Carrying on the family tradition started by his Uncle Bryan, Los Angeles Kings prospect Jake Marchment possesses size, git and toughness — all ingredients desired for a durable career in the National Hockey League.
Drafted in the sixth round (157th overall) by the Kings in 2014, Jake Marchment has come a long way since that day in Philadelphia. The 20-year-old began his OHL career with the Belleville Bulls, where he was able to play on an Olympic ice surface before moving on to the Erie Otters, where he has been since 2014. Since then, Marchment has transformed himself into a jack-of-all-trades type of player, excelling at faceoffs, penalty-killing and even dropping the gloves.
Recently, I spoke with Erie head coach Kris Knoblauch who had plenty of promising things to say about Marchment.
“We like what Jake does very much considering he does pretty much everything,” Knoblauch said. “He is one of our key penalty killers, often plays against other teams top lines, and we rely on him to win a lot of key faceoffs for us. Right now he is one of the top faceoff guys in the entire OHL. Jake also provides our team, which is one of the smallest and youngest in the league, with some much needed size and aggressiveness.”
Knoblauch continued by emphasizing just how integral of a teammate Marchment has been for the Otters.
“Erie has had been at the bottom of the league in fights for the past two seasons, but they do occur on occasion and it is usually Jake in the middle of it,” Knoblauch said. “He is very tough and willing to stick up for his teammates.”
Like any prospect, there are certain areas which need improvement. Knoblauch did not hesitate in pointing out what his 6′ 3, 218-pound tough guy needs to work on.
“The one aspect of the game which Jake needs to work on is his skating,” Knoblauch emphasized. “This is something that takes a long time to correct. Jake has been with us for a year now since we acquired him at the trade deadline from Belleville, and I believe his skating has improved. It is something he will have to continue to work on.”
For Nelson Emerson, the Kings’ Director of Player Development, he is most interested in seeing what Marchment will bring to the table come playoff time.
“We all look forward to watching Jake have a long playoff run in Erie,” Emerson told me. “His faceoffs and timely scoring should be real positive for them as they hope to go deep in the playoffs.”
Knoblauch closed by discussing what Marchment’s strongest attribute is and how he feels he will fare at the pro level.
“Jake is a very smart player. His strongest attribute offensively would be his ability to protect the puck below the goal-line in the offensive zone,” the Erie bench boss noted. “Often players who succeed in junior have trouble having the same kind of success at the pro level because the game is different, but I don’t feel that will be the case with Jake.”
Through 39 games this season, Marchment, a native of Courtice, Ont., is already celebrating a career-high with 16 goals while only two shy of career-high in points with 32 — in 18 fewer games.
His aforementioned uncle, Bryan Marchment, was a 16-year NHL veteran who racked up 2307 penalty minutes. In fact, from watching him as a child, the older Marchment reminded this writer a lot of current King Dustin Brown as he possessed an ability to get under the opposition’s skin while chipping in offensively when needed. In three junior seasons, the younger Marchment has racked up 126 penalty minutes — another reminder of Dustin Brown.
While he is still just one of many prospects looking to crack the big club’s roster soon, Jake Marchment stands out as the type of player that opposing teams love to hate and, because of that, the Los Angeles Kings, or the Ontario Reign, should have an especially fun time competing in the next few years with a player of Marchment’s potential on their side.