Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jets Continue To Build Strong, Deep At 2012 NHL Draft

Lukas Sutter became the Jets second round pick and 11th Sutter family member drafted.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)

After the dust settled at Consol Energy Centre Saturday morning, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff felt the Jets added some essential parts to their organization through the team's second draft since relocating to Winnipeg.

In 2011, the Jets drafted quite equally across the board, picking up a player in every position - three forwards, three defense, and a goalie.

This draft saw the Jets load up more up front and in the net after drafting highly touted defenseman Jacob Trouba with the ninth overall pick. (For more on Trouba, see 'Jets Win Big With Trouba')

Overall, the Jets have added a touch of scoring, a touch of grit, and have nabbed a few players who have received honours for their play and have been accepted to play at prestigious universities in the NCAA next season.

One of those is goalie Jamie Philips, who was received the Top Prospects Award for a goalie by the OHA after finishing the 2011-12 OJHL season with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens.

Philips, listed at 6'2, went 4-4-2 with one shutout alongside a 3.11 goals against average and a .917 save percentage in 11 games this season.

He added a 5-5 playoff record with a 2.99 goals against average and a sparkling .932 save percentage.

The Caledonia, Ontario native has committed to playing for the Michigan Tech Huskies next season.

The Jets other goaltending selection Connor Hellebuyck is committed to playing NCAA hockey for the UMass-Lowell River Hawks.

Selected 130th overall by the Jets, Hellebuyck, a native of Commerce, Michigan and listed at 6'4, was 26-21-5 with a 2.49 goals against average and a .930 save percentage in 53 games for the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League.

Aside from the stats, Hellebuyck garnered many awards in the NAHL this past season including the Bill & Tracy Nyborg Jackalopes' MVP, Jackalopes' Rookie of the Year, NAHL All-Rookie First Team, and the 2011-12 All-South Division Team.  Not bad for a goalie who is on his way to the NCAA next season.

Aside from goalies, the Jets nabbed two centres and a winger with their remaining three picks.

Jets second round pick Lukas Sutter.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Lukas Sutter, picked 39th overall, was a very enthusiastic pick as was Scott Kosmachuk at 70th overall.  Both players fit the mold of a Cheveldayoff player in that they had great intensity, skill, size, grit, and most importantly character.

Sutter just finished his second full season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League.  He played in 70 games this season netting 28 goals and 31 assists alongside 165 penalty minutes and a plus 15 rating.

It's a big increase in points as he had only 19 points in 71 games the season prior.

Sutter becomes the eleventh Sutter family member to be drafted into the NHL and the first by the Jets.

He possesses grit and a nose for the net but still needs to refine his skating as he looks to his third season in Saskatoon as one of the leading centremen.

Jets third round pick Scott Kosmachuk.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Kosmachuk, who finished his second full season with the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm, put up respectable numbers at right wing scoring 30 goals and adding 29 assists for 59 points in 67 games alongside 110 penalty minutes and a minus 10 rating.

He added five points in the Storm's first round, six game exit at the hands of the Plymouth Whalers.

His post-draft interviews showed a bubbling exuberance for the game and tapes of his play show that he possesses the raw talent and needs more time for seasoning in juniors and the minors when the time comes.

Both Sutter and Kosmachuk are listed at or over 6'0.

Lastly, the Jets picked up Sutter's teammate in Saskatoon, 6'2 centreman Ryan Olsen.

Olsen, a native of Delta, BC, netted 32 points in 67 games with the Blades and had 64 penalty minutes with a minus twelve rating.

Jets sixth round pick Scott Olsen.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
As the 160th pick, Olsen will take some time to develop as will the other forwards, but his rise in production has been somewhat steady as he increased his point output from 14 points the year before to 32.

Overall, the Jets seemed to have more of an agenda heading into the 2012 NHL Draft.

They identified defense as their strength and added to it with a top ten pick in Trouba, who will likely become a major piece in the future as he possesses both size and physicality.

As for the remaining players, the Jets also identified their need to grow the depth of their goaltending and added well to that with two still developing netminders.

And finally, the three forwards pick addressed their need for size up the middle (Olsen 6'2, Sutter 6'0) and grit (two of the three had 100+ penalty minutes last season).

Another interesting point is the Jets took all North American players, which has been a trend that continued from last draft as the Jets did not take a single European in the 2011 Entry Draft either.

In 2011, the Jets selected six Canadian players and one American, while this draft they selected three Canadians (Kosmachuk was born in Toronto) and three Americans (Sutter was born in St. Louis but played his AAA hockey in Lethbridge).

Whatever the reason for the Jets decision, the Jets have added well to their organizational depth this draft and continue to build momentum for the future.

1 comment:

  1. They definitely added depth, but I am not sure they added a single piece of top 6 depth which is probably the systems biggest need. I really like Kosmachuk and Dunbar, but I am not sure Sutter has the upside you'd expect from a 2nd round pick.

    Realistically, his upside is probably closer to Jim Slater than he is to a top 6 forward.