The regular season has started so we will take a look at how our potential future Winnipeg Jets have fared in the American Hockey League and across the ocean for the month of October.
Being the first update of the season, this one is a lot longer and includes all players with their NHL rights protected; over the next few months these will become more of a summary and will concentrate on the younger prospects.
Jets management made an intentional youth movement for the IceCaps. Rookies like Scott Kosmachuk replaced minutes vacated by major contributors Andrew Gordon and Jarome Samson.
2001 2nd Round: (Acquired: 2014, Trade) G Peter Budaj; 7 GP, 194 SA, 0.902 Sv%, 0-2-3
Budaj was brought in as insurance in case Michael Hutchinson failed to translate as a NHL calibre goaltender. Another reasons was to create a buffer so if either the NHL goaltenders are injured, Hellebuyck wasn't losing development time.
The IceCaps seem to be leaning on the veteran goaltender as the starter, with Budaj given 7 starts to Hellebuyck's 5, and Budaj given both the most recent starts this month. It is odd that the team is going with the goaltender that thus far has posted worse save percentage and win percentage, but it is early.
Undrafted: (2003 Eligible) LD Julien Brouillette; 2 GP, 1G, 0A, 1 PTS, +0, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Brouillette was added to the IceCaps young defensive core to provide some defensive leadership with a bit of offense. Brouillette has never provided huge numbers but did receive a NHL contract after scoring 10 goals last season. However, looking at shooting percentage below, we can see how sustainable that goal scoring streak was.
2006 7th Round: LD Will O`Neill; 11 GP, 0G, 3A, 3 PTS, -2, 8 PIM, 19 SOG
Much like current Jets prospect Tucker Poolman is attempting, Will O`Neill took the long route to a NHL contract. O`Neill played two years of USHL and four years of NCAA after being drafted. After playing last season on an AHL contract and pacing near a point per game in the playoffs, O`Neill earned his second NHL contract from the same organization.
2007 1st Round (Acquired: 2013, Waivers): LD Keaton Ellerby; 11 GP, 0G, 3A, 3 PTS, -2, 8 PIM, 19 SOG
After spending much of the year as a regular on the Jets due to injuries, Ellerby was beat out by Adam Pardy for the final roster position and sent down to the AHL. The addition of Ellerby and Broulliette led to a much older defensive core than the year prior.
2007 6th Round: C John Albert; 12 GP, 3G, 7A, 10 PTS, +1, 6 PIM, 33 SOG
At 25 years of age and his fourth year in the AHL, Albert's NHL potential has all but vanished. He still holds value though in helping lead the IceCaps with his work ethic and determination, creating a positive environment for Jets prospects to develop in.
Albert's goal scoring has taken a hit with him no longer being able to sustain a 19+ shooting percentage of last season. His shot production though has grown which should help diminish shooting percentage regression and is also a positive sign that he is still improving.
2008 2nd Round (Acquired: 2009 Trade): C Eric O`Dell; 9 GP, 3 G, 4A, 7 PTS, -5, 2 PIM, 22 SOG
It is no secret that O'Dell is a favourite at Arctic Ice Hockey. O`Dell was one of the top scorers in the AHL for the 2013 calendar year and has battled adversity throughout his development.
O`Dell has struggled early this season with injuries and also currently has his lowest shooting percentage of his AHL career. His shot volume has also dropped a bit which is concerning. The IceCaps have struggled to score and so has O`Dell, but hopefully things will pick up for both.
2008 2nd Round (Acquired: 2010 Trade): C Patrice Cormier; 6 GP, 2G, 3A, 5 PTS, -3, 5 PIM, 10 SOG
Like O`Dell, Cormier started the season with some injury concerns. He has returned to health and also been contributing. Last season Cormier hit career lows in a few areas despite creating relatively normal shot volume.
He currently is pacing career highs in goals, assists, and points per game. With the help of a career high shooting percentage, Cormier even earned a short pay raise with a call up to the main squad.
2009 2nd Round: LW Carl Klingberg; 12 GP, 3G, 5A, 8 PTS, -5, 23 PIM, 39 SOG
After a bounce back season the year prior, Klingberg is trying to continue his success. His shot volume increase to 3.25 per a game leads the team. Klingberg has kept his simplified, drive-the-net game from the previous year that lead to his re-signing. He is pacing career high in points per game, despite posting his lowest shooting percentage.
2009 4th Round: LD Ben Chiarot; 12 GP, 3G, 3A, 6 PTS, +1, 11 PIM, 35 SOG
Last season Chiarot's perceived success seemed to be mostly percentage driven, as the defender had a huge jump in plus/minus and his point production increase was predominately power play driven from increased minutes. However, Chiarot seems to be stepping his game up legitimately this season, although a near 9% shooting percentage is unlikely to hold for a defender.
2010 3rd Round: LD Julian Melchiori; 12 GP, 0G, 1A, 1PTS, -7, 5 PIM, 13 SOG
Melchiori has settled as the tough minutes defender for the IceCaps. While Melchiori had once surpassed the older Chiarot in the depth charts, it has not been the case for over a year now. Melchiori's usage and absence of power play time will always make it difficult to put up offensive numbers, but we will be expecting more than the previous two seasons.
2010 7th Round: RW Patrick Holland; 7 GP, 0G, 0A, 0 PTS, -2, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Holland was a throw in with the Eric Tangradi for Peter Budaj trade. Holland is a bit of a reclamation project. Offensively Holland had developed very similar to Jets own Adam Lowry, but struggled in his sophomore AHL season. Holland found his scoring and shot production drop severely which lead to him falling in the Bulldogs depth charts, worsening his numbers further.
