Jacob Bernard-Docker is a kid used to two things: success, and point-getting.
Bernard-Docker is a 6’1, 186-pound defender who helped the Okotoks Oilers lead the AJHL South Division, where he and his team only experienced 6 losses in the regular season. Total.
He did this by being a strong skater with a low center of gravity that makes him hard to knock off the puck, reading plays before they happen in order to build on his own team’s work and to snuff out opposing teams opportunities, an impressive “Hockey-IQ” to compliment his play-reading, and with a tricky, low-riser of a shot that seems to keep taking players off guard.
It was his hockey smarts that impressed Okotoks’ president and former scout Brad Robson the most, as he told the Calgary Sun:
“...And then he has such composure and high hockey IQ. He’s a very smart hockey player. He reads the play so well. It seems like when the game is in progress, Jacob seems to be about five seconds ahead of the play with his anticipation and vision.” -Brad Robson, President of the Okotoks Oilers
And he’ll only be improving his smarts, as he’s committed to playing for the University of North Dakota this fall.
But like any 2nd round player, there’s always a work in progress element to him, and first and foremost is that as an offense-first defender, he is still working on his defensive positioning, as he can get caught over committing on plays and pinching at inopportune moments. Another that plagued him throughout the year was size, in that he was pretty easy to knock off the puck for most of the year, but by the combine he’d put on 15 pounds. He’s still gonna need to put on some weight in order to survive the grueling NCHC schedule, but this is where things like time and proper coaching can help him.
Bernard-Docker is in that complex array of players projected to go anywhere from the middle of the 2nd to the top of the 3rd with almost no inbetween on any of it. He’ll be a work-in-progress for at least a couple of years while he gains experience in one of the toughest conferences in college hockey. Drafting him comes with the fact that he has a lot of the best stuff in a hockey player already built in, it’s just installing the last few crucial elements of a mobile defender’s game through experience and through coaching that teams will have to come to terms with. Given the nebulous nature of where he “should” be drafted, it’s up to Don Sweeney to decide if he’s got what it takes to make the B’s faster and scarier to defend.
33rd by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters
25th by ISSHockey
32nd by FutureConsiderations.com
Jacob Bernard-Docker Statline
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