The Devils are a team likely to be looking for forwards in the early rounds when the 2014 NHL Draft rolls around, but that by no means guarantees that they won't look at a defenseman with one of their first couple picks if they feel he is clearly on the board. Jack Glover is among the defensemen who are projected to go somewhere in the second round range so he could be on the Devils' radar if he's still on the board at pick #41.
Who is Jack Glover?
Glover is a defenseman coming out of the US National Team Development Program who will be moving on to the college ranks next season after spending a couple seasons in the USNTDP. Glover has committed to the University of Minnesota, where he will begin his freshman year in 2014. Glover has a big frame at 6'-3" and his weight is listed at 192 lbs, so while a little slim, he has some size to him, which never hurts. While big, he is touted as a very strong, fluid skater who can handle the puck pretty well. He is not a big goal-scorer from the blue line, but he does seem to pick up his share of assists with his teams.
Glover has produced fairly well for the US junior national teams, chipping in roughly a half-point per game this past season with the U-18 team. Those 28 points were good for second on the team among defensemen, though his meager 2 goals are less impressive. The big American isn't really touted for top-end offense, though, rather for his size, skating, and puck handling everywhere on the ice. He is supposedly strong with the puck on his stick and good at making passes in each zone. Some are concerned with his play in his own zone, saying his coverage isn't always the best, but he is apparently improving well in that category.
As far as where he is projected to go in the draft, the mid-second round is where many have him pegged. In the NHL's Central Scouting rankings, Glover is projected as the #38 North American Skater in the draft. Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus and ESPN has him at #49 overall in his rankings, noting that it's a little difficult to get a handle on what his ceiling is at this point. Over at TSN, Bob McKenzie had him at #44 in his January rankings. There are some indications that while Glover improved this season, he didn't take quite the step forward that many thought he might. This is reflected in the fact that Glover fell from #27 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings. Glover seems like a pretty solid prospect though, even if there are some aspects of his game which need more polishing.
What Others are Saying About Jack Glover
The opinions vary somewhat on Glover's potential, but most have him somewhere in the second round-range in their projections. First, his blurb from Elite Prospects:
Glover is an impressive two-way defenseman who has good overall mobility. He's always aware in all three zones and defends with a physical edge, using his frame to separate pucks and size to clear the crease. He moves the puck well and has a good outlet pass.
This is from August of 2013, so it's not quite up to date, but it showcases what scouts think Glover is capable of. He's an "all-around" type defenseman who is effective in all zones because he moves so well and has some good vision and passing ability. This is back from last year though, and Glover's stock has slipped just a little bit since then.
At Hockey Prospectus, they put together a list of American players to watch back in January. Writer Leslie Treff had this to say:
One of the top defensive prospects in the upcoming draft, Glover is expected to be more of a defensive blueliner than two-way in the pros. With good size and excellent vision on the ice, he is working on gap control and speed.
So while he was able to chip in on offense for the US National team, it does appear that some see him as more of a defensive guy when he gets to the pros. Most peg him as a very good skater, so the speed comment perhaps is more in reference to his top-end than being slow-footed, so to speak.
From our colleagues over at SBN College Hockey, where they are looking at many of the potential draftees who are headed to the NCAA, there is a pretty full look at the strengths and weaknesses of Glover's game by Chris Dilks. First the strengths:
[H]e's definitely got the size necessary to play in the NHL, and he's an excellent skater, so there are no concerns about his mobility. Glover might be one of the better pure athletes available in the draft. He's not an overly physical presence, preferring to use his skating ability to make plays than brute force.
And then the shortcomings:
For a player with his physical gifts, Glover just doesn't dominate games with his skating in the way one might hope. He's a very good defenseman that looks like he has the tools to be a great defenseman. There are also some concerns about his defensive play. He can get lost in his own zone at times, leaving forwards wide open, and is serviceable, but not great defending one-on-one rushes.
What to take from this is that Glover is a bit of a project in some ways, but certainly has the tools to make it to the NHL if he can refine his game a bit. The opinions seem to vary a bit on his defensive play, but there are at least some concerns out there for how aware he is in his own zone.
Over at The Hockey Writers, Shawn Reznik had this to say about Glover's game:
Glover is a smart player who knows when to jump in the rush or sit back and be in position to disrupt a play. He likes to use his body against the opposition to check along the boards and take the forwards out of the play. He moves the puck well in all three zones, which is why he produced well offensively this season with 28 points in 59 games. His reach is another key asset to his defensive game.
So you can kind of get the picture of what Glover looks to be at this point. He is a large frame (though he will need to bulk up to some extent) who can skate and move the puck well on the back end. He isn't necessarily a top-end offensive guy, but he can chip in at times and set people up with his passing. His defense is good, but could still use some polishing overall as he seems to be a bit less effective without the puck than with it.
A Little Video
Highlights for Glover are very limited, so there isn't too much to see/be wowed by here. Hockey's Future did do an interview with Glover at this year's U-18 Worlds:
Again, there's not much out there in terms of highlights (at least that I was able to find) but here's a video from Hockey Canada that talks about him a bit and shows some of his skating (jump to 1:28 for Glover):
And here's a video which I assume is of Glover in high school (made by "mpbahockey's channel"), so it's a little old. It doesn't show much other than a couple shots from him, but again, there's not much out there (jump to 0:28 for Glover).
An Opinion of Sorts
The opinions on Jack Glover do seem to vary a bit, with both his offensive and defensive games receiving varying levels of praise/criticism. The few things scouts seem to agree on are his size (duh), his strong skating and his passing abilities/vision. He appears to have at least something to contribute on offense with his passing, even if he may not do a whole lot of scoring from the back end. His defense seems like it could probably use a little work, but if he's a guy who can effectively corral pucks and skate/pass them out of the zone, he can be a valuable defenseman for a team if he just sharpens his coverage a little more.
All told, Glover kind of reminds me of Mark Fayne a little bit based on what I've read. Big dude, not overly physical and lacking some offensive touch, but a fluid skater and an effective passer/decision maker with the puck. If that's what he ends up being, then some team will have a very solid pick on their hands. The question is, if that is the ceiling for Glover, is he someone the Devils should be spending their 41st pick on? I'm not so sure. I feel like if you are selecting a defenseman with either of those first two picks, it needs to be somewhat of a home run. There are enough concerns with Glover's game that I think #41 may be just a little bit high to be taking him. If he were to somehow fall into the third round, I would be very pleased to take him there, but I'm not sure how much of a possibility that is. If New Jersey did take him at 41, I'd probably be okay with it, provided they took a forward with the 30th pick, but I feel like there will be other players left on the board at that point that I'd prefer.
What do you think about Jack Glover? How would you feel about the Devils taking him in the second round? Do you think there is any chance he slides into the third? How do you feel about his game overall, based on what you've read? Chime in below with your comments and thanks for reading.