Prospect Profile: Jake Neighbours

Photo Source: Edmonton Oil Kings

Name: Jake Neighbours

Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Position: Left Wing

Date of Birth: March 29th 2002

Hometown: Airdrie, Alberta

Height/Weight: 5’11 201lbs

Hand: Left

WHL Draft: 4th Overall in 2017 – Edmonton Oil Kings (Signed)

 

*Eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft*


Player Report: Possibly the most improved since his WHL Draft year, Jake Neighbours was our fourth ranked player coming into the draft and was selected in that position by the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Airdrie native spent his rookie bantam season playing with the hometown Xtreme where he had 40 points in 35 regular season games and led his team in scoring as a 13 year old. He went on to play for the POE Bantam Prep’s the very next season, a team that was loaded with high draft picks. Jake spent most of the season on a line with Connor McClennon (Kootenay 1st Round 2017) and Kyle Crnkovic (Saskatoon 1st Round 2017) where he produced 79 points in 35 games that year with the team, good enough for 3rd amongst players on his team. Edmonton would then take him with there 1st selection in 2017, he later captained Team Alberta at the Canada Winter games that year. Going into his first Midget season, Neighbours would return to club hockey and join the Calgary Buffaloes of the AMHL. He led the league in scoring as a 15 year old with 57 points in 33 games played and was spectacular in the 11 games he suited up for the Edmonton Oil Kings. Regarded as a top candidate for rookie of the year coming into his first season in the WHL.

Jake Neighbours is a game breaking hybrid forward who blends together offensive flare, physical game, and competitive nature. Neighbour’s has shown over the past three years his versatility as a forward, he can be effective in all three forward positions and play up and down a teams line up. A balanced player, Neighbours excels in whatever role you put him in. Physically he’s a relentless puck pursuiter who will win puck battles with either a skilled stick or physical contact. His 200ft game is quite under rated, he defends lower in his defensive zone than most forward and always finds ways to supports his defenders. It allows him to be an elite puck transitioning winger, by quickly getting up in the play and consistently giving a passing option for his defenders. Neighbours possesses a powerful controlled stride along with dynamic footwork, his explosive quickness and perceptive skating to burn defenders one on one. That deceptive skating along with his unmatched strength on the puck make him incredibly tough to play against. Has some bite to his game and is willing to take contact to make a play. Utilizes crafty puck handling to force himself into high percentage scoring areas. One of the best puck managing forwards coming into the WHL this season, Neighbours is incredibly hard to contain with his slippery nature and above average skill set. Productively Neighbours loves to blend elite playmaking abilities with deceptive scoring capabilities. As a puck distributing forward, Neighbours can utilize his vision and offensive instincts to put pucks in spot for his team mates to effective get to. He makes complicated passes look easy, and his creativity with his passes make him hard to anticipate. While I would describe Neighbours as more of a playmaker who makes players around him better, he is still able to score at a high rate and has proven to do so scoring 22,27,26 in his past three years. Neighbours instincts without the puck are outstanding, he works his way into scoring areas and is constantly engaged in the play. A deceptive release on an accurate shot, he doesn’t beat goalies often from far out but has shown that he has the capabilities to do it. Most of his goals often come from around the net, Neighbour’s ability to work off his passes and create for himself is exceptional along with his strength on his feet make him virtually impossible to force away from the goal. Neighbours has one of the most complete forwards you will find at this age, and plays with an edge to his game which can lead to discipline issues. Once he continues to get bigger and stronger, Neighbour’s will be impossible for diminutive players to handle. 

Neighbours has all the tools of an elite WHL player, it is hard to pinpoint out a comparable player for him but he has a lot of those similar physical tools and creative playmaking to a player like Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Getzlaf. Neighbour’s makes players around him better and can be a catalyst for his line’s offensive play. He had likely the best appearances at the WHL level last year in his WHL Draft class, showing he can thrive against proven WHL veterans. Going into a good situation in Edmonton where he can become the offensive leader. A balanced forward, I would expect Neighbours to produce anywhere from 40-50 points his rookie season. He can play the wing or down the middle and because of that fans shouldn’t be surprised if he lands on the Oil Kings top line 5,10,15 games into the season. Neighbours in my opinion will be a 80+ point WHLer is his prime, he should produce into a solid NHL winger who plays on a team’s top nine. He’s as competitive as it get’s and has developed at a fast pace. 

 

Past Seasons:

2015-2016 – Airdrie Xtreme Bantam AAA: 35GP-22G-18A-40PTS 64PIMS

2016-2017 – POE Bantam Prep: 30GP-27G-41A-68PTS 16PIMS Playoffs: 5GP-5G-6A-11PTS 2PIMS

POE Elite 15s: 4GP-4G-1A-5PTS 6PIMS Playoffs: 1GP-1G-0A-1PTS 0PIMS

2017-2018- Calgary Buffaloes: 33GP-26G-31A-57PTS 12PIMS Playoffs: 5GP-1G-3A-4PTS 12PIMS

Edmonton Oil Kings: 11GP-0G-4A-4PTS 6PIMS

 

Accolades:

2016-2017 CSSHL Bantam Prep Champion

2017-2018 AMHL Most Goals/Points

AMHL Top Forward

AMHL First All-Star Team