2021-22 Team: Chicago Steel (USHL)
Date of Birth: May 6, 2004
Place of Birth: Gilbert, AZ, USA
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 161 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings: 54th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 87th
- Peter Baracchini’s May Rankings: 90th
- Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: Honorable mention
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 87th
- Recruit Scouting: 65th
Jake Livanavage finished the 2021-22 season with three goals and 42 assists in 61 regular-season games for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL). The smooth-skating defenseman blossomed down the stretch and quickly caught the attention of professional scouts. He rose 36 spots on the NHL Central Scouting list for North American skaters during the season.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Because he is currently a high-school junior, Livanavage will play one more season in the USHL before beginning his NCAA career at the University of North Dakota in the fall of 2023. He spoke about the tradition of success at UND and how the lure of playing in a winning environment factored into his decision to commit.
“I obviously want to win like every other player in this game, and I feel like the past and what they’ve been is unbelievable and how they always win. They continue to win no matter what. The coaches have coached at every level like I said, so they know what it takes to win and what it takes to get you to the next level,” he told The Rink Live in February.
The Fighting Hawks have won eight National Championships in their history. Notable alumni Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise, and T.J. Oshie have gone on from the program to successful careers in the NHL. Former head coach Dave Hakstol now occupies the same position for the Seattle Kraken after making the leap to the professional ranks with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2015. The experience against the highest level of competition the NCAA has to offer will be advantageous to Livanavage in his pursuit of a career in the NHL.
Livanavage made his fair share of pretty passing plays for Chicago in 2021-22. His work as a distributor in the offensive zone, especially on the power play, made him stand out as a defenseman with the potential to quarterback an offense from the back end. The premium price on puck-moving defensemen in the NHL will help his draft stock in Montreal in July.
The Arizona native first wore roller blades around the time he could walk, and he has worked most of his life with skating coach Boris Dorozhenko of Be Awesome Hockey. The development of his skating stride and hip movement became a major strength of his skill set as a mobile defenseman. Although the allure of his offense will be the main attraction for NHL teams, Livanavage has also worked to develop his all-around game to prepare for the highest levels of competition that he will face in his future.
He also competed for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August 2021 in a “coming-out party of sorts” according to Sports 360 AZ. He scored two goals and added two assists in four games as “a major bright spot for the Americans” despite disappointing results for the team.
Livanavage is the half-brother of Johnny Walker, the all-time leading scorer in Arizona State University hockey history. He wears the number seven as an homage to his older brother, who he credits with helping him to develop a love for the game of hockey.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jake Livanavage- NHL Draft Projection
Livanavage will likely come off the board during the third or fourth round in July. His offensive upside is enough to attract teams with a priority for puck-moving defensemen in the modern NHL landscape. As a high-school junior with another full season left before he even begins his NCAA career, teams will be confident that his size and strength can develop by the time he reaches the NHL.
“Although his performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup was a coming-out party of sorts for Livanavage, it may only be scratching the surface of what he can accomplish as a player. His offensive skill set is one that cannot be developed through coaching, and at just 17 years of age, there is still plenty of room for him to blossom into an even more dominant force than he currently is.” –Evan Oscherwitz, Sports 360 AZ
“I like to model my game after Jared Spurgeon as an undersized D man. I think he brings a lot of compete; he plays very well on both sides of the puck and excels on the power play.” –Jake Livanavage via Jesse Courville-Lynch (FanSided)
- Skating stride, overall skating ability
- Puck distribution from the point (especially on the power play)
- Significant statistical improvement from first year in USHL to second year
- Continued development of defensive game
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Size and strength (maturity)
- All-around defensive game
Livanavage compared himself to Spurgeon, who has played 833 regular-season and playoff games over 12 NHL seasons. Emulating the style of the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Minnesota Wild captain would help him reach his highest potential at the NHL level. If he can’t develop his all-around game as well as Spurgeon, he might still have a useful role as a power-play specialist who doesn’t shoulder as much defensive responsibility as his teammates. Shayne Gostisbehere has made a career out of making highlight-reel offensive plays, especially as a power-play quarterback, without ever becoming a stingy defender in his own zone.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk 4/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 9/10, Defense 5/10
Livanavage helped the Steel to the Clark Cup as USHL champions during his rookie season in 2020-21. He competed as a member of Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2021.
- Jake Livanavage: Prospect Profile
- Tip Of The Iceberg: Strong Showing At Hlinka Gretzky Cup Only The Beginning For Jake Livanavage
- Draft Profile: Q&A with Jake Livanavage
Jake Livanavage Statistics
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.