Winnipeg Jets fans, let's take a moment to extend one last big 'Thank you' to Don Waddell.
Sure, Don gutted the franchise for a playoff run that ended in a four game sweep. /LOL And sure, he was the mastermind of awful trade after awful trade, poor draft choices and free agent busts; all of which have set this team back several years in their rebuilding process.
But towards the end of his blundering tenure, he either started to get good at his job or was extremely lucky. When dealing with a gem like Don Waddell, assumptions should be made that it was the latter and not the former.
Lets take a look at some of the building blocks left behind by the Waddell regime:
- Bryan Little, Ondrej Pavelec and Tobias Enstrom all remain prominent figures on the team.
- Zach Bogosian looks like a future all-star.
- Evander Kane has a ton of talent and he just re-signed for six years.
- Players like Edward Pasquale, Carl Klingberg, Paul Postma and Zach Redmond have flashed some upside.
This is a solid list of players and prospects, but Don's genius (or rather his amazing heater) doesn't end there.
Even through his failures -- which spanned almost the entirety of his career -- Waddell remains a gift that keeps on giving.
And today, we celebrate by giving thanks to the man who drafted first round bust Daultan Leveille in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
According to Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Jets have been awarded a second round compensatory draft pick in 2013 NHL draft because Leveille has not signed with the organization.
#NHLJets loading up 13 #nhldraft. Add compensatory 2nd (ATL08 1st rounder Daultan Leveille not signed) for 6 WPG picks in 1st 3 rounds. #bn— Tim Campbell (@FPTimCampbell) September 19, 2012
As stated by Campbell, this gives the team a total of six draft picks in the first three rounds -- including three selections in the second round.
That is a lot of ammo should General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff want to make a trade.
If there is hockey this fall (and moreover a trade deadline this spring), there is a chance the Jets could add to this stable of draft picks. Scouting agencies are forecasting a vast quantity of depth in the 2013 draft class and -- should these projections be accurate -- this could be a big year for the Jets to continue with the restocking of their cupboards.
Is it too early to get excited about the 2013 draft? The sad reality is that next year's draft may be the next time we see NHL coverage, thanks to the current lockout.