Oshawa Generals forward Boone Jenner truly embodies the complete package of skill, two-way command and leadership among the pivots available at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
With such an extensive selection presented at this position, creating a lasting separation between amateur counterparts has been Jenner’s model from day one in the OHL. He has created is own unique path, shaping an already successful career through hard work and an unparalleled dedication to the game.
Jenner recently completed his second season in Oshawa where he amassed 25 goals and 66 points in 63 games. He followed up his regular season performance with an additional 12 points in 10 post-season matches.
Production on the scoresheet was nearly guaranteed, but Jenner’s leadership qualities -- both on and off the ice -- have been most essential for Oshawa’s 2010-11 success.
"I think I’ve come a long way in being more of a leader this year," he said. "Stepping into my second year, I think we’ve done well."
While Jenner typically displays a humble and succinct persona on camera, his extroverted nature is finely showcased through his unrelenting work ethic and on-ice leadership role. He fully embraces that assignment, helping to guide Oshawa’s younger talent and existing veteran core.
"I’ve always done well with that role," Jenner said. "Growing up in a hockey family, I think I understood the importance of that early on. My brothers have helped me a lot in that way, too."
His leadership role has helped earn success beyond the Oshawa Generals as well. In Jan. 2010, he captained Team Ontario to a silver medal finish at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. In six games during the tournament, Jenner produced one goal and four points to assist his team’s second-place entry on the scoresheet.
Along with a successful career in Oshawa so far, that tournament accurately depicted his makeup as a future NHL prospect. Jenner’s superb hands and foot-speed have helped him evolve into a valuable commodity.
"I think I'm an all-around guy; a two-way centreman," he said. "I like to play the skilled game just as much as the gritty game. I think I can be relied on to take faceoffs, power-play and penalty killing. I like to do it all."
An appropriate talent assessment when you consider his NHL role model.
"Mike Richards. I love the way he plays and I like to model myself after him. He's a great leader and he does it all, I think. It’s important to have guys you look up to, and Richards is a player that I’ve always admired."
In order to achieve that, Jenner is aware that more work is required. It’s an ongoing process that will eventually result in a complete, two-way game; such is the calling card of his idol.
"I think everything can improve for that next level," he said. "[The coaches] tell you that you need to make sure the little things are correct -- taking care of the 'D' zone first and big things like that."
Defensively, Jenner’s uncanny ability to read the play down low and locate open teammates for an outlet pass has helped to spark the breakout and quell a challenging attack. But when the options are limited in regards to puck control, his willingness to engage physically is another stone in the wall of his vigorous two-way style.
Disposition aside, his 6’1" and 193 pound frame naturally encourages that game.
"It’s just part of my two-way game," he said. "Offensively, defensively or physically, I want to win. I feel that I can beat my opponents in all those ways."
Developing that well-rounded game is something Jenner takes pride in. Each new season presents an opportunity to look ahead.
"I think I've achieved them," Jenner said of his pre-season goals. "There’s still more to come. I try not to get too detailed. I really want to improve my game in all areas, so that was my focus. Improve everything, little-by-little, and everything will work out."
As Jenner pointed out, the all-encompassing improvement has helped establish a dynamic and responsible skill-set. The impressive two-way arsenal has the 17-year-old loaded with NHL-ready attributes. Understandably, Jenner is brimming with excitement as June quickly approaches.
"It would be an honour to get drafted anywhere," he said. "It would be like a dream come true."
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com