Spokane Chiefs forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan had a 17-year-old season to remember in the Western Hockey League.
The Calgary product finished his second full season in the ‘Dub with 76 points, more than triple his points total from his rookie year.
“I think it definitely helps,” said Anderson-Dolan when asked about his recent personal success. “I think when you put up points and when you have success personally it definitely helps your stock in things like the draft.”
But while statistical success is all well and good, the 5-foot-11, 191-pound skater said he takes pride in the strides he made on the ice beyond what appears on the scoresheet.
“Points and goals and things like that definitely help with draft stock but I think, personally, I’m just proud of how I’ve evolved as a player this year,” Anderson-Dolan said.
Coming out of his first season with the Chiefs as a 16-year-old, the left-shooting centreman said there were a number of things about his game that he could improve on.
“At the beginning of the year I had a lot of holes in my game,” Anderson-Dolan said. “I think I did a good job of putting some work in and fixing those things and I think that’s actually what contributed to helping me produce a bit more offensively.”
One hole, specifically, that the 1999-born player pointed to was his defensive game, which he said was one of the weaker parts of his game during his rookie campaign.
“Guys are so skilled and so big and so strong so you’ve got to learn how to use your body and be a little more physical and how to protect the puck and use better angles, so I think just shutting down my D-zone was the main thing I had to focus on this year,” Anderson-Dolan said, adding that once the defensive side of his game became more solid, he noticed things started to open up more for him offensively.
“I think that helped me and my team. I think we had the puck more when I was good defensively and I had the puck more, which allowed me to show my skills and show my skating.”
Anderson-Dolan wasn’t the only one who noticed the improvements, either, as NHL Central Scouting ranked the 17-year-old 21st among North American skaters in their final rankings, up 19 spots from where he landed in the midterm rankings.
On top of that, the league’s scouting service noted Anderson-Dolan’s reliability and intelligence on the ice.
“I see myself as a hard-working, two-way forward,” Anderson-Dolan said. “Personally, I take a lot of pride in the defensive side of the game. It starts in your D-zone. If you’re good in your D-zone you’re not going to be in the D-zone that much and you’re going to have the puck more.”
He added he likes to think of himself as a player that can be counted on to contribute in any situation he’s put into.
“Whether we’re up a goal or down a goal, just a guy you can rely on,” he said.
Now, with the NHL Draft less than a week away, Anderson-Dolan is hoping to hear his name called by one of the NHL’s 31 teams.
“Seeing all the hard work you put in over your career to finally be going into the draft and for it to be coming up so quick is definitely exciting but I think there’s definitely a little bit of nerves in there as well,” he said.