The 2012 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, and the Winnipeg Jets have completed their second go-around in the cupboard-stocking event. And for the second year in a row, the Jets stuck to their list and picked the guys they wanted, regardless of the incredibly talented players still on the board at the time. After watching the Jets pass on Sean Couturier in order to take Mark Scheifele, there was no way the Jets could do the same thing again... or so I thought.
If you follow me on Twitter (@arby_18 if you are interested), you would have seen my utter dismay that we chose Jacob Trouba with the ninth pick. It isn't that I think that Trouba was a bad pick necessarily, as he was ranked pretty much exactly where we chose him (ISS - #5; NHL Central Scouting - #9 NAS; TSN - #9) and I do think he'll be a really nice player for us. In fact, in a year or two I'll probably be cheering his name madly at the MTS Centre. But what bugs me is that we had the consensus Best-Player-Available (BPA) in Filip Forsberg and talent-rich Mikhail Grigorenko fall to us just like Couturier did, yet Chevy and co. stuck to their guns and took the guy they wanted. Were these highly-rated players even on our lists? Did our scouting staff believe that they would be long gone before our pick? Was Trouba actually ranked ahead of Forsberg on our list?
Unfortunately (at least to me), the same thing happened on Day 2 of the Draft. With five more picks to take and plenty of talented players left to be snapped up, the Jets continued to pick the guys they wanted, and in a few cases it looked like they were guessing on complete unknown commodities instead of gambling on known talent. We also seem to like North American kids, who speak English, who have size and grit. Grapes would be so proud. In fact, of the 13 players the Jets 2.0 have selected, exactly zero of them are from overseas. And none are from the QMJHL, either. Why is it that I picture our scouting staff to be the old guys sitting around the table beside Brad Pitt in Moneyball?
On the second day of the draft, it looked like we were playing the low-limit table instead of gambling at the high-risk/high-reward table next door. Without further adieu, let's have a look at the newest 5 Winnipeg Jets. I'll try to be more positive after The Jump...
Lukas Sutter (2nd Round - 39th Overall)
Center / Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Hometown: Lethbridge, AB
NHL Central Scouting (#39 - NAS) - Hockey Prospectus (#97) - ISS (#68)
|2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - Reg. Season
|2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - Playoffs
I was hoping that the Jets would take Radek Faksa in the first round, as I thought we could use more size down the middle with offensive talent. Well, maybe Chevy feels he found that size in Lukas Sutter. But seriously guys - look at his rankings. Could we not have gotten him in the next round? I mean, why would we want a really talented player like Martin Frk? Obviously the Red Wings did, and in about 5 years we will have to hear about how Detroit's scouting staff just keeps finding these players...
Oh right, positive thoughts. After looking at his numbers, it looks like we got a big, solid center-man who can bring some grit and sandpaper. He certainly doesn't appear to be afraid to sit in the penalty box, and his regular-season production was pretty solid. And the Sutter-family has produced some very nice players. I see a really solid 3rd-line player here that could potential peak as a decent 2nd-liner. This looks like a "safe" pick to me. A low-risk pick with a low-ceiling. Wait, that wasn't very positive after all, was it?
Scott Komaschuk (3rd Round - 70th Overall)
Right Wing / Guelph Storm (OHL)
Hometown: Toronto, ON
NHL Central Scouting (#24 - NAS) - Hockey Prospectus (#61) - ISS (#46)
|2011-12 Guelph Storm (OHL) - Reg. Season
|2011-12 Guelph Storm (OHL) - Playoffs
I actually have nothing bad to say about this pick, as I do really like it. Komaschuk seemed to fall to us (which is really nice for a change), as he was ranked higher then this draft position in virtually every ranking that I saw. His regular season numbers certainly looked nice, but his playoff stats look even better. Another guy who seems to like visiting the penalty box, Komaschuk looks to be a nice mix of talent and toughness. And finally, we picked a guy who was actually ranked higher then where he went. Nicely done Chevy! Maybe we can keep it going with our next pick!
Conner Hellebuyck (5th Round - 130th Overall)
Goalie - Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL)
Hometown: Commerce, MI
NHL Central Scouting (N/A)
|W ||L ||OTL ||SO ||GAA ||SV%
|2011-12 Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL) - Reg. Season
|W ||L ||SO ||GAA ||SV%
|2011-12 Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL) - Playoffs
Or not. I looked at a number of different sites for rankings and couldn't find Hellebuyck anywhere. Our scouts must have REALLY liked him... Seriously though, how did they end up in Odessa? Did anyone actually know he was there?
