2016-17 Team: Charlottetown Islanders (#15)
Date of Birth: Jul. 1, 1999
Place of Birth: Chambly, QC
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 160 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW Alternate Rankings: 48th Final)
- Future Considerations: 54th (Spring)
- Bob McKenzie: 36th (January)
- Craig Button: 17th (March)
- Jeff Marek: 39th (March)
Pierre-Olivier Joseph is the third-ranked player coming out of the QMJHL ahead of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Trailing only Nico Hischier and Maxime Comtois, Joseph is looking to be one of the first players from the Quebec league taken in June. A mobile defender, Joseph has become one of the more interesting names to watch during the draft process as there is very little consensus on where he will end up being picked.
As seen in the rankings above, Joseph ranged from the mid-first round all the way down to the late second-round. It’s a steep drop off from the best-case scenario to the seemingly worst-case scenario for Joseph, but that makes this year’s draft all the more interesting. When it comes down to it, Joseph looks like he’ll be more of a mobile, shutdown defender than an offensive threat at the next level, though he does have very good vision and he is adept to joining the rush and manning the point at the junior level.
Given his 6-foot frame, Joseph certainly has room to grow from his current 160-pound classification. A solid skater with a good first step who can move well skating forwards and backward, it’s Joseph’s ability to use his body to fend off opposing players in the NHL that might cause team’s concern in their scouting process. That, as well as his shot needing work. Once muscle mass is gained, Joseph could become a draft steal if he does fall down the draft board.
NHL Draft Projection
It’s hard to say where Joseph will be picked in the NHL. Projecting as a top-four shutdown defender with underlying offensive instinct, Joseph could see himself taken in the first round by a team looking for a project. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Joseph taken in the late first-round or somewhere in the mid-second round, ranging from pick 20 to pick 50. While he probably won’t make the NHL right away, Joseph has the ability to be a core piece on a team’s blueline once he develops into a more well-rounded defender and gains some size. His increase in offense from year one to year two was noticeable, jumping from one goal and eight points in 48 games to six goals and 39 points in 62 games. With time to improve, Joseph could make a team very happy should he slide to them in the second round.
“Intriguing prospect. Wears ‘A’. Big mobile defender, no fun to play against. Plays a two-way game, but looks like he will develop into more of a shutdown physical defensive defender at next level.” – ISS
- Puck handling
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Weight needed to fill his frame
- Offensive output
Joseph will need to work on gaining weight and refining his game if he wants to make an impact at the NHL level. His high offensive upside bode for his chances at succeeding, but he’ll need to add to his frame if he wants to last through the rigorous NHL schedule. His elite-level speed, skating and ability to make plays offensively, defensively and in the faceoff circle make him a strong candidate to become a dynamic top-six playmaking center.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence –4.5/10, Defence – 6.5/10
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.