Previous Rank: #13
23-Jan Kostalek 22-Ryan Olsen 21-Chase De Leo
Jimmy Lodge fell the furthest of our prospects, other than Ivan Telegin. Lodge's fall from 1.05 to 0.78 points per game likely is the major contributor to this. Lodge had injury problems throughout the year which probably affected his play. It should be noted though that Lodge was not the only person on his team to suffer a drop in production. For example, the Saginaw Spirit's top pts/gp scorer for both seasons, Erik Locke, fell from 1.43 to 1.25. The top 4 forwards in points per game in 2012-13 season was 1.48, 1.43, 1.43, and 1.05. In 2013-14 it was 1.25, 1.12, 0.84, and 0.78. You'll notice that Lodge was fourth in pts/gp in both seasons.
Regardless of luck, weaker linemates, injuries, or other factors, Jimmy Lodge went from a high-scoring, mid-round pick with top six upside to a player with promise but needs to put it together.
Lodge will be taking a major role in a rebuilding Saginaw Spirit and will need to impress Jets brass if he wants to earn a contract for the 2015-16 season.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
This is a tough one. Jimmy Lodge is extremely skilled. He has great hand. He passes well and he can be dynamic in the offensive zone. Despite this, he saw his production drop in a big way last year. Jimmy averaged more than a point per game in his draft year and that dropped to .78 points per game this past season. I didn't watch enough of him to understand exactly what changed, but his skill was still apparent in the games I caught. It is also worth noting that Lodge put up a little over a point per game during the first three months of the season. Could it have been an injury that slowed him down? One way or another, this will be a big year for Jimmy Lodge. He needs to rebound and earn an entry level contract from the Jets. It would be a shame if he doesn't because this kid has top six skill.
Lodge is the type of prospect that either booms or busts. Very inconsistent with his play and scoring this past season, he needs to improve both this upcoming season to remain relevant. USA Today claimed "maybe the best sleeper pick in Jimmy Lodge heading into Sunday's NHL draft." Only time will tell.
Lodge has always been a smart playmaker with skill to burn and decent size projection. Despite all these positive attributes, he has struggled as of late and fell down the rankings hard. The Jets could do far worse though than accumulating players like Jimmy Lodge and Chase De Leo with mid-to-later round picks. Gather enough and you will start to hit on these guys, and no one will complain about getting solid NHL players from non-top picks.
While injuries have slowed Lodge down, it's pretty apparent that he has lots of tools at his disposal. Why he hasn't put it all together, and in fact had his numbers go down last season, is pretty concerning though. Hopefully he turns it around this year.
2013 Top 25 Under 25 - #13 Jimmy Lodge
Prospects Update - Lodge Heats Up