At the 13th spot we are already coming up to our third 2013 draft selection within the Top 25 Under 25, Jimmy Lodge. The Winnipeg Jets had a quite successful draft day, at least strategically, coming up with three mid-round selections who were in discussion at least at one point as a first round talent (Nicolas Petan, Jimmy Lodge and Jan Kostalek), although only time will tell whether these draft picks end up having any NHL success.
Jimmy Lodge is a raw prospect with a tall, lean frame, but possesses impressive skills and very impressive pre-draft production.
Previous Rank: NR
Jimmy Lodge played in the same Minor Midget league as Max Domi. Although both played less than half the season's games, they were first and second in the league for points per game played, with Domi recording 1.90 points/game as compared to Lodge 1.48 points/game.
The next season Lodge saw limited ice time as an OHL rookie for the Saginaw Spirit that included players like Vincent Trochek and Brandon Saad. Even Anthony Camara saw limited ice time while on the team. Lodge's 0.27 points per game ranked 26th for those under 17 years old in the OHL.
Lodge's draft season was a tad more successful than the last. In the first half he displayed decent offensive progression, scoring 10 goals and 10 assists in 32 games for a pts/gp of 0.625. However, in the second half Lodge had a huge jump, helped in part by Trochek's ice time becoming available after being traded away. Lodge scored 18 goals and 29 assists in 32 games for a huge 1.469 pts/gp. If you were to isolate his second half, he would have the highest point per game for all of the Jets' current OHL prospects in their draft year (including Mark Scheifele). His full season average is in the same tier as another top Jets forward under 25, Alexander Burmistrov.
Not bad for a guy selected at 84, particularly if he can repeat or exceed last season's second half success...
Mark Scheifele 2.0?
Every time I read something about Jimmy Lodge or watch him, he seems like the next Mark Scheifele... Just wanted to share this opinion to the world.
From Hockey Prospectus:
Lodge is a skilled forward, who developed well over the 2012-13 OHL campaign, as he exceeded one point per game. He is not a finished product by any means, but he has a significant amount of upside. He has high-end puck skills, conveying the overall look of a skilled player. He is very coordinated in his puck handling, with the ability to make top-level plays. Lodge has good offensive instincts, manifesting both in his puck creativity and in his gifted passing and crisp distributions. He can execute difficult plays. He is a solid to above-average skater as well. Still, his physical game leaves a little to be desired. He has improved in that area, but he could stand to be more consistent in his physicality, as well as to gain strength. He also tends to fly out of his zone a tad too quickly.
From Brenden Ross:
Jimmy Lodge has also been praised for his character and ease in coach-ability.
This doesn't mean you should expect similar results, but this isn't the first time the Jets have drafted a character description like this.
What to expect in the future
One thing for sure that Jimmy Lodge shares with Mark Scheifele is developmental path. Lodge is a very raw prospect and will need to vastly improve both his physical game and his strength before he moves to pro. Drafting a prospect in the third round who has top 6 upside is never a bad idea though, and sure beats drafting a 4th checking line upside player in the second round.
Lately Lodge has been deployed at the right wing. While the Jets do lack long-term depth at right wing, centre is arguably the most coveted and important forward position. The more potential centres the Jets acquire, the better.