Jake Pivonka is a 6-0, 198-pound pivot who has a bright future. He’s already committed to Notre Dame and he will surely get selected in the upcoming 2018 NHL Entry Draft. His dad is Michal, and 30 years ago he played in the Stanley Cup Finals, as a member of the Washington Capitals.
“My family is obviously cheering for them. Going forward it’s pretty neat to see Alex Ovechkin in it. How hard he’s worked to get to this point the last 10 years,” Pivonka stated. “It’s good to see him have that chance. To finally have a shot at the Cup rather than be eliminated by Pittsburgh. It’s something special for sure if they’re able to get their first one.”
While playing for the NTDP in this, his second season there, he had 20 points in 59 games. He was a top-9 player all year for them. I’d seen him on the first line and on the third line. He’s the kind of player you could match up against a top player of the opposing team because of his physical strength and hockey I.Q.
“I think it’s something special. Given a chance to represent your country isn’t something you can take likely. Being there for two years you form a bond,” said Pivonka. “The game schedules as well as the practices give you as much time as possible to develop. You’re given the resources to make what you can of yourself, especially the shooting room (it has synthetic ice).”
Pivonka has fast reflexes and good technique on face-offs. He weaves away from defenseman and possesses a quick wrist shot. He may not be a sniper but he’ll be a contributor and a solid 200-foot player.
“Strength wasn’t a big issue for me going in, but I think I gained 10 pounds through the course of it. Adding that muscle you need at the next level and just fine tuning how you do certain exercises.” Pivonka stated.
Next year he’ll be at the University of Notre Dame playing for a legendary coach, Jeff Jackson.
“With the location it’s about an hour and 40 minutes from my home in Chicago,” he said, knowing his parents will be attending his home games. “The facilities are brand new after they upgraded. Since then they’ve positioned themselves as a powerhouse hockey team along with their other sports. That kind of drew me there along with coach Jackson.”
Pivonka thinks one of his teammates should be getting more press as the NHL Combine is looming.
“The most underrated is Spencer Stastney. As a defenseman he’s an extremely smooth skater. He’s got a great head for hockey. He sees plays that most guys wouldn’t think to look for.”
Teams have Pivonka on their radar. He can impress many of them during the interview part of the combine as we as the physical testing. Something tells me he’s ready for that.