Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
The moment Jack Peart was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, it became obvious it was the perfect choice. Not just because every draft preview had the player going much earlier than 54th overall, but the defenseman was destined to be a part of the Wild’s future.
At the time, he was the reigning Mr. Hockey, heralded from Grand Rapids, and was absolutely elated when he realized he gets to stay home. Peart already committed to St. Cloud State, so, I mean, why not keep him close and not have to cross state lines to view one of your top defenseman prospects?
While him being From Here is certainly a plus, Peart’s ability on the ice more than warranted the selection. He can control the play from the blue line, moves his feet quick enough to project his skating as top-tier when he turns pro, and has the shot good enough to be a threat on the power play. Just an entire package in his 5-foot-11 frame that fits the modern game of hockey so well.
Peart’s offensive production surely won’t drop any jaws, but it has just been steady enough with no massive drop-off as he climbed through the ranks that he can be considered someone that can provide that spark from the back, if needed. In a similar way to Team USA teammate Brock Faber, Peart’s value isn’t on the stat sheet or in putting up ridiculous numbers that fans can gawk at. He is that modern, sly, two-way defender that is responsible in every zone even if he stands at under 6-feet tall.
And even so, Peart still managed to have the fifth-highest points per game (0.53) among all NCAA defensemen under 19 years old. That certainly has a lot of parameters to make his stats look impressive, but the four names ahead of him — Luke Hughes, Ryan Ufko, Sean Behrens, and Corson Ceulemans — are all top defenseman prospects for their respective teams and considered among the top young blueliners in college hockey. Peart is right there among them.
Roll the Tape
Peart is a joy to watch. Like a waterbug striding his way across the ice, the young blueliner can make offensive plays pop with a quick start as he strides up the ice with incredible vision. One area he does excel at is on the blue line in the offensive zone, with his agility to skate around defenders and a shot powerful enough to make it through.
And sometimes, if given a load of space, he makes the other team pay for doing so.
And maybe it is in a more static position, receiving the puck while standing completely still on the power play, but can quickly see any opportunity to shoot or make a play.
The Wild’s defenseman prospect pool is a little muddled. It might just be recent bias and a disappointing performance as of late, but both Ryan O’Rourke and Carson Lambos were seen to be the leaders among this group. Now, it seems like Peart has suddenly jumped up as a contender to lead the pack with Faber and be in serious contention for a full-time NHL role almost immediately after he doesn’t want to play college hockey anymore.
He will, of course, develop more and utilize his skill set to maybe produce more numbers in his sophomore season at SCSU, but man, Peart just reeks of the professional hockey player stench. In one of his first interviews after being selected, he made it known that he molds his game to be like Jared Spurgeon, and that is obvious. If that’s what he is striving for, then he can be one of the best.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D