Jaynen Rissling – The Next Ones: NHL 2012 Draft Prospect Profile – Big Defenseman with Big Upside

Jaynen Rissling THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: Sept. 21/93
Place of birth:Edmonton, AB
Ht:6’4  Wt: 222
Shoots: Left
Position: Defense
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2012

Please Click Here for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in the “Live Updated” THW’s NHL 2012 Entry Draft Guide – The Next Ones home page.
Jaynen Rissling











Jaynen Rissling has a relatively big upside.  Take the fact that he was a 7th round WHL draftpick and is now poised to potentially crack the second round in the 2012 NHL draft.  Jaynen was fortunate to get drafted by the Calgary Hitmen who in his second year weren’t very deep at the position.  Since then he is getting decent minutes and making the most of it.

Jaynen might be considered a defensive D-man though he is very confident with the puck and is a good passer with a decent shot.  Around the net Jaynen  uses a good stick and constant physical pressure to make it really difficult for opposing forwards.  He isn’t a big open-ice hitter but plays a physical game and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves as well.   He always seems to anticipate the play at both ends and sees the ice well.

The knock on Jaynen is his skating.  He is a big lumbering skater as can be expected at his age and size, though he might be below where he should be in this aspect of the game.  He is decent laterally but his lack of speed hurts him defending through the nuetral zone and against the rush.  He sometimes compounds this problem by trying to make plays on the puck one-on-one instead of taking the body which is where his strength lies.  I’ve seen him mentally compensate for this tendency and correct himself mid-game which is a good sign that he is aware out there.

The thing that makes Jaynen an enticing prospect is his play in the offensive zone.  You can see him thinking the game on the blue line, looking for chances to pinch, getting in position for shots and doing it all safely and within the flow of the game.  He is good with the puck on his stick and creates opportunities for teammates as well as himself.  His skating hurts him in this area and limits his options but once it catches up to his hockey sense he is going to surprise people offensively.

Scout’s Honour:

“The only flaw in his current game is overall foot speed. He’s a big guy and his skating has taken a step back this year. He seemed to have grown and added weight this past summer and his skating suffered. He looked a step slower than he did as a 16 year old.  I love the frame, love his ability to pass the puck and he reads the play very well. I’m sure his skating will come around.  I see big value here. If he goes outside of the top 90, some team is going to get a great pick.”

– Cody Nickolet, Future Considerations http://whl-from-above.blogspot.com




ETA = 3 years+

Risk-Reward Analysis:
Risk = 1/5   Reward = 4/5

NHL Potential:
Solid 2way defenseman


*See “THW Close-Up” section above.

  • Good hockey sense
  • Big frame, uses size well
  • Good passing
  • Hard shot
  • Calm with the puck

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Continue to train to increase strength and add mass to frame.
  • Needs to devote a lot of attention to inproving his skating.
  • Needs to be more physical in the open ice and the offensive zone.

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive = 6/10   Defensive = 8.5/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

– Potentially a smarter Andy Sutton.  A big Dman who can play the shut down role and add a big physical presence but pinches in and has offensive spurts.

Off The Iron (Interesting Notes):

  • Won the WHL championship and went to the memorial cup as a 16 year old 7th round pick in his first WHL season.
  • Learned to skate from his Grandma who was a figure skater.


  • THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph