The San Jose Sharks may have to reach for Jack Finley in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Without third and fourth-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, the San Jose Sharks may have to take 17-year-old center Jack Finley with one of their two second-round picks.
Finley is considered to be a third or fourth-round prospect, so taking him in the second round wouldn’t be the greatest idea. The Sharks may want to trade back to obtain some extra draft capital, more specifically a third or fourth-round pick if they really want the British Columbia native.
The young centerman comes from a hockey family — his father is former 1985 New York Islanders’ third-round pick defenseman Jeff Finley and his younger brother Mason Finley is a forward for the Calgary Hitmen.
Finley mainly played in a depth and defensive role with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL this season. Despite this, he was still able to put up impressive offensive numbers scoring 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 61 games.
Being 6-foot-6 and 213 pounds, Finley is a relatively good skater. He has good top-end speed, agility, lateral movement, and edge work. With this, he has the ability to turn and change direction quickly.
Because of his large stature, Finley is quite successful when it comes to board battles and keeping possession of the puck. He’s very good at using his size and good stickhandling ability to create time and space for himself and his teammates.
If he thinks he has the space he can effectively drive to the net with the help of his size or can dish out an accurate pass to an open teammate with his excellent vision and anticipation.
Finley is also a smart player without the puck. He keeps his feet moving to get open and knows his role — to screen the opposing goalie and create havoc in front of the net.
He does this extremely well as most of his goals come from in tight via a deflection, burying a rebound, or even one-timing a pass. Finley isn’t much of a sniper, he has a hard wrist shot but he prefers to pass and set up his teammates.
Defensively, Finley is very solid. He has a relentless forecheck and backcheck and supports his defense well down low against the cycle. With such a long reach, he’s very good at breaking up passes with his stick.
Additionally, he has the positioning skills to effectively get into passing and shooting lanes with his body. After creating a turnover, Finley possesses the ability to quickly get the puck up ice to transition from defense to offense.
Being so fundamentally sound at defense, Finley is a very effective penalty killer.
Although he’s already bigger and stronger than most of the players in his class, Finley could still add some muscle and strength to his core to get ready to compete with NHL players. This would make him even more effective at winning battles for loose pucks and for net-front position.
As previously mentioned, Finley is a good skater for his size. However, his acceleration and first step could use some work.
Additionally, although his wrist shot is hard his release could use some work. Finley tends to take quite some time to load up his shot and get rid of it, allowing goalies to get set for it.
Defensively, Finley is very good. However, his faceoffs could use some work.
San Jose Sharks Prediction
The best ranking I’ve seen for Finley is No. 38 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters) and the worst I’ve seen is No. 106 by eliteprospects.com. With that said, Finley is most likely to go in the third or fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
This is bad news for the Sharks as they don’t have a pick in either of these two rounds, so they might have to reach for him with one of their two second-round picks or make a trade to acquire a third or fourth-round pick.
Overall, I think Finley would be a good addition to San Jose. The team needs center depth and he could be the answer in a couple of years when he’s ready for the NHL.
Finley’s floor is a third or fourth-line center that can kill penalties and be put in key defensive situations. However, if his offense can develop, his ceiling is a good, two-way, top-six center.
At just 17-years-old, Finley will be playing in juniors again next year unless he does the unthinkable and makes an NHL roster. He put up impressive offensive numbers in a role that asked him to focus on defense.
If he’s in more of an offensive role next season, it’ll be interesting to see how many points he’s able to put up.