Every draft year a handful of prospects play a style of game that you just have an irrational love for. Players who can pull you out of your seat at any given moment in a vast amount of ways. Jamieson Rees of the Sarnia Sting is a player I fell in love with this season because of his unique skill level and creativity. No player is as unpredictable as Rees is with the puck and he took advantage of that on the regular. But to go along with that is a relentless work ethic that only few high-end players have. He isn’t satisfied being a passenger and imposes his will to be a controlling presence.
Unfortunately for Rees, injury and discipline kept him off the ice for the majority of the season, which inevitably hurt his draft stock. But for those two aspects to be my biggest concerns, well, that’s very promising. His play on the ice speaks for itself and that’s all that matters.
|Birthday||February 26, 2001|
Skating: 55 – Puck Skills: 65 – Hockey IQ/Sense: 55 – Physicality: 55
From an uber skill perspective, Rees is one of the most talented players in this draft. He is ultra creative with the puck and can make eye-popping plays. He has a dirty set of mitts to beat players one-on-one and the speed to beat them on the outside. His puck skills and creativity are elite. I’d argue he is the most entertaining player to watch in this draft because he makes plays you rarely see.
Standing at just 5’10” he is slippery enough to dodge checks and breakthrough. This type of shiftiness helps him create zone entries, more so then with his feet. While he has above average speed his first step is not overly explosive and will need some improvement in that regard.
As a game-breaking talent he can flip the script of any game. Whenever his team was in need of a momentum shift, Rees was the one to step up. He doesn’t get phased by the situation in a game. He plays like a leader and drives the play, not interested in being outside the action. He can take it upon himself to answer the call.
Along with his immense talent, Rees is a hungry competitor. He plays fierce, with a moxie that alludes to how confidence he is. Confidence is a big thing with Rees — he plays with a belief in himself, which is why he continuously tries new things. As a forechecker he is aggressive and a handful to deal with. He doesn’t give up on plays and has a fight in him that I love. Rees isn’t handed anything, rather he takes it himself. Tenacious is the perfect word to describe him.
Rees competitive nature helped push him way up my draft board, but there were times when his aggressiveness got the best of him. Back in February he delivered a blind-side hit that landed him an 8 game suspension. The hit was nothing short of inexcusable.
— caitlin berry (@caitlinsports) February 21, 2019
Rees at times pushes the envelope too much, and this is one of the more extreme examples. Discipline is an area that he needs to work on, picking up 38 penalty minutes in just 37 games this season.
Another grey area on his résumé is an injury history. Rees was sidelined multiple times this season with injury, including one that held him out for a month. That combined with the suspension limited him to just 37 OHL games this season. In those 37 games he recorded 10 goals and 32 points. Not a stat-line that wows you but I think the injuries made it difficult to find a groove. A full season of him being healthy and I think those numbers will shoot up.
We saw just how great he can be fully healthy at the U18s. I thought he was the best player on Team Canada, a team that included big names like Alex Newhook, Dylan Cozens, and Peyton Krebs. He made timely plays and was a game-changer, showing the ability to elevate his teammates.
Rees ceiling is sky-high. I think about draft picks meant on swinging for upside and he’s exactly that. He isn’t as sure a thing as those I have above him, but he is arguably just as talented and competitive as all of them. He is one of my personal favorite players eligible for the 2019 NHL draft. In time, I think many will begin to realize just how good he can be.
Simply put, Rees is not NHL ready. His skating still lacks some explosiveness and if he can add that component his game could really take the next step. I also hope he attempts to find a balance with how aggressive he is. His poor discipline is something that must improve. You need your best players on the ice, not in the penalty box. Going back to the OHL will help him gain that needed maturity.