With the eighth selection of the 2020 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres have selected Jack Quinn from Ottawa 67’s of the OHL.
While the focus for scouts and fans when watching the Ottawa 67’s was led by Marco Rossi, right winger Jack Quinn commanded attention as well. The Cobden, Ontario native finished second in the entire league in goals, racking up 52 to go along with 37 assists for 89 points in 62 games.
The sniper made himself known as one of the better goal scorers in the league, leading some analysts out there to question whether is was Rossi or Quinn who is the best prospect to come out of the excellent 67’s program. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound forward is one of the older players in this class, just five days away from being eligible from the 2019 NHL Draft, and could be closer to the NHL than most.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Coming in as a near consensus top-20 pick for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, Ottawa 67’s right winger Jack Quinn is the definition of a late riser. In fact, the 6-foot sniper wasn’t even included in Larry Fisher’s Top 124 Preseason Rankings released last August, and by November was still projected as just a third-rounder. It’s hard to believe that with 52 goals and 89 points through 62 games in the Ontario Hockey League this season that Quinn could have flown under the radar for so long, but that’s part of what makes his story so special.
“The role of the underdog is nothing new for Quinn, who couldn’t quite crack AAA hockey growing up. He primarily played AA hockey for the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces, until his 15-year-old season and OHL draft year, where he finally made the AAA Kanata Lasers. From there, Quinn worked his way up the team’s line up, finishing the season with 52 points in 45 games. It was enough to get the attention of the local OHL team, the 67’s, who drafted Quinn at 39th overall. But instead of joining the club immediately, his dreams suffered another setback as he was sent down to the Jr. A Kanata Lasers, where he had to prove himself once again. He played the entire season with the Lasers, racking up 46 points in 49 games while earning CCHL Rookie of the Year honors.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft guide
“The following year Quinn made his full-time debut with the 67’s, tallying 32 points in 61 games as a depth forward. Fast-forward to the 2019-20 season, and his 52 goals were good enough for second in the league, behind only Toronto Maple Leafs’ draft pick Nicholas Robertson. So, what’s been the key for Quinn and his seemingly astronomical progression?
“I never worked out or anything,” he told Scott Wheeler of the Athletic. “I never trained until my 15 or 16-year-old year.” (from: “Wheeler: Midseason ranking for the 2020 NHL Draft’s top 62 prospects” – The Athletic – Feb. 19, 2020)
“Quinn always had the talent, but it was his slight build and lack of power that held him back. Once he began working with trainer Tony Greco, who also trains Philadelphia Flyers Captain Claude Giroux, Quinn was able to bring up his fitness to match his on-ice ability. It sounds cliché, but it’s that tireless work ethic on and off the ice that has allowed the young prospect to shoot up the draft rankings so quickly.
“With nearly a goal per game this season, it goes without saying that Quinn can really shoot the puck. In a recent OHL coaches poll, he finished third in Eastern Conference voting for both “most dangerous in goal area” and “best shot,” beat out by the aforementioned Robertson plus Hamilton Bulldogs sharpshooter Arthur Kaliyev.
“Quinn is much more than just a shooter, though. He also possesses an excellent set of hands, high IQ on both sides of the puck, and has turned his once lackluster skating into a strength. He’s a threat every time he has the puck, isn’t afraid of getting to the dirty areas around the net, and is a better playmaker than his stats might suggest.
“The one drawback against Quinn, if you can even call it that, is his late birthday. Born on Sept. 19, he was just four days from qualifying for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Put another way, he is basically the oldest first-year eligible player at this upcoming draft. A [cynical] scout could argue that the extra few months of development have given the 67’s star an unfair advantage over his peers, although I wouldn’t personally hold that against Quinn. Considering his talent and drive to improve from year to year, there should be little doubt about his ability to translate his game at higher levels moving forward.”
How This Affects the Sabres Plans
With the Sabres landing Dylan Cozens last year, they turned their attention to filling out the wings in 2020 landing one of the best goal scorers in the draft. There will be some questions about leaving Marco Rossi on the board, but fans will love Quinn once he hits the NHL.
The Sabres prospect pool is pretty light after recent graduations and trades, so Quinn should come in as the second-best right behind Cozens. While fans will likely be upset with this pick to start, eventually seeing Jack Eichel or Cozens feeding Quinn to score goals by the buckets should ease that pain. He could be one of the more NHL-read prospect in the draft and it might not be long before we see him with the Sabres.
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Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.