With a solid all-around game, this Wisconsin Badger is likely to go high in Round 2 of this year's draft.
Current Team: University of Wisconsin, NCAA
Date of Birth: May 25, 1996
Place of Birth: Cottage Grove, Minnesota, USA
Weight: 185 lbs
Off to the Big 10 for our next prospect -- a blue-liner with some offensive edge to his game. Jack Dougherty emerged on the radar a couple of years ago, due to his play in some select international tournaments. In 2012-13, he netted 29 points in 28 games for Minnesota's St. Thomas Academy. Last year, facing a more arduous schedule in the USHL and the USDP, Dougherty notched 13 goals and 28 assists in 90 games played. That's a lot of hockey.
Dougherty did not necessarily endear himself to Columbus fans last season, when he de-committed from Ohio State in the wake of Mark Osiecki's termination, and opted instead to become a Badger, where he figures to see a lot of ice time.
Dougherty brings a solid all-around game to the table, without necessarily being at the top of the charts in any single skill. He is universally regarded as athletic, smart and possessed of good hockey sense. His passing is praised, while his skating is charitably characterized as average. His offensive upside is perhaps greater than his 2013-13 numbers might suggest, as he took very few shots, likely adjusting to his new role in the USHL and USDP.
Dougherty finised with the #30 ranking among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings, just about level with his mid-term ranking at #29. When you factor in European skaters, look for Dougherty to be a high to mid second round selection. Here's what Central Scouting had to say on Dougherty's game:
Even as a high school player, he was a smart two-way player and proved to be very responsible. He's also tough and can play the power play and work the point well. -- Greg Rajanen, NHL Central Scouting
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Assuming the pick positions remain as they are, Dougherty would be a consideration in the second round for the Blue Jackets.
The considerations at play here are no different than with the other defensemen we've looked at. If you figure that Nikita Nikitin and Nick Schultz are gone from the roster, you are left with a core of Fedor Tyutin, Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Ryan Murray, David Savard and Dalton Prout. Tim Erixon and Cody Goloubef are waiting in the wings. So, while this a case to be made for stockpiling some more young blue line talent in the organization, there is already a bit of a logjam, and the Blue Jackets will start feeling the pain in terms of waiver exposure before too long.
His snub of Ohio notwithstanding, I would expect Columbus to pass on Dougherty, all other things being equal. If they are going to look for blue line help, I suspect Columbus will do it via trade or free agency. Maybe Dan Boyle would like to end his career with the club, and renew some of his Miami University connections. Others will be available. If the club were to draft defense, I suspect that they would focus on better skating skills than Dougherty has shown, as Todd Richards has said he wants to put some focus on team speed.
Dougherty in Action