Who is Jordan Sambrook?
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 192 lbs
Birthday: April 11, 1998 (19 years old)
Birthplace: Markham, ONT
Draft: 2016 5th round (#137 overall)
The Red Wings drafted Sambrook shortly after his first year in the OHL with the Erie Otters in 2015-16. He was selected by the Otters in the 10th round, as a priority selection, in the 2014 OHL Draft. Sambrook’s two-way game is backed up by his solid skating ability. His 15 goals and +38 rating were both good for 6th best among OHL defenseman last year. He not only bolstered the Otters blue line, but helped lead the team to a J. Ross Robertson Cup this past season.
What do we like about him?
Scouts have raved about Sambrook’s two-way style of play since he was drafted. An above-average skater with great decision-making ability has the Red Wings front office excited about what can come of Sambrook. Not only is he smart defensively, but has really begun pitching in offensively as well.
You can catch Sambrook jumping up ice into the attacking zone more and more as he begins to strengthen the offensive part of his game. Also, his ability to make good passes, both up ice and in his own zone, allows for him to eat a lot of minutes at a time, something every coach loves to have on their team.
The potential for Sambrook to be a strong two-way defenseman for the Red Wings in the future is there. After all, he does model his game after Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues.
What needs some work?
While Sambrook is a good skater, he is a bit slower than most. That makes it hard for him, especially when he jumps up into the offensive zone, to get back and win a race for the puck. He also can get caught sleeping in the offensive zone at times, which can allow opposing players to skate right by him. While his skating ability overall is considered a plus quality, there is a good amount of fine-tuning needed to perfect it.
Another area Sambrook needs to work on is his overall strength. You hear a lot about 19-year-old prospects getting pushed around on the ice, and it holds true for Sambrook as well. He stands at 6’2” / 192 lbs, which makes him a good-sized defenseman, so naturally he will get bigger and stronger as he gets older. Mix an increase of strength in with his assertiveness on the ice, and you could have a big time two-way defenseman.
What’s next for Sambrook?
While it doesn’t seem like Sambrook needs a whole lot of work, there is a reason Ken Holland elected to leave him in the OHL for one more year. A little more seasoning can go a long ways to helping him develop properly.
Even though Filip Hronek seems to have established himself as not only the best defensive prospect in the Red Wings 2016 Draft Class, but the best overall prospect as well, Sambrook has the potential to be a big time sleeper.
Expect Sambrook to sign his entry-level deal shortly after the Otters conclude their upcoming season. From there, expect him to play right away with the Grand Rapids Griffins. After that, it will only be a matter of time until we see him up with the big boys.
As long as Sambrook continues to develop his game, there will be a spot for him on the Red Wings one day. The need for two-way defensemen, especially with this team, is huge. So if the Red Wings can potentially find a diamond in the rough in Sambrook, not only would it help the team in their long-term plans, but could help give them some much needed depth in their defensive prospect pool as well.
It’s too bad that Sambrook isn’t ready to help this team right now. How about down the road? Well, all trends are pointing to a possible solid, Top-4 defenseman in the making.