The Washington Capitals selected center Jake Karabela from the OHL’s Guelph Storm with the 149th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on Friday.
Karabela is listed at 5’11″ and 172 pounds. The 18-year-old, a native of Guelph, Ontario, posted 12 goals, 33 points, and a +14 rating in 68 games last season and two goals, four points, and a -8 rating in five playoff games.
Karabela was ranked 62nd among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 76th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
“Jake is a gifted two way forward that plays the game with pace, can create offensively through his ability to see the ice and the ability to finish on his own. It is always unique when an organization is able to add a young homegrown player.”
Karabela was a star on the U16 AAA Guelph Jr. Gryphons in 2019-20, and one of my favourite players coming out of the SCTA in the 2020 OHL draft. He is still a dangerous offensive player whose hallmark is his awareness and ability to read defensive coverages and slip into high danger scoring areas in the offensive zone.
Karabela’s best attributes are his hockey IQ and awareness. He is always surveying the ice and knows how to read defensive coverages to slip in between checks.
Karabela’s awareness in transition is also strong and he is a good neutral zone defender because of it.
I believe Karabela’s best asset is his hockey IQ. He reads the ice extremely well, is constantly aware of where everyone on the ice is, and his ability to recognize where the open space and how the play can develop puts him in prime areas. Those qualities also help him in the neutral zone. He recognizes where his positioning needs to be to break up the oppositions transition, he anticipates very well and he’s quick enough to jump into lanes to break up a play.
However, he Karabela doesn’t show the same anticipation and awareness in his own zone. He will sometimes lose his coverage, but I think I have a reason behind that. Karabela will sometimes play in the middle, and sometimes play on the wing. I think he is better suited down the middle. But when he is on the wing, he just doesn’t know where to be in defensive coverage. He usually reverts to what he knows and that is the centers job.
His “next best” asset is his playmaking skills. As mentioned, he sees the ice very well and identifies his best options in a split second. He is patient with the puck, can draw defenders towards him and elude the check with strong starts and stops and solid edgework to by his teammates time to get into scoring positions.
I’m pretty confident that once Karabela is fully developed he can find a job in the NHL as a third line playmaking center who can put up some offense and even play the wall on the powerplay.
Karabela will likely be at the team’s development camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia next week.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 8, 2022
The Capitals took left-wing Ivan Miroshnichenko 20th overall, defenseman Ryan Chelsea 37th, left-wing Alexander Suzdalev 70th, and center Ludwig Persson 85th. They also have picks 181 and 219 remaining, barring any trades.
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