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Prospect Update: Jackson LaCombe
By Thomas Harrington
A second-round pick from 2019, Jackson LaCombe just completed his freshman season at the University of Minnesota, playing with fellow Anaheim draft picks Blake McLaughlin and Jack Perbix.
LaCombe had a successful freshman season at Minnesota, playing in all 37 games and scoring three goals and 13 points. LaCombe recorded his first college point in his third career game, which ended up being a two assist performance. His first goal took a little longer. He didn’t score it until January, and then had goals in back to back games in late February. He finished tied for fifth in assists and was eighth in points on Minnesota. On the defensive side of things, LaCombe had over 60 blocked shots. For his efforts, he was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
This coming season, LaCombe will be looking to build on a strong freshman season. After appearing in every game as a freshman, I’d like to see him continue to play in every game for Minnesota going forward. Second, I’d like to see him continue to put up points. He probably won’t score a ton more goals, but if he can be in the top five on the team for assists and points as a defenseman, that will be an excellent sign of his development. If he can do that, he could turn pro next summer. Finally, I’d like to see LaCombe’s defensive game continue to improve. He was playing forward just a few years ago and has only been playing defense for a few seasons. He’s still got a ways to go before he completely adjusts to the defensive side of things, but he took some good steps as a freshman. I’d like to see LaCombe build on those initial steps as a sophomore.
LaCombe is still a few years away from having a shot at the NHL. First, he needs to fully adjust to being a defenseman. If he can do that, and continue to put up points at Minnesota, he’s got a chance to turn pro for the 2021-2022 season. I do expect him to spend that first year in the AHL, and then have a chance at making his NHL debut the following season. He’s a bit of a project, but for a defenseman, LaCombe has a ton of skill. If he can translate that to the NHL, he’ll be a solid second pairing player someday.
LaCombe is currently unsigned and will be until the conclusion of his college career. When he does turn pro, he’ll get the standard entry-level contract and be a restricted free agent once it concludes. If LaCombe’s defensive game has caught up with his offensive skills, he could get a long-term deal, or at least a one-way deal when his entry-level deal is up. If he’s still working on his game in the AHL, then he’d probably get a short, two-way deal.
The next prospect update will be on Mathew Hill.
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November 7th, 2020