The Devils Draft Prospect Series continues today with the two remaining 2015 draft picks: Blake Speers and Colton White, best friends, OHL teammates, and hopefully, NHL teammates. Be sure to go through the “Draft Prospect Series” tag for the rest of the 2017, 2016, and 2015 draft picks up until this point.
The New Jersey Devils selected C/RW Blake Speers 67th overall in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry-Level Draft. The 20-year old Canadian forward is 6′ 0″ and 185 pounds. He played a few years in Bantam and midget hockey before playing four years in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds; he led them to the playoffs all four years and Captained the team his last two. This past year, he also played three games for the Devils and a pair of playoff games for Albany (AHL). He also represented Canada at World Juniors and won a silver medal. This upcoming season, he’ll be playing in Binghamton (AHL) and he’ll hopefully see plenty of NHL time.
Speers and best friend/teammate Colton White signed their three-year, entry-level contracts last summer.
Here are some of Speers’s stats over the past several years:
Speers is first and foremost an offensive threat. In four years with the Greyhounds, he averaged more than a point per game in all but one season, his rookie season. He’s been a constant playoff presence as well. His offense has been consistent throughout his entire junior career; his Bantam and midget numbers are remarkable. His point production is something the Devils could desperately use so hopefully his offense translates to the NHL (and the AHL) level.
His career OHL numbers are pretty impressive. He has 215 points (84 goals, 131 assists) in 217 regular season games, averaging nearly a point per game, and 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 46 postseason games, averaging about 0.65 points per game. He was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team in 2013-14, played in the CHL Top Prospects game in 2014-15, and was named an OHL All-Star in 2015-16. He was named the OHL Player of the Week (March 14-20) in 2016.
He had a decent World Juniors tournament, picking up three points in seven games. Here’s an article from January about Speers’s World Juniors tournament.
Here is what Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects had to say about him: “For Blake Speers, offense is the best defence. Has slick hands and good overall puckhandling skills. Great passing ability and a very accurate shot. Plays a puck possession game; not diminutive in size, persay, but does need to get stronger. Not afraid to battle along the boards, but his size does show through against bigger opponents. Has all the tools to be a successful contributor when played in the right role (2014).”
Here’s Hockey’sFuture’s talent analysis: “Speers is a smooth skater who can transition through all three zones with speed. The forward has put in a lot of effort to become a two-way player which makes him able to play in most situations. Offensively is where his strength lies thanks to his slick hands and good puckhandling skills. He can make accurate passes and take good shots on net. Most of all, Speers is a very smart player. Because of his size, he has to use his hockey sense to outwit opponents, see the play develop before it happens and act on it. Overall, Speers is a coachable player who wants to compete every night no matter his role.”
Here’s a Q&A that Speers did with The Hockey Writers. He talks about a bunch of different things: White, playing against other Devils prospects, training camp, and AHL and professional hockey, so be sure to check that out.
Speers will be at Devils development camp again (with White) and he’ll be fun to watch. He won’t be playing any more junior hockey; fingers crossed, he’ll start the year with New Jersey like he did this past season and we’ll go from there. I’d like to see him get consistent NHL time. The team needs speed, youth, and energy, and Speers brings all of that. He usually plays center but the coaching staff could experiment with him at right wing. Unless he has an awful development and training camp, I don’t see any reason for him to not start the year in the NHL.