Winnipeg Jets Pool Party: Ranking the Teams Top Prospects

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For avid hockey fans, August is the slowest month of the year: free agent signings pitter off to a slow dribble, the excitement and whimsy from the draft is gone, teams have concluded their developmental camps and training camps are still off in the distant future.

Today, to help reduce your boredom from lack of action (or stress from waiting for Evander Kane to sign on the dotted line), I will go over four separate lists of Winnipeg Jets top prospects. Together we will review how management has stocked our cupboards are and make some small speculations of the Jets future.

Over a year has passed since the announcement of the Atlanta Thrashers franchise would move to a cold city nestled the heart of the Canadian prairies. Since then, True North Sports Entertainment -- under the direction of General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff -- has taken steps to mold this team into their own creation while continuing the rebuild that started in Atlanta. This June, the Jets continued their platform from their first draft, selecting players who specialize in size, grit, character and a display flashes of offensive upside. In addition, Cheveldayoff has made some savvy signings in the offseason to assure that his crop of prospects will not push for a roster spot until they are ready to compete.

Hockey's Future, Hockey Prospectus, and both communities of HFBoards and -- of course -- Arctic Ice Hockey have each constructed lists of Winnipeg's top prospects. I will note that the difference in any particular list is more indicative of the person or groups preferences than intelligence. Any ranking will look towards upside and proven production as a measure of talent; however, we are not impervious to personal and cultural biases, causing a discrepancy between the lists. Check them out after the jump.

First, let's see where our information has come from. Kyle West authored the Winnipeg Jets 2012 Fall Top 20 over at Hockey's Future, a website dedicated to the evaluation and news of NHL prospects. Corey Pronman authored the Top 10 Prospects: Winnipeg Jets (which had a list of five honourable mentions) over at Hockey Prospectus, another website dedicated to NHL prospects, but also statistical analysis. The Jets subforum at HFBoards, probably the largest NHL forum website, conducted a fan poll selecting Winnipeg Jets Top 20 Prospect Rankings; this would probably give the largest consensus of the average Jets fan, albeit the mean there is probably skewed positively than the average fan. And last but not least, I have edited out the four NHL players from our very own Top 10 Under 25: The "Community" Results and added the honourable mentions to replace the removed players.

RANKING

HFBoards

Hockey's Future

Hockey Prospectus

Arctic Ice Hockey

01

Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheifele

02

Jacob Trouba

Jacob Trouba

Jacob Trouba

Jacob Trouba

03

Ivan Telegin

Ivan Telegin

Ivan Telegin

Paul Postma

04

Paul Postma

Paul Postma

Paul Postma

Zach Redmond

05

Spencer Machacek

Carl Klingberg

Patrice Cormier

Ivan Telegin

06

Patrice Cormier

Patrice Cormier

Carl Klingberg

Carl Klingberg

07

Carl Klingberg

Zach Redmond

Zach Redmond

Adam Lowry

08

Edward Pasquale

Spencer Machacek

Spencer Machacek

Patrice Cormier

09

Lukas Sutter

Lukas Sutter

Julian Melchiori

Spencer Machacek

10

Adam Lowry

Adam Lowry

Jason Gregoire

Edward Pasquale

11

Zach Redmond

Edward Pasquale

Scot Kosmachuk

Scott Kosmachuk

12

Scott Kosmachuk

Julian Melchiori

Zach Yuen

Lukas Sutter

13

Zach Yuen

Zach Yuen

Adam Lowry

14

Jason Gregoire

Will O'Neil

Lukas Sutter

15

Ben Maxwell

Scott Kosmachuk

Brennan Serville

16

Julian Melchiori

Ben Maxwell

17

Eric O'Dell

Eric O'Dell

18

Cody Sol

Jason Gregoire

19

Austen Brassrd

Austen Brassard

20

Brennan Serville

Cody Sol
































Individual Assessments:

Mark Scheifele: It's good to see him continue to grow (figuratively and literally) since being drafted last June. Hockey's Future has consistently projected him to be between a first and second line centre. Over at Hockey Prospectus, Scheifele received recognition for his improvement in his skating and moved up the ranks; previously Pronman had placed Scheifele second in Jets' prospect depth as a second/third line tweener with average second line upside, but this year it looks like he has been pushed to the top of the list with a legitimate shot at being a true top line centre.

Jacob Trouba: Rocketing up the Jets depth charts to second, Trouba, the Jets newest addition, has pushed his way to a consensus number two position in the Jets' depth charts. While conflicting in their opinions on his offensive prowess, both HF and HP consider Trouba to have superior defensive abilities and place him as a lower tier first to upper tier second pairing defensemen. Ironically he has had many comparisons to the Jets' own Zach Bogosian.

Ivan Telegin: As a fourth round pick, Telegin comes in with excellent value with skills and production that, if they translate well in the pros, could mean a possible top six winger. Just like Sheifele, his stock has risen from last year as he works to push of the third line player label. HF has labeled him as a future second line player while HP notes he could even potentially become a quality second line winger if his newly found consistency sticks in the AHL.

Paul Postma: His lowering in the Jets depth charts is only due to the addition of two highly skilled prospects, as Postma has seen his stock rise with an AHL Allstar year. Both websites note that Postma still has a weakness in his defensive game and decision-making skills, but also that he excels offensively and has a rocket of a shot (clocked at mid-to-high 90s mph). Both HF and HP admit that, unless his defensive game improves, he will most likely be a bottom pairing power play specialist, but he has second pairing upside.

Patrice Cormier and Carl Klingberg: These two players tend to be right next to each other in rankings and may even be line mates this year on the St John's IceCaps, showing their similarities in skill level and upside. HF has Klingberg higher, with most likely being a second line player if he can keep his momentum going through a full year, while HP has him as a third line player. HP places Cormier higher than Klingberg, although both websites agree he will most likely develop into a third line shutdown center with minimal offensive upside.

Zach Redmond and Spencer Machacek: It looks as though Machacek's solid, but unrealistically reproducible, call up games increased his value at HFBoards, while Ben's crush on Redmond pulled up his. In the end, they averaged about the same. Both websites hold Redmond to be a fringe third line defenseman with some second line upside if he can be solid for a full year in pro. A conflict in ideals occurs with Machacek, as HF believes him to be a tweener between second and third line and HP has him as a third and fourth liner depending on the team's depth.

Lukas Sutter: It will be interesting to see where Sutter turns out to be placed. Early in the year he was expected to be a fringe shutdown defensive player but later in the year showed he had offensive upside when placed into the top-six. Draft position may be what increased up Sutter's value at HF, although it should be noted that Sutter production late in the year was created while spending a lot of time in the penalty box to cut down his time on the ice.

Additional note: Both Adam Lowry and Scott Kosmachuk true value remains hidden as scouts are waiting to determine if their jump in production in last seasons was an anomaly or a true picture of their value.

Jets Future

Both HF and HP had the Jets' prospect depth grow over this year. HF rates the Jets as improved from 29th to 25th; Pronman has the Jets moving from 29th to 23rd. The Jets' prospect cupboards may be in better shape than it appears, as they have many players who would have still been considered prospects if TNSE was still in charge (example: Alexander Burmistrov). It appears that over the last two drafts, the Jets' have increased their prospects depth in skill and diversity, but it remains to be seen if this is enough to push them to yearly contender levels or if they made the right gambles.

Silly Bonus

Jets depth lineup looking only at players under the age of 25:

Evander Kane– Mark Scheifele – Bryan Little

Ivan Telegin – Alexander Burmistrov – Spencer Machacek

Adam Lowry – Lukas Sutter/Patrice Cormier – Scott Kosmachuk

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