 8.03 rating.
Jackson Edward Statistics
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Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.
Matthew also co-hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube.