2020-21 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Date of Birth: July 4, 2003
Place of Birth: Alliston, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 205
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible
Jacob Holmes is another player from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) who didn’t get to play in 2020-21, as the OHL cancelled its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently-turned 18-year-old only has a small sample size, as he’s played just one year in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Holmes was selected 18th overall in the 2019 OHL Priority selection, and was the second-youngest player on the Greyhounds during his rookie year, being 16 years old. The higher-producing defensemen were all older, and some were already NHL draft picks, thus giving them more opportunity and higher priority.
Holmes only scored three goals and nine points, while being a plus-9 and racking up just 12 penalty minutes in 57 games during the 2019-20 season. The offensive output left more to be desired, as the Greyhounds scored at a decent clip, averaging 3.94 goals per game, despite their sub-.500 record.
An interesting thing to note is that Holmes scored a goal and five points on the power play, which accounted for more than half his offensive production. In addition, he fired 58 shots on goal in those 57 games. While 58 shots isn’t a lot relative to the other defenseman on his team, it shows that, despite being a 16-year-old rookie, he wasn’t afraid to make plays offensively.
He also played for the Canada Red team at the 2019-20 U17 World Hockey Challenge and put up an assist and two penalty minutes in five games during the tournament.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jacob Holmes – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Holmes was ranked as a C-prospect on the NHL Central Scouting 20-21 Preliminary Players To Watch List. A C-ranked prospect is projected to be drafted in the fourth, fifth or sixth rounds. While the lack of offensive production certainly impacted his ranking, if you add the context of his rookie year, he has higher potential than his ranking implies.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Justified or not, his lack of a sophomore season is going to hurt his draft stock. While he didn’t play anywhere during the 2020-21 season, Holmes worked on getting stronger and faster. He has a high upside and is looking to see a lot more ice this upcoming season for the Greyhounds.
A bigger defenseman who can skate and get involved offensively, while maintaining defensive responsibility, isn’t something to overlook if you’re a scout or general manager. Look for him to go as early as the fourth round, but don’t be surprised if he drops down to the fifth.
- Two-way play
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Puck skills
Holmes could turn into a bottom-pair, depth defenseman on a contending team, or potentially a No. 4 defenseman on a decent team that may not be at its full potential yet. He’d get there by continuing his two-way play and seeing his offense develop into somewhere around the 20-30 point range. Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin would be a decent comparison.
Brodin has a similar build – 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, and plays a similar two-way game to Holmes. Brodin averages first-pair minutes and sees time on both the penalty kill and power play, and while Holmes may not be looking at first-pair minutes, the special teams shifts are what he could strive towards as he looks to round out his game over the upcoming seasons.
Brodin has blocked over 100 shots six times in his nine NHL seasons and has never scored more than 28 points in a season. Expect a bit more production out of Holmes, and if his defensive ability can emulate Brodin’s, he’d be a strong piece to an NHL defensive corps.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.