Possible Surprise #1 J.F. Jacques? by Justin Lepper

At 6’4 and 220+ lbs Jaques is the kinda guy you don’t want to piss off. He throws around his big frame in traffic, is like a school bus in front of the net and has shown the ability to skittle with the puck and make some plays from time to time. But lets face it- he isn’t burning anyone. To make a fair comparison, Jacques is like a Penner clone without the offence. All that said, should we expect Jacques to surprise a few people in terms of offensive production?

A tad slow in a line but yet surprisingly quick off the hop, Jacques’ biggest asset to making this club is his size. He’s an average skater, average stick handler and an above average minor leaguer. His injury history holds nothing major to worry over, but overall he's missed a fair share of time during his pro career -- the most games he’s ever played was 75 with Edmonton/Hamilton in 05/06.

Further to that, Jacques has scored 20 goals and 52 points in 68 games over the last three seasons in the AHL. On the other hand, his NHL production has left something to be desired, with a single goal in 60 career games. So if he makes the big club, how much production can we expect?

Even though Jacques will crack the line-up against the Flames on Wednesday playing along side Hemsky and Horcoff, we shouldn't jump the gun and expect him to produce with top 6 minutes based on the numbers he's provided thus far. Jacques wasn’t a point-per-game guy in juniors until his last season with Baie-Comeau Drakkar and that won't change playing first line minutes in the NHL.

A third line role is a ceiling expectation for Jacques with an optimistic 6-15 goal potential for offense. If he displays a knack for winning puck battles and being conscious in his own zone, he could very well win a spot on an Oilers squad that’s desperate for grit and size, but it's much more realistic to expect the following in terms of production.

Optimistic Potential:

65 GP 10 G 15 A 25 P +/- -5 PIMS 120

On a side note, what potential waiver wire castoffs would you like to see the Oilers pick up? With most teams pressed against the cap there are sure to be some surprises as teams optimise line combinations and roster spots for October.


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