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NHL Draft 2020, taking a closer look at: John-Jason Peterka

Yet another German winger!

EHC Red Bull Munich - Polar Bears Berlin Photo by Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images

Previous articles:

Hendrix Lapierre, Lukas Reichel, Sam Colangelo, Jacob Perreault, Justin Barron, Jeremie Poirier, Anton Lundell


Today, we’re staying put in Europe, though we’re moving back to the DEL.

Similarly to Lukas Reichel and Anton Lundell, John-Jason Peterka (or JJP as he is referred to) spent his 2019-20 season playing against men in the top division of his country. However, unlike Lundell, this was Peterka’s first season doing so.

Unfortunately, Peterka is a far more difficult player to rate in regards to his ice time. It isn’t drastically different, but Peterka averaged 11:50 a night and 15 shifts a game in the DEL, in comparison to Lukas Reichel’s 12:58 and 17 shifts a game. Reichel also played more on the power play (he scored four power play goals last season) and I would say he was more consistently used than Peterka. You knew what you were getting from Reichel ice-time wise.

However, don’t let that scare you away from Peterka, who can make plays against experienced defenders and has the speed of play, both in his hands and with his IQ, to make plays at the professional level already. Like most of the European league players, he really shines on the international stage playing against competition his age. Peterka had a far better 2018-19 season playing in his junior league than Reichel did from a points-per-game perspective, though Reichel’s showing in 2019-20 playing the DEL was more impressive. Regardless, Peterka certainly held his own and showed flashes of brilliance.

Let’s take a look:


What do the stats say?

Peterka’s raw production was fine, but not outstanding in 2019-20, though it is impressive considering he was 17 for the majority of the league campaign. In 42 DEL games, Peterka scored 11 points (7 goals and 4 assists). Again, compared to Reichel’s 24 points in the same amount of games, you wonder why Peterka is the higher ranked prospect. However, I would say that Reichel’s game is more suited to playing in senior leagues than Peterka’s is at the minute (more on this later). Reichel also received more ice-time, though not a considerable amount more.

However, the two wingers were more on even terms in the 2020 World Junior Championships. Peterka was one of Germany’s stand out players, along with Tim Stutzle, and Peterka scored six points in seven games throughout the tournament, often playing on the same line as Stutzle. Across all international competition, Peterka scored ten points in ten matches for Germany, outpacing Reichel. At this level, you really see Peterka’s skill come to life.

The Eye Test

It’s interesting that this was the following rankings given out by Corey Pronman in his draft board analysis, considering Peterka was ranked four places higher.

Peterka

Skating: 55, Puck Skills: 60, Physical Game: 40, Hockey Sense: 60

Reichel

Skating: 55, Puck Skills: 60, Physical Game: 45, Hockey Sense: 60

Ostensibly, they’re at the same level, though Reichel’s physicality grades higher, alluding to the fact that I think Reichel is more built for senior competition at this stage. In fact, I really do prefer Reichel over Peterka. I think Reichel’s shot is better and I like his ability to score goals in many different ways over what Peterka likes to do. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think Peterka shows any strengths over Reichel.

While both players are primarily offensively oriented, yet play a 200 foot game, I would say that Peterka is a better workhorse than Reichel. Peterka does a lot of little things to get plays going from within his defensive zone, and in the neutral zone as well, primarily due to his incredibly high work rate. He really doesn’t have a “slow down” button.

Both players also show high levels of creativity with the puck and the ability to make moves in tight spaces. However, I found Peterka’s ability in this regard to be slightly better. In the following play, watch how just the small shuffle that Peterka does leads to a play developing.

Peterka I would also give the edge in terms of playmaking. Neither Reichel nor Peterka are true-bred playmakers, but Reichel is more of a goalscorer from what I’ve seen of his play. Peterka can pick out a seam through the middle to start the rush with a clever pass, but his passing ability shines in those in close situations. Don’t let that take anything away from Peterka’s scoring ability though, as he uses his speed and excellent hands to make defenders look silly.

In the end, regardless of the fact I prefer Reichel over Peterka, JJP would still be a great pick for the Flyers. He has the speed and hands to compete and the NHL level, and coaches will love his tireless work rate. You’re probably looking at a middle-six winger who does the little things right while providing a scoring touch, which if that’s what Peterka develops in to, I’ll take it any day of the week!

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