Our seventh annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings and the staff rankings to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 2, 2019, when the 2019-20 NHL season begins.
When Jaret Anderson-Dolan fell to #41 in the draft, the Jewels from the Crown staff was understandably excited. A center with a reputation for scoring is exactly what this team needs. No one (at least in the Los Angeles Kings organization) cared about his two moms (an ugly rumor as to why he could have possibly fallen so far from being a near-lock for the first round). They only care that this kid can score. And score he does, showing a massive leap in point production from his 16-to-17 and 18-year-old seasons in the WHL. Check out this from EliteProspects.com:
You can see his evolution as a points producing player as he matures. Also, despite missing half the season (partly from injury, partly from being with the Kings), he still managed a very solid 43 points.
One thing that makes him such a standout prospect is his quickness. Last year for JAD’s review, Carlos Feliciano mentioned Anderson-Dolan’s incredible speed.
Before the draft, prospect guru Corey Pronman said, “His skill is slightly above-average, but he makes plays because he’s quick. Quick feet, quick twitches in his hands, quick decisions and a quick shot — yes, there’s a particular adjective that defines this player.”
Pronman has updated his assessment a year later. Ranking him fourth in the Kings system this year, he just about gushes, “He was one of the best players in the WHL this season. He has great speed, plays hard, but I was really impressed this season by the level of skill and playmaking he showed on top of his quality shot.”
Anderson-Dolan joined the Kings for a very brief stint last year, taking in the action from the press box on opening night before making his NHL debut on October 7 versus the Red Wings. However, he was re-assigned back to the CHL just a few short weeks later because the Kings were giant losers and they didn’t want the toxic environment to rub off on a wonderful, impressionable young man.
He by no means looked out of sorts stepping onto the ice with the “big boys” (that is, established NHL players). But it was definitely for the best. The team and organization as a whole seemed to descend into chaos and utter malaise throughout the rest of the season as it became clear that this team does not have the horses to compete and a rebuild is in desperate order. On a personal bright side for him, he got to the World Junior Championships, and although Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinals, Anderson-Dolan did gain valuable leadership experience on the international stage.
Speaking of rebuilding, Anderson-Dolan is widely considered the future of this team and his skill level is enough to consider where in the top-six he should be (especially with the mystery of Jeff Carter’s career falling off a cliff). He’ll be joining the Ontario Reign this year, so it’ll be really exciting to see what Mike Stothers does with him for a year. If last season was any indication, it’s unlikely that JAD will see much (if any) NHL time this year, but then, Rob Blake did say he was only planning on two years for a rebuild so it’s entirely possible that he’s recalled throughout the year, especially with injury situations.
And now, for something completely different: the voting breakdown:
Just like with everyone else, the votes were all over the place for JAD. The general consensus among the writers was definitely top-10 and it seems like most of the readers agreed as well. Personally, I’m very curious about the people who ranked him in the bottom-20. Like, did they just forget he existed? With all the shiny new prospects that were just drafted, did his stock fall in their eyes in the last two years? Was the Kings’ garbage season somehow a reflection on him? I have questions! But alas, no answers.