The Florida Panthers selected forward Jayce Hawryluk with the 32nd overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The undersized 5’11 sniper endured a highly successful four-year career in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In Jayce’s final season with the Wheat Kings (15-16), he produced a sensational slash line of 47G, 59A, for a total of 106 points, all while participating in solely 58 WHL contests.
Moreover, Hawryluk registered an impressive plus/minus rating of +59, as well as 29 points in the 2016 WHL playoffs.
Jayce dominated the WHL, proving he was an incredibly talented two-way player despite being fairly undersized. Hawryluk began his professional hockey career with the Springfield Thunderbirds in the 2016-17 AHL season.
He’s experienced some struggles in terms of adjusting and adapting to a completely different league with substantially better skill level. Despite the growing pains, Hawryluk’s rookie season was still somewhat productive offensively, recording a respectable tally of 9G, 17A, for 26 points in 47 games.
Hawryluk has shown signs of life and resurgence during the 2017-18 AHL season, making vast improvements and producing career-high marks.
In 64 AHL contests, Hawryluk recorded a decent, yet improved line of 10G, 26A, for 36 points on the year. Jayce didn’t experience a sophomore slump and demonstrated his passing and scoring abilities quite effectively.
The 2018-19 pro-hockey season seemed like a promising one for Hawryluk, as the talented winger possessed relatively high chances of cracking the opening night lineup. However, Hawryluk was demoted toward Springfield following the conclusion of the preseason.
Despite the disappointing demotion, Jayce Hawryluk produced spectacular numbers, registering a dominant tally of 7G, 21A, for 28 points in only 25 AHL games played (over PPG pace).
Hawryluk proved he longer belonged in the AHL and earned himself a well-deserved call-up. The leading point getter of the Thunderbirds was called up along with former 1st round Finnish phenom Henrik Borgstrom.
Quite frankly, Hawryluk’s play has been rather eye-opening and impressive. The recently turned 23-year-old has respectably recorded 3 goals in a total of 10 games while averaging a mere 8:01 ATOI nightly.
Hawryluk has also displayed his physicality and toughness at the NHL level, producing a total of 25 hits and 5 blocked shots.
Hawryluk’s numbers validate the fact he deserves significantly more ice time as well as an elevated role (3rd line rather than 4th line who plays sparingly between the two).
Moreover, the Canadian native has earned himself a spot on the Florida Panthers roster for the remainder of the 2019 NHL season. Jayce’s emergence and offensive production have contributed toward two major victories this season (two-goal performance in a W against the Chicago Blackhawks and the game-tying goal in a W against the Detroit Red Wings).
He provides loads of energy on the offensive end of the ice and certainly adds a physical punch as well. He also consistently creates a plethora of scoring chances in the offensive zone in incredibly limited playing time.
Hawryluk’s dynamic offensive abilities – coupled with his spectacular forechecking prowess – convey that he belongs on the top 9 forward unit for the Panthers moving forward.
The future undoubtedly seems quite bright for Jayce Hawryluk, but the Florida Panthers shouldn’t hinder the rookie’s development by allocating him 6-7 minutes per night alongside unskilled linemates.
By having an elevated role in the Panthers offense – specifically a spot on FLA’s third line – Jayce Hawryluk could potentially maximize his potential as well as fully develop into a consistent 10-15 goal scorer for the Florida Panthers for years to come.