Hockey’s back! The Young Stars Classic is upon us and that means we can watch Jets prospects compete against other teams prospects and attempt to impress Jets brass. The games don’t mean much. The results on the scoreboard don’t mean much. But the games have plenty significance for the players.
The team consists of Jets prospects and free agents invited to play with the Jets and don the clubs jersey.
The Jets will play a total of 3 games from September 12 to September 15 in Penticton British Columbia.
You can catch all three games on TSN 1290 or on jets.nhl.com, where it will be streamed live.
The Jets will be looking at player’s and noting their individual growth and the following players have a chance to stand out in a big way.
The Jets 2014 first round pick headlines a core group of players that will be looking to make the big club. Ehlers has plenty of skill and will surely showcase his skillset this weekend, but skill is not a one-way ticket to the NHL. Listed at 5 11 and 162 lbs, one of Ehlers biggest challenges to making the leap is his size.
Ehlers may be in tough to make the Winnipeg Jets roster this year, even if Ehlers impresses during the tournament and training camp. That said, scoring is hard to turn away.
Adam Lowry is player that many feel is on the cusp of making the leap. One thing that sets him apart from the others that are trying to make the club is his size. Lowry towers over opponents at 6’5, 205 pounds and game still carries skill and finesse. The fact that he has a year of AHL hockey under his belt doesn't hurt either.
Lowry excelled during his junior years with the Swift Current Broncos. He won WHL player of the year in the 2012-2013 season. Last season, Lowry was converted to a full time centre from left wing with the Icecaps. A move that comes with a learning curve but looks to benefit his game in the future.
Something that may hurt Lowry’s chances of make the big club is his fairly recent position switch. Lowry is now a centre, but he has only spent a little over a season and a half at the position. There isn't a ton of space for another centre on the Jets roster either. Mathieu Perreault was brought in to fill the hole on the third line centre and Jim Slater is likely to spend the season centring the fourth line. The Jets could ease Lowry in to the NHL as a left wing, but developing him as a centre may be a bigger priority.
The Jets 2013 first round pick Josh Morrissey seems to be confident in his chances of making the club and he has every reason to be. Morrissey played a loads of games last year, splitting time between the Prince Albert Raiders, St Johns IceCaps and team Canada at the World Juniors. He excelled at all three levels.
Morrissey has also gained some muscle this offseason and this will help his physical game. Morrissey may be the favorite, among this prospect pool, to make the NHL roster. He has bulked up. His skillset is high end and the competition on the back end should leave an opening. Look for Morrissey to do some serious damage in Interior BC.
There are other players to watch; Scott Kosmachuk and Ryan Olsen are turning pro this season. Meanwhile, players like Nicolas Petan, Eric Comrie and Chase De Leo will likely return to their respective WHL clubs - unless they blow the doors off. This tournament presents a great opportunity for these Jets prospects to turn some heads. It’s also a great opportunity for Jets management and fans alike to see the progress that each player has made this offseason.
Tune in 6 pm Friday to see the Jets open the tournament against the Calgary Flames.