Introducing: Jordan Spence - LA Kings Insider

Andre Ringuette/NHLI

Fourth Round, 95th overall: Jordan Spence
Position: D
Shoots: Right
DOB: 2/24/01
Height: 5’10
Weight: 177
Birthplace: Manly, Australia
Hometown: Cornwall, P.E.I.
NHL Central Scouting final ranking: 59 (North American skaters)
NHL Central Scouting midterm ranking: 70
Bob McKenzie final ranking (TSN): 74
Chris Peters final ranking (ESPN): 89
Stats (QMJHL-Moncton): 68 GP, 6-43=49, +11
Stats (U-18-Canada): 7 GP, 1-2=3, +5
Twitter: @jordanjs224

Via NHL.com:

• Spence was named QMJHL rookie of the year in 2018-19 after ranking first among rookie defensemen and fourth among all first-year skaters with 6-43—49 in 68 games. His debut campaign also saw him named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team and awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

• Spence has taken an unconventional path to the NHL Draft. He was born in Sydney, Australia and then his family moved to Osaka, Japan soon after where he learned the game of hockey from his Canadian father. When Spence was 13, the family moved to Cornwall, P.E.I. where he flourished in the minor hockey system despite not being able to speak any English when he first arrived.

• Spence, who has dual citizenship in Canada and Japan, represented Team Canada for the first time at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship (1-2—3 in 7 GP).

• Models his style of play after Bruins defenseman Torey Krug.

Corey Pronman’s final ranking: 82
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Spence intrigued me early on this season as a rookie 17-year-old CHLer getting huge minutes and time on the first power play unit with Moncton right out of the gate. He played well all season, including at the U18s for Canada. I appreciate his hockey sense a lot. Spence shows a lot of poise and vision with the puck. His breakouts relieve pressure well and he can QB power plays at a high level. He skates well, but for a small defenseman, his speed and skill don’t wow me. He has enough speed to skate with pros and turn CHL defenders. At his size, he defended fine this season due to his brain. I think if Spence was just any other prospect he’d be easy to slap a late/bubble pick tag on with his toolkit. However, he played so well this season after not even being in the CHL that you could argue there’s more to come with experience.

McKeen’s final ranking: 106
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Undersized blueliner came on strong in his first season in the ‘Q’. Has had steep learning curve but has come a long way in the last 12 months. Powerplay QB potential.

Future Considerations final ranking:
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As a puck-moving offensive defenseman, Spence’s turns and transitions with the puck are mind-blowing. With his quick feet, he has a good top speed and excellent acceleration. His edgework is amazing and his turns are quick and seamless. Great transition from forward to backward with the puck, which gives more time and space to make the right pass. He always has his head up to find a passing lane and checks every option. He escapes pressure defensively with such ease after recovering a loose puck thanks to his quick stride and great agility. He creates so many zone breakouts and entries with quick passes or by flying through everybody in the neutral zone. He is very poised and makes great decisions quickly under pressure. He loves to start the attack by himself and he moves the puck up the ice well. He escapes pressure nicely and dodges opponents with ease which leads to him creating multiple controlled zone exits and entries. He controls the play at the offensive blue line with his great puck distribution and lateral movement. Despite making some riskier plays, he rarely creates turnovers. He has a very quick shot release that can surprise goalies, but overall his shot is average. He’s more of a playmaker, as he loves to distribute the puck and set up teammates. Has a lot of upside and is everything you want in a defenseman.

Bill Wippert/NHLI

Jordan Spence, on being drafted by Los Angeles:
It’s an amazing feeling. Like, getting my name called at the stage, there’s no words to describe it. You’ve been dreaming to get drafted to the NHL and for it to actually happen is pretty cool.

Spence, on those in the L.A. organization he met with during the draft process:
To be honest, it’s different guys every time. I meet with different people. Obviously, I met with them at combine too, so pretty much during the season I’ve met with them a couple times and then combine was my last time meeting them and then getting drafted by them now is surreal.

Spence, on how he would describe himself as a player:
For me, I would describe myself as an offensive defenseman. For me, I like to jump up into the play when it’s there and just try to create anything that can happen in the offensive zone and try to score.

Spence, on who he tried to mold his game after growing up:
I’m not trying to be biased now, but Drew Doughty was one of my favorite players growing up. And for now, I also watch Torey Krug and try to copy the game after him because he’s also an undersized defenseman and I just want to play like him.

Spence, on being born in Australia:
My dad is Canadian and he used to live in P.E.I., so after I was born in Australia I moved to Japan and pretty much lived there my whole life. When I was 13 my parents decided for us to move back to PEI and yeah, it’s been great.

Spence, on his season with the Moncton Wildcats:
At the start of the season I just wanted to make the team because it was my rookie season, so after that I just wanted to play my game as an offensive defenseman. There was a coaching change, but I don’t think that kind of really changed me as a player. But throughout the season I just wanted to become a better player every game and just with the progress and the improvement I think it was really good.

Spence, on learning from André Tourigny:
He’s quite the guy. He’s very strict with what he’s doing and I really like that. So, that’s why he wants everybody to become pro and I love learning what his advice is and getting some points and some tips on the ice to try and make me improve, so that’s what I like about him.

Spence, on learning to play hockey in a non-traditional hockey market:
For me, I think hockey is growing all over the place. Obviously in Japan, they don’t think they have hockey there, but they actually do. But growing up there and starting to play hockey — first, started playing hockey in Japan — it’s pretty cool. Just going different places, Australia, Japan, Canada, I think it’s pretty cool and that’s going to be part of me for the rest of my life.

Spence, on when and where he started playing:
I started playing hockey when I was five years old. I was in Osaka, Japan.

Spence, on whether he ever played for Japan in any tournament:
No, to be honest, I was never invited to anything, Team Japan, but I did play the province team, Osaka. That was one of the provinces that I made and played, but to be honest, with Team Japan or anything, I didn’t really participate or get invited to that.

Spence, on meeting with the Kings and the impression they left on him:
Yeah, I did meet them a couple of times during the season and obviously during the combine too. I think they liked me that I’m an offensive defensive and I think the game is changing. I don’t think size matters in the game now. Obviously there’s bigger guys, but I think it’s changing to speed and skill and that’s what I bring to the table, so that’s what I’m hoping to bring to the showcase at development camp and rookie camp.

Spence, on what he brings off the ice:
Personally, off the ice, I’m just an outgoing guy and down to earth and communicate with other guys.

Spence, on his dad being one of his first coaches:
I think it really helped that my dad was Canadian too, because he was the one who really coached me in Japan. And when I was young, I would visit PEI during springtime to play spring hockey there. So that’s where I kind of got the groove of what Canadian hockey was and kind of changed my game a little bit to kind of become a Canadian hockey player. That’s what I really did and obviously when I moved to PEI I got more determined and motivated to become a better player.

Spence, on his favorite player growing up:
It’s got to be Drew Doughty because I’ve been a defenseman and I think watching him play, he’s a great player and I hope to see him at the camp and get to know him more.

Spence, on what he would ask Doughty:
To be honest, I don’t know yet. Obviously I would introduce myself, but as we talk I think it’ll kind of pop up, questions and stuff, but right now I would just ask him how LA is and just go from there.

Spence, on whether he has ever visited LA:
No, I haven’t so it will be my first time.

Dave Sandford/NHLI

— Lead photo via Kevin Light/Getty Images