It's time to add another entry in my "Get Excited for..." series. It's a group of posts that focuses on a prospect in the Columbus system, and this is entry number three. The first was a look at Cam Atkinson, while the other was on defense prospect Mike Reilly.
This time I'm going to take a look at prospect Boone Jenner, a centerman with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.
Prior to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, he was considered a candidate to go in the first round, but slipped to the Jackets in the second round, 37th overall. The Jackets had recently traded their 2011 first round pick to the Flyers in the Jeff Carter
disaster trade, so Boone was their top pick. You can see my pre-draft profile on Jenner here.
At the time, Jenner was known for his intangibles- his work ethic, leadership and ability to excel at the smaller nuances of the game. Last season, his first after getting drafted, saw him score at a little better than a point-per-game pace with Oshawa, finishing with 22 goals, 27 assists for 49 points in 43 games. He was also a member of Team Canada at the World Juniors, where he played a defensive role.
This past summer, I had the pleasure of watching Boone wear the Canada sweater again, when Halifax hosted the Canadian portion of the Canada-Russia Challenge, a special one-off tournament honoring the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series and the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl disaster.
Additionally, earlier this year Boone signed his first pro contract with the Jackets and he earned a cup of coffee with the Springfield Falcons at the end of his junior season, scoring a goal in five games played.
The 2012 / 2013 OHL season is only a few weeks old, but Boone is off to a terrific start. Though he is known as a two-way center, Boone is currently leading the OHL in scoring with 16 points in 9 games played. He is again captain of the Generals, a position he held last season as well. Boone has been the leader of a Generals squad that is one of the top teams in the OHL, and ranked fourth in the Canadian Hockey League rankings.
While it of course remains to be seen whether or not he can remain at or near the top of the OHL scoring race, one thing is certain- Jenner is one of the top players in the OHL. He will be a fixture on Team Canada again, and would be a candidate to wear the "C". The Generals are also poised to go deep in the OHL playoffs, and could be a threat to represent the OHL in the Memorial Cup.
Next season, Boone will be 20 to start the season, meaning he qualifies for both the AHL and the OHL as an overager. He was almost undoubtedly be sent to the AHL to develop with the Falcons for at least a season. The offense he is showing this season is a bit of a surprise, but if he can translate it to the AHL, and then the NHL, he has the makings of a number two center at the NHL level. At the worst, he is a number three center who would give the Jackets a reliable faceoff man, leader and tenacious checker. He has all the makings of being a core player for the Jackets in the near future.
The Generals bear watching this season, and be sure to keep an eye on Jenner while he works his way to the Jackets, where he will no doubt be a fan favorite. Chants of "Boooooone" after he scores a goal or makes a big play will echo Nationwide Arena for years to come.