In placing Jujhar Khaira among the Oilers top 10 prospects, I’ve relied heavily on small sample sizes, anecdotal evidence and words from his coach. Secondary arrows include Khaira’s skill set and position being a perfect match for the Oilers depth chart.
Summer 2012: #15
Winter 2012: #7
- Redline Report: At Red Line, we believe this kid could be the biggest/best sleeper of the entire draft. Prince George is so far off the beaten path teams don’t even travel there for WHL games, much less BCHL contests, so he gets zero exposure. But this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver. Very raw defensively.
- Prince George Spruce Kings GM Mike Hawes: “He’s a prototypical power forward, with more offensive up-side than most. He’s got a strong, powerful stride and also sees the ice extremely well.”
- Ben Berland: Khaira was now 6’2”, and a runaway freight train. His real strength is on the fore check, in which he uses both his size and his skating ability to the max. Although he doesn’t possess incredible foot speed, his read and react skills are excellent, which can be an exceptional hockey skill to have (easier to teach foot speed than read and react particularly with older players). Wide track skater that reminds me of Kent Nilsson (for all you old timers out there), or Milan Lucic. Has good stickhandling skills and prefers to play the role of playmaker more than shooter. Shooting is excellent, and will shoot when needed, but prefers the pass.
- The Scouting Report: Khaira was a standout in the BCHL this season, tallying 29 goals and 79 points in only 54 games as a sophomore. The powerful winger is an effective offensive player who can be difficult to get off the puck and creates a lot of his offense in this regard. Khaira is a very good playmaker and could probably stand to shoot the puck more, which is something he’ll hopefully improve on as he embarks on a collegiate career at Michigan Tech. Of note, Khaira’s WHL rights were recently traded to Everett, but it seems like Khaira is still intent on fulfilling his NCAA commitment.
- BCJHL Website: Jujhar Khaira (pron: Juh_Jar Care_ah) of the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) placed top ten in four of the physical tests at the NHL Combine in advance of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. With the seventh largest wing span measurement of 77.75 inches, Khaira also showed his strength in the bench press finishing fifth with 12 reps of 150 lbs and also eighth for strength lifting 9.1 lb/lb of body weight a full 4 points above the Combine average. In the test of upper body power, Khaira was fourth throwing a 4 kg ball 232 inches.
He’s 6.03, 195, playing center, has some bite in his game and took about two weeks to move all the way up the depth chart at Michigan Tech. Although it isn’t a school famous for turning out NHL stars, the young man has been impressive in his first 10 games at the school (2-6-8, 23pims). He is currently third in team scoring, and clearly getting a lot of playing time. I don’t know that anyone predicted this sort of thing happening so quickly.
Khaira’s last three games have been outstanding:
- 2-3-5, -1
- 9 shots on goal
- Increased time against good opposition
- Moving up to the top line
All that and quoting Redline he’s big, mean, aggressive nasty and….can score.
The storyline for Khaira’s move up the list begins with the words of his coach at Michigan Tech:
- Heach Coach Mel Pearson: “I told our coaches before the weekend I thought JJ (Jujhar) made huge strides in how much better he was. He’s at a different level right now. We’re playing sophomores and freshmen against other team’s seniors, grizzled vets, and they’re doing a great job.”
- Bill Muckalt, Michigan Tech asst coach: “We see him as a big time power forward. He skates really well, very good down low, strong on the puck, has good vision and great offensive instincts. I think he has a lot of potential to be a pro hockey player.”
- Khaira enjoyed a breakout weekend and received WCHA Rookie of the week honors for it November 20.