Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2020 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.
Seth Jarvis said he let the pressure of being a top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft affect him a bit early this season, his third with Portland of the Western Hockey League.
But since pushing those thoughts out of his head, the 18-year-old (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) has regained his form and is No. 19 on NHL
Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2020 Draft.
The center leads Portland and is second in the WHL with 86 points (36 goals, 50 assists) in 52 games.
He began this season with four points (two goals, two assists) in five games to help Canada finish second at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August, and then had 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in his first 12 games with Portland; a solid start, but less than what Jarvis expected for himself.
Then came a six-game stretch in mid-November, when he had three points (one goal, two assists).
He admitted his focus was on rankings and draft thoughts rather than the season.
"[Coach] Mike [Johnston] definitely brought it up at the beginning of the year, all the guys who are going through this process, just not to look too much into it," Jarvis said. "And then when he told us that, I looked a little bit too much into it."
Johnston said it was obvious Jarvis' focus was in the wrong place.
"It was about mid-November when I saw that he was carrying an extra weight on his shoulders," he said. "I found it was similar [to last season] in that the wear and tear and the scrutiny and everything else weighs on you. But after Christmas he was a different person. He came back [this season] after Christmas and was a different player."
In 23 games since the holiday break, Jarvis has 53 points (22 goals, 31 assists). He has 14 multipoint games in that stretch, including three five-point games. Jarvis had 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) during a 10-game point streak from Jan. 3-31, and he has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) during a nine-game streak that began Feb. 4.
"He does everything at full speed and he can really skate," Johnston said. "He's got quick hands, he's got quick feet, he drives the net at full speed, he attacks defenders at full speed. And he's got good vision."
But Jarvis is more than just an offensive threat; Johnston said he's one of Portland's top penalty killers and can be relied upon in all situations.
"His compete level is what really draws you to him when you initially see him," John Williams of NHL Central Scouting said. "That's been there from the time he came into the league a year ago as a 16-year-old. Like a lot of the really good players, if his offensive game is not going he does other things to help the team win. He can make defensive plays, he's a good penalty killer, anything that helps his team win. ... I think he's got a high hockey IQ and that's what allows him to be successful offensively, too."
Jarvis credits a lot of his hockey skill to his older brother, Kayden, who works as a skills coach with Rink Player Development in Oak Bluff, Manitoba, near where the brothers were raised in Winnipeg.
"I always wanted to be better than him, compete with him," Seth said of Kayden, who is 24. "That age gap made it a little bit tough at the beginning, but I think [it was] just kind of pushing myself at a young age to compete with him and stay with him and his friends."
In addition to hockey, Jarvis played football from age 6 until he was 14, and as a quarterback helped his youth team reach the city finals every season but one.
He saw a better future in hockey, though, which he admits disappointed his father, Raymond, a bit.
"It was really a hard decision," he said. "My dad was a football player, he coached the high school football team in Winnipeg, one of them, so he really influenced me. It was a little bit bittersweet for him watching me stop playing football but pursuing hockey."
Some observers have seen bits of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander and Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny in Jarvis' game, showing his choice in sports was the right one.
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