Jeremy is a very good puck-moving defenceman. He skates well and plays a physical game as well ... He's a right shot that often played left side. He can quarterback the power play and he's highly skilled with the puck. - Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting
BUFFALO, NY -- For a player to make their mark as a defenceman in the 2015 NHL Draft, they have to have a special set of skills to help them stand out from the crowd.
For Jeremy Roy of the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it's his offensive game that will ensure his name is called early.
The 6-foot, 188-pound right-shot defender is No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft.
"Jeremy is a very good puck-moving defenceman," Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting said. "He skates well and plays a physical game as well. He had some injuries and suspensions that limited his game total. He's a right shot that often played left side. He can quarterback the power play and he's highly skilled with the puck."
A lower-body injury limited Roy to 46 games this season and also prevented him from taking part in some of the physical testing at the NHL Scouting Combine. But he still led Sherbrooke defencemen with five goals and 43 points.
As a rookie in the league in 2013-14 Roy had 14 goals and 44 points in 64 games. The improvement in the offensive part of his game was apparent, but Roy doesn't want to be a one-dimensional player.
"I'm trying not to only let the offence drive my game," he said. "I'm trying to [grow] my game playing on both sides of the ice, either offence or defence, trying to sometimes shut down the opponents or their best players. Or if we need a goal do that too."
While the viewings were limited because of his injury, scouts were impressed with how Roy developed his all-around game.
"What was impressive with Jeremy's development this year is that he played at a more consistent and composed pace and was also making more responsible choices and decisions in order to get the job done," NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said.
There has been a lot of attention paid to the highly skilled forwards in the 2015 draft class, but there also are a number of high-end defencemen, a group that includes Boston College's Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Zachary Werenski of the University of Michigan. In all there are nine defencemen on Central Scouting's top 30 North American skaters.
Roy said it drives him to raise his game to separate himself from the pack.
"I'd say motivation [to prove yourself] is there a bit more," he said. "But I know there's a lot of good defencemen in this draft. There's a lot of good players. It's a great draft."
Roy got to measure himself against some of the other top draft-eligible defencemen at the 2015 NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game. He played for Team Orr and had an assist and a plus-1 rating in a 6-0 victory.
"It's a great honor for sure," Roy said. "[Being rated highly] was one of my goals at the beginning of the season. I'm just trying to keep working on this and proving everyone that I can be a first-rounder."
Roy said he likes to pattern his game after Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.
"[I like] everything," Roy said. "He's reliable defensively, he can bring offence, plays in every situation and a lot of minutes. I think I'm trying to build my game around his game."
Roy got his start in hockey at age 6, just a year after he learned to skate. He took to the game quickly and has used his early skating lessons to benefit him today.
"I started skating at five and then I saw on the other half of the ice there was a power skating group and I wanted to be part of that," he said. "So at Christmas I switched groups and went to skaters age 7 to 10 when I was 5, and the year after I started playing hockey.
"I always played in the best categories. The only time I got a special status was when I played midget I played at 14 instead of 15."
Now that he's closer to becoming an NHL player, he knows the work ahead isn't finished.
"I'd say I have a couple things to improve for sure," Roy said. "There's always room for improvement everywhere. If I'm able to improve a bit in every facet of the game I think I'll be fine."
Author: Joe Yerdon | NHL.com Correspondent