JP Hurlbert is a Texan who was born in 2008. He’s 36 months away from possibly being drafted in the NHL and a lot closer to having other leagues draft him or having him decide where he wants to play. At this point, after viewing him at the World Youth Championship, I can honestly say that he’s close. I can see the tools.
“It’s been great. I had a lot of fun. It was new competition coming from Texas. All these northeast kids you don’t get to see all the time. I’ve had a blast,” Hurlbert stated.
His most recent stats show that he’s hitting the net at an 85% clip winning 45% of his face-offs. This isn’t a season-long sample size just a snapshot thanks to InStat, but it does show how effective the young pivot can be.
He’s currently playing for the Dallas Stars Elite 14 U AAA and has 112 goals and 195 points in 75 games. Gawdy numbers but this prospect puts in the hard work. He’s not cherry-picking out there.
At 5’10”, 161 pounds, he’s already a very effective player on the ice. He was the best player in the game that I saw and definitely one of the best in the World Youth Championship. He had a two-point game when I was viewing him, and here’s what I saw.
He’s always around the puck. Especially near the net. He was very engaged from start to finish. He has smart dump-ins, good puck possession, and excellent skills on the power play. He did miss the net a few times, but he’s not afraid to shoot. He will cut across the grain on the PP to get the coverage to go to him, opening up lanes for his teammates. Hurlbert knows how to create space. He had a few breakaways but was hacked from behind to try and neutralize him.
Texas has been turning into a hockey hotbed for years now, and Hurlbert echoed that sentiment.
“It’s good. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year. These kids are good. They’re producing hockey players. It’s grown a lot. It’s grown since I was a little squirt. There are more kids at the rink.”
Playing against new talent, lets a player know where they stand.
“It always helps. It’s eye-opening seeing other players and seeing where you’re at,” Hurlbert admitted. “You see what different skills they bring to the table from other countries and other places in the world.”
This center doesn’t worry about playing against other players.
“I think I fare pretty well,” Hurlbert said. “It helps from lifting weights in Texas. Play with your heart. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Hurlbert will go to the net.
“Don’t care. I get a lot of bruises after the game,” Hurlbert mentioned. “It’s like every game. Go to the front of the net. Get a lucky bounce here or there.”
He plays the right side of the power play, and teams must account for him.
“That’s my bread and butter,” Hurlbert said with pride. “I love swinging on the right.”
Like a lot of athletes, he enjoys performing in front of a lot of spectators.
“The more eyes, the more intense the game is; it’s more fun. I feel that’s when the stars shine too like Michael Jordan for example. Every time it was a big game, it was just him,” Hurlbert explained.
He’s currently 15. Next year he’s expecting to play for the Stars Elite 16U team. Keep an eye on this exciting young player.