Puck-moving Sherbrooke Phoenix defenseman Jeremy Roy has been a highly-regarded prospect for a long time and was widely expected to go in the first round of the 2015 NHL entry draft. Roy was ranked 21st among North American prospects by Central Scouting, 23rd overall by ISS, 13th by Future Considerations, 19th by ESPN and 14th by the Nation Networks. Roy was likely the most surprising player to fall out of the first round so, with him still available on Saturday morning, the Sharks moved quickly and paid a significant price to move up eight spots in the second, dealing the 39th overall pick, Colorado's 2016 2nd from the Brad Stuart trade and a 6th round pick to the Avs for the 31st selection. With it they chose a 6'0", 185-pound blueliner who might be the second coming of Dan Boyle.
A supremely talented, smooth-skating, intelligent defenseman who passes the puck at a very high level and can quarterback a power play, Roy immediately becomes the Sharks' best defense prospect and perhaps even their best prospect overall. On the younger side of this draft class (he was born in May 1997), Roy scored 43 points in 46 games this season. That was a higher points-per-game rate than any other draft-eligible defenseman in the QMJHL and fourth-highest in the CHL overall after Mitchell Vande Sompel (who played part of the year at forward), 7th overall pick Ivan Provorov and Rasmus Andersson. Even more impressive may have been his 2013-14 season when he scored 44 points in 64 games as a 16-year-old; that was the highest points-per-game rate among 16-year-old CHL blueliners that year by a wide margin.
Here's a scouting report from Last Word On Sports:
Jeremy Roy is an extremely smart player, who almost always makes the right pass out of his own end, or on the point at the powerplay. Roy is developing a hard one-timer, and understands that by keeping it low and on net, he creates second chance opportunities for the Sherbrooke forwards. He is poised with the puck on his stick whether it be at the point, in his own end skating it out of danger, or leading the rush. He uses his good stickhandling ability to generate offense off the rush, and is a threat to go end to end any time he touches the puck. Roy also has a very accurate wrist shot, which he can utilize off the rush, or from the point when he doesn’t have time to let go of the big wind-up. He has a good release that can fool goaltenders.
Defensively, Roy’s hockey sense and positioning are extremely good, and he battles hard in the corners and in his own end. He may only be 17, but he plays all situations and against top competition for the Phoenix this year and is a real difference maker for his club. As mentionned, he is willing to battle in the corners or in front of the net. The best part of Roy’s defensive game is how quickly he can take the puck and transition to offence though. This will aid his team in puck possession and ensure they don’t spend much time in their own end of the rink when he is on the ice. While he doesn’t get himself out of position to throw big hits, he can be physical, and has even fought on a few occassions.
Roy has all the tools necessary to be a top pair defenceman and powerplay quarterback in the NHL. He will need some development time to reach that potential though. If he doesn’t quite reach his ceiling, there is a good chance he can still play on the second pair and be part of the powerplay. His style is similar to Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes, though this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on talent.
And from Future Considerations, who were very high on the player:
An offensively gifted defenseman who is solid in the defensive zone…has a real smooth stride and is pretty mobile…very mature game with strong positioning and smart with the puck…tough to separate from it as he has a heavy stick…makes terrific passes and rarely has anything intercepted…has a good point shot as well and he gets it on net…has the vision and creativity to QB a PP…solid defensively, using his smarts and his strong stick to break up plays and take away chances…uses his strength on defense to play physically down low and contain his man…used in all situations…a big presence on the ice and slows down the play when the puck is on his stick.
Here's a video breakdown of each of Roy's shifts from a QMJHL game:
When all is said and done, there's a very good chance Roy ends up being a better NHL player than the Sharks' first round pick Timo Meier and, if all goes well with his development, he could be a future cornerstone on San Jose's blueline. They gave up a lot to move up but I think the Sharks hit a home run here.