The young winger had 109 points in his final junior season just four years ago; hopefully he can bounce back and add some organizational depth for the Jets.
2013: 7th Round (2010 Eligible): RD Brenden Kichton; 12 GP, 1G, 3A, 4PTS, -4, 8 PIM, 18 SOG
When it rains it pours, but when there is a drought it always seems to be a desert. After a hot start last season and finishing as the top AHL rookie defenseman, Kichton has struggled to put up points. Kichton is among multiple IceCaps who have struggled scoring early in the season.
2013 3rd Round (2011 Eligible): RW J.C. Lipon; 11 GP, 1G, 5A, 6 PTS, -2, 25 PIM, 29 SOG
Lipon has taken a larger role on the IceCaps. After spending much of last season on the third line with Adam Lowry, JC Lipon has made a jump into the IceCaps top six unit. Lipon's increased responsibility has lead to more chances, although currently he hasn't connected on many. If he keeps it up though we should see some increased offense from the tenacious winger.
2011 5th Round: RW Austen Brassard; 11 GP, 0G, 0A, 0 PTS, -2, 8 PIM, 8 SOG
There is not much to say about a player with zero goals other than likely that will change eventually. There is not much to say about a player with less than a shot per game other than hopefully that will change eventually. Brassard has played on the fourth line wing although he has also been a healthy scratch once.
2010 3rd Round: RW Scott Kosmachuk; 11 GP, 2G, 1A, 3 PTS, -3, 20 PIM, 10 SOG
The drop of AHL veterans like Gordon and Samson has lead to opportunities for the IceCaps youth. One of them was Scott Kosmachuk starting off as a regular in the IceCaps top six unit right off the bat. Kosmachuk showed a lot of growth in his final junior season; hopefully he can continue his strong development this season and start potting a few more points.
2010 3rd Round: G Connor Hellebuyck; 6 GP, 191 SA, 0.911 Sv%, 3W-2L-1OTL
Hellebuyck will be an interesting case to watch. There is a lot of randomness in goaltending and it is very common for high profile goaltenders to fail when moving up to the next level, especially those that move from the NCAA to the AHL. However, if you are going to bet on a goaltender, it might as well be the guy who set the NCAA best all-time career save percentage.
It is extremely early to put any weighting on Hellebuyck's numbers, but Hellebuyck so far is posting better numbers than Budaj. Although, to put in perspective, both Peter Budaj and Ondrej Pavelec were career 0.913 goaltenders in the AHL. Michael Hutchinson was a 0.921 goaltender.
2010 6th Round: C Ryan Olsen; 29GP, 3G, 2A, 5 PTS, +0, 26 PIM, 24 SOG
Olsen was not a poor scorer, but neither was he an elite scorer in junior. He never surpassed a point per game, so it is not surprising that he is not destroying the AHL. He is -however- a fairly capable defensive forward and has enjoyed that role on the IceCaps fourth line.
Undrafted, 2008 Eligible (Acquired: 2013 RFA): G Juho Olkinuora; 3 GP, 99 SA, 0.929 SV%, 1-1-1
After struggling last season, it appears that Olkinuora may be getting things together. He seems to be performing well, although currently is not getting much minutes. Olkinuora may be playing back up to Joe Cannata -who has 2 more starts-, another high performing NCAA goaltender who struggled last season in the ECHL.
2006 7th Round: LD Arturs Kulda; 12 GP, 1G, 1A, 2 PTS, -5, 10
Technically Kulda is still Jets property, but unfortunately his NHL rights will expire this summer making Kulda a NHL unrestricted free agent. Because of this fact, we will no longer follow Kulda's development.
2010 1st Round: C Alexander Burmistrov; 23 GP, 7G, 9A, 16 PTS, +6, 26 PIM, 39 SOG, 15:22 Avg TOI, 50.5% FO%
Burmistrov still plays as Ak Bars top line centre, although the coach is distributing the ice time more evenly this season. Because of this, the top line and Burmistrov have experienced about a two minute per game reduction.
Burmistrov is still pacing well and looks to have developed more of an offensive game since leaving the NHL. The average KHL player who moves to the NHL after posting Burmistrov's points per game pace, tends to post about 40-45 points in the NHL the next season.
2010 4th Round: LW Ivan Telegin; 12 GP, 2G, 0A, 2 PTS, -1, 2 PIM, 22 SOG, 11:43 Avg TOI
2013 7th Round: RD Marcus Karlstrom; 18 GP, 0G, 2A, 2 PTS, -5, 2 PIM
Karlstrom has begun his venture into pro-hockey. His two points is small, but a reminder that this is as a nineteen year old in a mens league. Currently only three defenders under 20 years of age have more points than Karlstrom.
2014 6th Round: C Pavel Kraskovsky; 22 GP, 4G, 15A, 19 PTS, +15, 16 PIM, 65 SOG
Kraskovsky may be considered a 6'4 Burmistrov-lite. Both are the top line centre and second highest scorer on a power house team (Loko is currently second in MHL standings). Both have huge slants in their goal:assist ratio as players who prefer to set-up rather than score. Both are known for being high-end defensive players and back-checkers despite being Russian.
Jet fans will get the chance to see Kraskovsky play as he suits up for team Russian for the Subway Series against other Jet prospects like Nic Petan, Josh Morrissey, and Eric Comrie.