But after looking at the numbers, I've kind of changed my tune. At 6'4 and 185, he's a big body who obviously gets in front of the puck a lot. His save percentage numbers are through the roof, and judging by how high his GAA was it looks he's made a ton of saves. And he also likes to win awards in the NAHL:
Already the 2011-12 "˜Bill & Tracey Nyborg Jackalopes Most Valuable Player', "˜Jackalopes' Rookie of the Year' winner, a 2011-12 NAHL All-Rookie First Team honoree and member of the 2011-12 All-South Division Team, Hellebuyck's five 2011-12 NAHL Awards are the most earned by any NAHL player this season.
Maybe we found a diamond in the rough here. Or maybe we could have gotten him in the 7th round, too. What scares me with this pick is that this was completely off the board, and though it sounds like he has potential it appears to be a gamble on an unknown instead of a gamble on a talented "faller" who's talent has been well documented.
Ryan Olsen (6th Round - #160th Overall)
Center / Saskatoon Blades - WHL
Hometown: Tsawwassen, BC
NHL Central Scouting (#178 - NAS) - Hockey Prospectus (N/A) - ISS (Unknown?)
|2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - Reg. Season
|2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - Playoffs
Central Scouting had Olsen as the 178th best skater... in North America. Our scouts certainly liked the Saskatoon Blades for some reason, as Olsen and Sutter both played there, and it makes me wonder if they liked them simply because they played fairly close to home. By this time in the draft it`s time to take some gambles, but I don`t think this pick was very high-risk/high-reward. Instead, we got another big center from Western Canada who averaged just under a penalty-minute per game. It seemed to me like we left some risky-yet-talented players on the board for another gritty center with size. Hey, maybe he`ll turn into that 4th-line center that we desperately need. But I just don`t see a very high ceiling for Olsen.
Jamie Phillips (7th Round - 190th Overall)
Goalie / Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL)
Hometown: Caledonia, ON
NHL Central Scouting (26 NAG)
|W ||L ||OTL ||SO ||GAA ||Sv%
|2011-12 Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL) - Reg. Season||4
|W ||L ||SO ||GAA ||Sv%
|2011-12 Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL) - Playoffs||5
Another tall goalie with a very high save percentage relative to his GAA. At least Phillips was ranked by Central Scouting. But after drafting Hellebuyck and trading for the rights of Jonas Gustavsson earlier in the day, did we really need another goalie? Taking Phillips instead of gambling on a guy like Anton Slepyshev, Nikita Gusev or Nick Ebert seems way too safe for me, but with our current goaltending situation looking as it does maybe we do need as many goalies in the system as we can get.
After having some time to think about it, I'm still not 100% pleased with these picks but I do feel a bit better about them. Jacob Trouba is going to be a really good defender, but we left so much talent on the board that it frightens me. Having said that, so did Tampa Bay, as they picked Slater Koekkoek right behind us and left Forsberg and Grigorenko there, too. I guess we got the guy we wanted, and he should be a nice player.
But the second day of the draft left a little to be desired. The Lukas Sutter pick just doesn't make that much sense to me, as he went well before his rankings and his ceiling just doesn't appear to be that high. His size and grit is a nice touch I suppose, as is his bloodline, but again I think we left lots of more talented players on the board. At least we counteracted it with the Scott Komaschuk pick at #70. I think that was our best pick of the day.
As for our picks in rounds 5-7, we took two goaltenders that were barely on anyones radar and another big gritty center with limited upside. I can see the direction that Chevy and his staff are going, and it's large and nasty and I don't necessarily dislike that. I just don't understand why we can't take at least one chance on a super-talented kid with whatever issues they may have (KHL, language, attitude) in these late rounds instead of taking the ultra-conservative route.
I will give our management team this, though. Komaschuck is the smallest player we drafted at 5'11, yet he still appears plays a big game. Everyone else is at least 6'0, and both goalies we drafted are over 6'3. I have said in the past that our organization could use an injection of size, so at least we have that now. But at the end of the day, it looks like the guys we took are more of the low-risk/low-reward type. Why we didn't gamble on a high-risk/high-reward player at any point in the draft is beyond me, but perhaps that is why I'm simply blogging about it instead of getting paid to do it.