Jets vs Thrashers – Drafting and Developing

cheveldayoff-press-conference

People seem to criticize the Jets on everything they do. Typically it seems people say Kevin Cheveldayoff hasn’t done anything for the Jets, right?

Not at all.

The mess of a franchise that the Jets inherited from Atlanta was not ready to compete for the playoffs. That’s fine. 

Maybe they have some good prospects? Not exactly.

The Thrashers were not the best at drafting, for instance:

In 2003, the Thrashers drafted Brayden Coburn instead of Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corry Perry.

In 2005, the Thrashers drafted Alex Bourret instead of Martin Hanzal, T.J Oshie and Tukka Rask. Bourret is 27 years old and has not played one NHL game.

In 2008 The Thrashers drafted Zach Bogosian over Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson and Canadian gold medallist defenceman Alex Pietrangelo .

The facts are obvious; the Thrashers were not the best at selecting prospects. 

In three drafts, the Jets have already had success.

They have drafted prospects from rounds 1-7 that have already started to show progress. Two of the Jets’ prospects – Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele – are showing fans that Kevin Cheveldayoff and Jets management made the right choice in selecting the two stud prospects.

Jets prospects in the system

Nic Petan

The Jets drafted Petan in the second round at the 43rd pick at the 2013 draft.

In the last two seasons, Nic Petan has been a point machine in the WHL. In 2013 he notched 120 points in 71 games. This year, he has 110 points in 61 games.

Petan stands at 5’9″ and 165 lbs, certainly not your average NHL player’s size.

Despite his size, Petan has the ability to play bigger than his frame and he is not afraid to go in the dirty areas to score goals. He has a great shot and a lighting quick release. Petan will be an exciting player in the NHL one day. But due to his size, he might need some seasoning in the minors before he can play with the big boys.

That isn’t to say small players can’t be successful in the NHL. All stars Martin St. Louis and Patrick Kane are both under 6 feet.

Adam Lowry

The Jets drafted Adam Lowry in the third round with the 67th pick.

Standing at 6’5″, you can’t miss Adam Lowry. The reigning WHL Player of the Year plays the game with force.

Lowry is a good player in both zones. He started out his WHL career playing wing but he has converted to centre recently and it’s worked out for him.

Having a big body like Lowry as a center for the Jets for years to come will be great.

He is a powerful skater, he uses the body very well against other players and he can win battles. At every level he has played he has shown he has natural goal scoring ability.

The Jets are not deep at centre, but I don’t think they are in a position where they would rush Lowry.

They don’t want to make the mistake Atlanta did with some of their prospects.

It might take time but being patient with player development has shown to be a good thing for some players. Scheifele and Trouba took their time and they have been great contributors in there rookie seasons.

Eric Comrie

Jets fans are starting to get frustrated with the Jets’ goalie situation. Ondrej Pavelec just can’t seem to get the job done.

The Jets could have a goalie superstar in the coming years and my money is on Eric Comrie to be that guy.

The Jets drafted Eric Comrie in the 2013 draft with the 59th pick.

In Comrie’s three WHL seasons, he has been a star on the Tri-City Americans. When Comrie was 16 he came in to the WHL with a bang posting a 19-6-2 record.

Comrie could be the Jets’ starting goalie one day, but until then he needs to gain some weight.

He is 6’0″ and 175 lbs. Bulking up will be key for Comrie. He has great lateral movement side to side, which really helps him shine in a game.

J.C Lipon

J.C Lipon went undrafted his first two years of draft eligibility. But when he was 20, he shined for the Kamloops Blazers. He even made an appearance at the World Juniors for Team Canada.

Lipon is a smart offensive player who plays with an edge and with grit.

The Jets took a chance on the tough forward and drafted him with the 91st pick.

He was assigned to the St. John’s Icecaps and has continued his tough style of play. Lipon has 24 points (9G & 24A) and 100 penalty minutes.

Lipon works extremely hard and he has shown his determination through his play. Though he is not the tallest player, his aggressiveness helps him continue his gritty style of play. Lipon may need to bulk up to play that style of play in the NHL.

I say Lipon could make the jump at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, by then I presume he will have crafted his game more.

Brendan Kichton

The story of Brendan Kichton is not a typical one but it’s a feel good story. Kichton put up stellar numbers during his time with the Spokane Chiefs.

The New York Islanders drafted him in 2011 in the fifth round.

They did not sign him to an offer sheet so he automatically re entered the NHL draft.

In the seventh round of the NHL draft, the Jets took a chance on the 20 year old and he has been impressive in his rookie season with the St Johns Icecaps. He has 43 points (10G & 33A) in 61 games.

People questioned his defensive instincts and ability coming in to the season.

It is apparent he has a lot of work to do in that part of his game but during the course of the season he has improved but he is still a full season in the AHL away from being ready to make the jump to the NHL.

Josh Morrissey

Morrissey was drafted by the Jets 13th overall in the 2013 NHL draft.

He was an unknown to Jets fans; he didn’t receive as much hype as other prospects.

Then again, neither did Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba, and how’s that turned out so far?

Morrissey possesses a lot of talent and tools to become a good offensive defenseman in the NHL.

He is an exceptional skater who can provide plenty of offence from the back end. He might not be the biggest player but his aggressiveness and grit is still of high praise.

Very good hockey IQ.

He will need to bulk up to succeed at the next level. Morrissey might not be in the Jets lineup for quite some time, but if he can convert the good parts of his game from junior in to the NHL, he could have a successful NHL career.

Conclusion

Cheveldyaoff is a man with a plan. It’s solely based on drafting and developing and in today’s NHL that is how you build a team. The Chicago Blackhawks are a powerhouse in the league and their two stars – Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews – were drafted and developed by the team.

Cheveldayoff has done the best he can with this club in terms of prospects.

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A High School Student who loves the game of hockey but especially the Winnipeg Jets, you can follow me on twitter at @officialjetfuel.