OHL Prospect Profile: Matthew Jovanovic
– Matthew Jovanovic –
Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) | Defence | 2020 OHL Draft Eligible
Toronto, Ontario | 6’1″, 185-pounds | September 22nd, 2004
The 2019-20 season has been a tumultuous one for the Toronto Marlboros, as the team has battled to attain consistency in their game. One player, however, who has been nothing short of solid on a nightly basis is defenceman Matthew Jovanovic — a mobile and intelligent prospect who can drive his game’s transition game with relative ease. Moreover, given his calculated play and intimidating size, Jovanovic was selected to represent Team Canada at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games — a glaring indication of Jovanovic’s future potential in the game.
With this being said, let’s discuss Jovanovic’s game in greater detail.
- Skating Speed, Mobility and Agility
- Puck Handling and Composure
- On-Ice Vision and Intelligence
- 200-Foot Play and Defensive Responsibility
- Playmaking and Offensive Ability
Regardless of the Marlies’ opponent on any given night, it is downright impossible to ignore the play of Jovanovic on Toronto’s back end. The first glaring aspect of Jovanovic’s game is his ability to skate, as the youngster features a smooth and effortless stride which he uses to navigate the ice with absolute ease. Able to reach his top speed in a few short strides and able to change directions while maintaining his velocity, Jovanovic can smother attacking forwards in his defensive zone without issue or lead an offensive rush up ice owing to his shifty nature on his skates. Once he gets moving, Jovanovic is incredibly difficult to stop and especially so when in control of the puck — he stands calm and composed while in possession and rarely commits turnovers owing to his ability to read and react to the play in front of him.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 22, 2020
This impressive level of vision and intelligence at both ends of the ice fuels Jovanovic’s all-around play, as the youngster is equally capable in his defensive and attacking zones. Defensively, Jovanovic utilizes an active stick and his quick feet in order to smother opposing players before dislodging the puck — he uses his 6’1″, 185-pound frame incredibly well to separate the puck from his attackers before transitioning the puck to his forwards. Having done so, however, Jovanovic won’t watch from afar as the play develops in front of him — he plays an eager role on the offensive side of the puck to and loves to contribute to his team’s offence. Given his fleet-footed nature, Jovanovic is a natural on the blue and can command possession of the puck for his team as an anchor on its blue line.
Areas for Improvement:
- Shot Penetration
- Shooting Frequency
Since Jovanovic stands as one of the top defencemen eligible for the upcoming 2020 OHL Draft, there aren’t dramatic areas in need of improvement within his game. Of note, however, could be the youngster’s shooting frequency and his ability to push the puck through traffic. As he continues to rise to higher levels of hockey, Jovanovic would do well to focus on his ability to pound the puck on goal from the point — he features the mobility necessary to create shooting lanes and the strength required to fire the puck on net and create rebounds. If able to do this with a greater frequency, Jovanovic will create greater offensive opportunities for his team and inflate his personal statistics as a result.
Ultimately, Jovanovic boasts the skill set necessary to thrive at the OHL-level and beyond. As it stands, Jovanovic is ready to suit up at the major-junior level — the youngster’s skating ability, intelligence, vision, and strength already stand leaps and bounds above his fellow teammates and opposition in the minor-midget circuit. Come the 2020 OHL Draft, expect Jovanovic to be selected late in the opening round or mid-way through the second round — the Toronto native’s game is simply that good.