|DENVER CO - FEBRUARY 23: Jay McClement #16 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center on February 23 2011 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)|
Mention Jay McClement's name to anyone in the know around the NHL, and you'll get the same response: he's one of the best defensive forwards in the game right now. In the 2009-2010 season, McClement logged over 300 minutes on the penalty kill, good for 4th most in the league and tops for all forwards. He led the league in shorthanded face-offs, both taken and won, and helped make the St. Louis Blues the best penalty-killing team in the NHL. That season, his team relied upon his defensive skills heavily as he took 58% of his face offs in the defensive zone. Even more impressive, in November 2010, McClement went 11-for-11 in face offs in a game against the Nashville Predators. Clearly, you need look no further than the 28-year-old center to see how a forward should play defense.
Jay McClement was born on March 2, 1983 in Kingston, Ontario. He was Brampton Battalion's first pick (2nd overall) in the 1999 OHL Priority Selection draft. He spent the next four years playing for the Battalion, already developing his reputation for hockey smarts and on-ice responsibility. In 2001, Bob Chery of Hockey's Future wrote, "If anyone were to write a textbook or make a video of how a young prospect should play the game of hockey, especially in this era of a defence-first NHL, they could do worse than use...Jay McClement as an example."