Greg Japchen became the latest in a line of talented prospects to sign on for the Knights 2018-19 campaign. The 2001-born defenseman agreed to a tender that was finalized today. Already committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA DI-NCHC) Japchen has drawn the attention of the hockey world for his highly-valued skillset.
“I’m a puck-moving defenseman,” said Japchen of his playing style. “I can skate the puck up ice and and I have the speed to make plays.”
“Greg is a highly-skilled defenseman that sees the ice extremely well,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His stick and mobility make him one of the top 2001 birth year defensemen in the nation. We are very excited to have Greg part of the Knights organization.”
A native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Japchen has already given the Knights a preview of his high-ceiling. The left-handed defenseman joined the team for a road contest against the Philadelphia Rebels in mid-January. He didn’t disappoint.
“I thought he played well,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “I think he showed us why he’s such a sought-after talent. In a game against one of our better opponents, it was exciting to see that he didn’t look out of place out there.”
“Playing with the Knights, it was easy to see they’re a quick, skilled team,” said Japchen. “They have some really fast forwards up front, and strong goal tending. The Rebels were a fast team too. They skate to the puck hard, they play a good game. Being able to play junior hockey has given me a good idea of the pace of that level. You have to be able to pick your head up and make decisions with the puck quickly. It’s helped me to get faster and improve my overall skillset.”
Japchen will finish 2017-18 with the Philadelphia Junior Flyers 16U program before preparing for next season. Through 31 games, he has recorded three goals and six assists. That does not include his game with the Knights, as well as one game in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. The 16-year old is confident he’ll be ready for whatever opportunity comes his way.
“Over the summer I plan on getting bigger, stronger, and faster,” said the 5-11, 175 lbs defenseman. “I want to focus on skill and stick-handling-things of that nature as I work to improve my game.”
The Knights are excited to welcome Greg to the organization and look forward to following his hockey career!