Previous Rank: 17th
JC Lipon gets no respect. After playing some impressive offensive hockey in his final junior season, JC Lipon went out and had himself a solid first year as a pro. Lipon is primarily a playmaker; this is clearly demonstrated by his goal:assist ratio. His vision is high end and his work as a passer saw him earn powerplay ice early in his tenure with the IceCaps. Liopon's 32 assists tied him for 5th among AHL rookies.
JC is about way more than scoring though. Lipon is an agitator through and through. He hits like a truck and he is willing to drop mitts with just about anyone. If there is a dirty area on the ice, you can bet JC's been or heading there.
In each of the last two seasons, Lipon has out-produced the Winnipeg Jets' much more highly hyped prospect Adam Lowry. They are very different players, but they are the same age and they both project as depth players in the NHL. It will be interesting to see how Lipon develops offensively and how soon the Winnipeg Jets give him a look at the NHL level.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Lipon's first pro season went about as well as anybody could have expected. He was a quality AHL rookie and he saw his WHL game translate very well to the AHL level. His hitting, fighting and passing were all where they need to be. Unfortunately, his goal scoring took a big hit. How much this matters is debatable; a number of his assists were beauty cross-crease passes for tap-ins, but more goal scoring will definitely make him a bigger asset. Lipon projects as an NHL depth player, but he is more than just a face puncher.
JC Lipon strikes me as a guy who has an easily attained yet low ceiling as a 4th-liner NHLer. It was surprising to see him get skipped over in two drafts, and I'm glad that the Jets snagged him where they did. If he can eventually be an actual upgrade to the tire-fire bottom-six that the Jets have employed over the past few seasons, Arby will be a happy boy.
I tend to think higher of Lipon than many. I like his skating. I like his vision. I like his ability to agitate. I like his consistent success in beating the odds, improving and producing. He is a player who has been accelerating in terms of NHLEs and is starting to become a solid prospect, not just depth prospect. At 6' tall, he shouldn't be considered overly undersized anymore either.
2013 Top 25 Under 25 - JC Lipon