Next up in our 2023 annual prospect review and forecast series is Jake Karabela, forward for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page or right here.)
The Washington Capitals selected Karabela from the OHL’s Guelph Storm in the 5th round (149th overall pick) of the 2022 NHL Draft. Karabela, who turned 19 in March, is listed at 5’11″ and 172 pounds. He remains unsigned by the Capitals.
Karabela was a star on the U16 AAA Guelph Jr. Gryphons in 2019-20, and a favorite coming out of the SCTA in the 2020 OHL draft, recording 27 goals and 23 assists in just 32 regular season games and another six goals in the postseason.
After a year away from hockey due to the Covid pandemic, Karabela’s first season in the OHL was fairly decent, notching 12 goals and 33 assists in 68 games played.
Karabela’s goal scoring was up slightly in his second season with the Storm, recording 18 goals in 68 regular season games and three goals in six postseason games but his assists and overall total points were down for the 2022-23 season.
2022-2023 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Jake Karabela during the 2022-2023 season. Also included are his monthly scores (0-5, with 2.5 being average). You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Karabela played left wing on the first and second lines and center on the third line in the first few preseason games for the Storm. Then Karabela departed for Washington to participate in Capitals rookie camp and main training camp. He was returned to Guelph on September 26 and opened his OHL campaign starting at 1LW on September 30.
Karabela started the campaign on the first penalty kill unit and second power play unit. In fact, his first tally of the season was a short-handed tally on September 30.
#ALLCAPS Jake Karabela’s first of the season is a shortie. pic.twitter.com/SUZOn4ed3r
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) October 1, 2022
Karabela potted his third goal of the season on October 30 against North Bay Battalion.
What an absolute laser form the @Capitals prospect! 😱
Jake Karabela opens the scoring for @Storm_City with an unreal snapshot 🎥 pic.twitter.com/p3SEOhMzs0
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) October 30, 2022
Karavela finished the month with three goals and three assists in 13 games played and was a -11 on a struggling Storm team.
The Guelph Storm’s head coach Scott Walker stepped down due to health reasons in the first week of October.
Monthly Score: 3.0
Karabela has cooled off in November, recording just two goals and an assist in 11 games played for the Month.
PUT IT ON THE HIGHLIGHT REEL KARABELA!! pic.twitter.com/twWYXC8O5H
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) November 19, 2022
Watching six of his games this month, Karabela is partly a victim of playing for the underperforming Guelph Storm. Still, his game has noticeably slowed as the month progressed in the games watched.
Monthly Score: 2.0
Each season we have a prospect or two that play on bad teams, which clouds the analysis somewhat. This season it looks like Jake Karabela and the Guelph Storm will fall into the category. The storm are 13-18-3-1 and have struggled mightily in the month of December.
Karabela did manage to record four goals and two assists in 11 games for the month of December. Karabela scored his 6th of the season on December 10.
JAKE KARABELA BACKHANDS IT IN FOR HIS 6TH OF THE SEASON #StormCity | @Capitals pic.twitter.com/ZeLRQMhzJg
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) December 11, 2022
Karabela scored his last goal of the month on December 28 against the Windsor Spitfires.
JAKERRRRR#StormCity | @Capitals pic.twitter.com/z98JT9vUpN
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) December 29, 2022
Karabela has nine goals and nine assists in 35 games played so far this season, but is a -23 for the season, if you value that stat at all.
As for his game performances, in the four games we watched in December, Karabela seemed invisible at times (possibly a reflection of the team) but did surface for a big goal here and there.
Karabela’s skating continues to impress and his shot certainly looks next-level at times, although he only has 50 shots on the season (18%). We need to see more shots, but again, that’s also likely a reflection of the team. Regardless, it’s way too early to formulate any kind of potential upside/ceiling projection for Karabela at this point.
Monthly Score: 2.0
Karabela heated up in the month of January. It was his best month so far in the 2022-23 campaign. He recorded five goals and five assists in 10 games played in January.
JAKERRRR IN THE SLOT #StormCity | @Capitals pic.twitter.com/Xx5DBrKGgD
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) January 22, 2023
On the down side, Karabela is a -28, on an average Guelph Storm team that is 20-20-4-1 at the start of February.
Karabela with the moves @Capitals 👀@Storm_City forward @JakeKarabela extends Guelph’s lead to three with a shorthanded beauty! 🎥 pic.twitter.com/mUE6t8WPVx
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 12, 2023
Karabela has noticeably upped his game in the four games we watched in the month of January. Again, just 18, his ceiling is still somewhat still to be determined, but January was very encouraging. His skating is above average, and his shot is potentially NHL-worthy at this point in his development.
ARE YOU SERIOUS!? TIE GAME KARABELA!!! 🤯🚨#StormCity | @Capitals pic.twitter.com/GWOjXdWSbF
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) January 29, 2023
For the season, Karabela has 14 goals and 14 assists in 45 games played. He’s shot the puck just 63 times for a 22.2% shooting percentage on the season. He needs to shoot more. He will most likely spend next season also in the OHL unless a move to Europe is deemed more appropriate for his development.
Monthly Score: 3.5
Karabela had four goals in the month of February, with two of those tallies coming in the last two games of the month. His last goal of the month was an overtime game-winner against the London Knights.
JAKE KARABELA IS THE HERO!!! 🤯🚨
STORM BEAT THE KNIGHTS 4⃣-3⃣ IN OVERTIME!#StormCity | @Capitals pic.twitter.com/41UXt126Eu
— Guelph Storm (@Storm_City) February 26, 2023
“That’s playoff hockey. Everything down the line’s playoff hockey. You’ve got to prepare for the playoffs and I think that was a good example of it,” Karabela said.
“We didn’t have a lot of shots, but I think we controlled the puck very well in the offensive end and played well in our own end the first two periods … solid, solid play,” Karabela said.
Karabela, still just 18, continues to struggle to generate shots, and at times is unnoticeable on the ice in the four games we watched in February. When he becomes a consistent part of the play in a game he is formidable and his shot continues to impress.
Karabela now has 18 goals and 19 assists in 57 games played so far this season. He’s shot the puck just 84 times for a 22.6% shooting percentage. He is a whopping -24 for the season.
Monthly Score: 2.5
Karabela cooled off quite a bit down the stretch of the regular season. He went without a single goal in the month of March and added just two assists in 11 games played.
Watching three of his games this month, it’s fairly clear he’s hit a wall, which is not that unusual for 18 year olds. For the season, he has 18 goals and 21 assists in 68 games played.
Karabela and the Guelph Storm begin their OHL postseason run with a first round series against the Sarnia Sting on March 31 in Sarnia.
Monthly Score: 1.5
MONTHLY SCORE SUMMARY
Karabela’s slight downturn in scoring this season is not a real concern at this stage in his development, as it could be argued he was playing on a weaker team this year. He did go the last 11 games of the regular season without a goal which could signify tiring in the season, although he did add three goals in the postseason.
Karabela was hit or miss in the 21 games we watched of his this season. Some nights he would show he’s a quality two-way player, involved in the play at both ends of the ice, but on other night’s he seemed much less involved in the play. Karabela’s skating continues to impress and his shot certainly looks next-level at times. Consistency should be one of his top goals for the 2023-24 season.
By Jon Sorensen
Capitals Select Center Jake Karabela 149th Overall In 2022 Draft
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