Defense has always been the calling card of the New Jersey Devils organization, as greats such as Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski were integral parts of their success in the early 2000s. Finding a high end defenseman since those glory days, however, has been difficult. The Devils hope their 2014 second-round pick Josh Jacobs of the USHL’s Indiana Ice could be that next great defenseman.
A two-way threat, Jacobs was a catalyst for the Ice as they won the Clark Cup as USHL champions after being mired in last place at the beginning of the season. With a booming shot from the point and adept all-around playmaking ability, Jacobs was able to record 23 points in 56 games before adding five more in 12 playoff games for Indiana. Jacobs is committed to Michigan State University next season, but his rights being held by the OHL’s Sarnia Sting could change that.
The Devils faced an identical situation with current prospect in winger Reid Boucher in 2011 when Boucher (who was also a Michigan State commit and Sarnia Sting draft pick) chose the Sting over the NCAA route. I caught up with Jacobs at the 2014 NHL Draft, and by his own account the Detroit native seems to have his heart set on wearing Spartan green this fall.
Wherever he plays in the short term, Jacobs is sure to be an impact pro player for a long time. Given the Devils’ many needs in the organization, Jacobs will surely fit in somewhere before too long. It would also be at the very least ironic to see him hitting Boucher with breakout passes as their two histories are eerily similar.
My interview with Jacobs can be seen here: