• Alex Taxman

Prospect Report: Jake Neighbours + Carter Souch

Updated: Apr 19

Welcome to the first dual-feature prospect report for the 2020 draft class. Today I’ll be breaking down the Edmonton Oil Kings’ dynamic duo of Jake Neighbours and Carter Souch. Both players are Alberta natives, and have played in the WHL for the past 3 seasons. In 2018-2019, their first full season with the Oil Kings, Neighbours scored 24 points in 47 games and Souch scored 45 points in 68 games. Neighbours currently stands 5’11 and weighs an impressive 200 pounds, while Souch stands 5’9 and weighs in at only 150 pounds. These two players share a few similarities in their games, but there are some key differences that set them apart.


Neighbours


Jake Neighbours plays a high-octane 200 foot game, using his fantastic skating ability to impact the game in every zone. He’s extremely effective defensively and on the forecheck due to his powerful stick and unwavering willingness to throw his body around. His energy is infectious, drawing him comparisons to Brendan Gallagher. However, I think Jake’s offensive ceiling is a lot higher than Gallagher’s. His 24 points were a bit underwhelming last year, but he’s silencing all doubters this season with 12 points in 12 games so far.

Neighbours’ hands are quick and smooth, giving him the ability to make plays at top speed. He makes very long moves with the puck, usually chipping it to open ice in front of him and then chasing it down:

In the WHL, Neighbours can usually burn defenders with his speed alone. At the next level, he’ll need to refine his puck control on the rush. When he slows down, he shows great puck control:

His shot is very accurate and he’s shown that he can pick corners from difficult spots on the ice. He’s got a quick release, but I wouldn’t put it in the top 20 of this draft class. His wrist shot could use some more power, but it’s still above average:

Neighbours’ best tool in his shooting arsenal is his one-timer. It’s really heavy, and he gets it off in the blink of an eye:

Factor that in with the fact that he’s always digging around the net, and I think there’s 30 goal potential for him in the NHL.


To me, the thing that sets Jake apart from other players is his decisiveness. Whenever he makes a decision, even if its the wrong one, he commits 100%. He’s never drifting on the ice, always giving full effort. When I watch Jake Neighbours, I see a perennial 30 and 30 NHL player who can kill penalties at a high level. If his name isn’t called on day one of the draft, then someone is getting a steal.


For what its worth, I give him an A+ in the celly department as well.


Souch


Carter Souch is a pure playmaking and scoring winger, with high-end skating ability. His top speed isn’t elite, but his lateral movement and technique is near perfect. You can count on him to always be buzzing around in the offensive zone. He had a fantastic rookie season last year, his 45 points were the 3rd most among all 2020 draft eligible players.

Here’s Souch showcasing has skating and offensive awareness with an assist to Neighbours:

Souch’s hands and playmaking are his premier asset. On offense, Souch will always pass up a good opportunity to give a teammate a better opportunity. He’s a pass-first player, but not to the point where it’s frustrating. He definitely isn’t a player who just refuses to shoot. If Souch is left wide open, he’ll walk in and make teams pay.

I believe Souch’s release and accuracy are top 15 in this draft class. For such a small guy, he’s able to generate so much power on his wrist shot. He frequently catches goalies off-guard with how quick the puck jumps off his stick. He loves to pick the top corners as well, once he’s gotten a goalie to go down. His wrist shot is pretty good too. See Here:

His finishing ability is solid too, due to his slick hands:

Based on talent alone, he’s got 30 goal potential in the NHL.


Souch doesn’t kill penalties and he is not a physical player by any means, but he has sneaky good stick-checking ability.


Watch here how he lifts the stick of his opponent, taps the puck to his teammate, and sets himself up for a goal:

Souch’s offensive abilities can’t be doubted, but there’s potential for him to fall on draft day due to size concerns. With both of these guys suiting up for the Oil Kings, they should be a fun team to watch this year.

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