Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jets All Out Top 25: #14 Zach Bogosian

Zach Bogosian, 21, Defense, 6'3, 215 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #14 Difference: N/A

At Jets All Out, it is more than duly noted that young defenseman Zach Bogosian will play a big part in the new Winnipeg Jets lineup for years to come. That is, when he finally decides to sign with the new club.

With two weeks left before the pre-season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets on September 20th, Zach Bogosian falls in at number 14 on the Top 25.

Before his leap to the NHL, Bogosian starred in Peterborough of the OHL from 2006-2008, scoring a career high 61 points in 60 games in his final year with the Petes. His gritty style of defense made him a worthy draft choice in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

After his second, and subsequently final, year in the OHL, Bogosian was selected third overall by the Atlanta Thrashers and made the jump to professional hockey right away in 2008-09, playing in 47 games for the Thrashers and five for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He chipped in with 19 points in those 47 games, including 47 penalty minutes and a plus 11 rating as a rookie.

After his rookie year, all signs were that he would be a permanent and productive fixture in Atlanta. In his sophomore year, Bogosian notched career highs in points (23), goals (10), assists (13), hits (196), and penalty minutes (61), but his plus/minus suffered as he ended the 2009-10 campaign with a dismal minus 18 rating in 81 games. However, his 196 hits ranked him 22nd in the league in hits.

Bogosian suffered a sophomore slump one year too late in 2010-11. In 71 games, he managed 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), along with 29 penalty minutes and an even more dismal minus 27 rating. His physical play was down as he only had 111 hits, down from 196 the year previous.

Yet, Zach Bogosian only has one way to go - up. His tremendous potential could be finally maximized in the right environment in Winnipeg. An environment that is hockey savvy, committed to winning, as well as having an organization that has made known it will make a winner out of the hockey club in years to come.

As for Bogosian's role on the blueline, it will be all about defense. He has offensive upside, as he put on display in junior, but his defensive game needs to come first. If he can rebound in the physical department from last year's low numbers, he will be amongst the toughest defensemen to play against in the NHL.

And that should be a scary fact for any team - 'cause he's only 21.

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