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Central Division Draft and Free Agency Recap

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After the draft and the opening of the free agency, how do the Jets look today as compared to the rest of the division?

How well did Chevy do at the 2015 Draft?
How well did Chevy do at the 2015 Draft?
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Since both the draft and the first few days of free agency have passed us by, Winnipeg Jets fans may be wondering if the team is actually better today? But, in arguably the toughest division in the NHL, to truly predict how the Jets will do, we have to look at what the other teams in the Central Division have done so far. So, here's a look at what Chevy has done to improve his team, along with what other GMs have done within the division.


DISCLAIMER: Below is merely a snapshot in time...the picture as it stands right now (July 5th). We truly won't know how each team really did in the draft for 3-5 years from now. Also, free agency is only getting started, so teams can, and will, add more pieces as the summer goes on. That being said, most fans want to know that their team is actively trying to get better everyday.


Winnipeg Jets:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

17 - Kyle Connor [13]

25 - Jack Roslovic [39]

47 - Jansen Harkins [15]

78 - Erik Foley [51]

108 - Michael Spacek [5 for International skaters]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

+ F Alexander Burmistrov re-signed

+ F Matt Halischuk re-signed

+ D Adam Pardy re-signed

+ F Drew Stafford re-signed

+ D Ben Chiarot re-signed

+ F Anthony Peluso re-signed

+ F Matt Fraser signed

+ F Patrice Cormier re-signed

- F Michael Frolik (signed with Calgary)

- F Eric O’Dell (signed with Ottawa)


Chicago Blackhawks:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

54 - Graham Knott [57]

91 - Dennis Gilbert [58]

121 - Ryan Shea [155]

151 - Radovan Bondra [34 for International skaters]

164 - Roy Radke [104]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

Trade: Anttii Raanta to NYR for Ryan Haggerty

Trade: Brandon Sadd, Alex Broadhurst, & Michael Paliotta to CBJ for Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov,  Cory Tropp, Jeremy Morin, & 2016 4th Round Pick

+ D David Rundblad re-signed

+ G Michael Leighton re-signed

- D Kimmo Timonen (retired)


Colorado Avalanche:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

10 - Mikko Rantanen [1 for International skaters]

39 - AJ Greer [69]

40 - Nicolas Meloche [40]

71 - Jean-Christophe Beaudin [64]

101- Andrei Mironov [Not Ranked in 2015]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

Trade: 6th round pick to BOS for Carl Soderberg

Trade: Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to BUF for Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, J.T Compher, & 2015 2nd Round Pick

+ F Blake Comeau signed


Dallas Stars:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

12 - Denis Gurianov [7 for International skaters]

49 - Roop Hintz [14 for International skaters]

103 - Chris Martenet [81]

133 - Joseph Cecconi [88]

163- Markus Ruusu [Not Ranked in 2015]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

Trade: 7th round pick to SJ for Antti Niemi, signed


Minnesota Wild:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

20 - Joel Eriksson-Ek [4 for International skaters]

50 - Jordan Greenway [47]

111 - Ales Stezka [4 for International goalies]

135 - Kirill Kaprisov [29 for International skaters]

171 - Nicholas Boka [117]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

+ G Devan Dubnyk re-signed

+ F Mikael Granlund re-signed

+ F Ruslan Fedotenko signed

+ D Mike Reilly signed


Nashville Predators:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

55 - Yakov Trenin [48]

85 - Thomas Novak [28]

100 - Anthony Richard [77]

115 - Alexandre Carrier [89]

145 - Karel Vejmelka [Not Ranked in 2015]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

Trade: 2016 4th Round Pick to CGY for Max Reinhart, signed

+ F Mike Fisher re-signed

+ F Mike Ribeiro re-signed

+ F Gabriel Bourque re-signed


St. Louis Blues:

Draft (First 5 Picks): #’s in [ ] indicate NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American Skaters

56 - Vince Dunn [32]

94 - Adam Musil [61]

116- Glen Gawdin [59]

127- Niko Mikkola [111 for International skaters]

146- Luke Opilka [12 for North American goalies]


Notable Transactions/Free Agency (RFA, UFA):

Trade: TJ Oshie to WAS for Troy Brower, Pheonix Copley, & 2016 3rd Round Pick

+ F Jori Lehtera (contract extended)

+ D Robert Bortuzzo (contract extended)


Final Thoughts:

Many websites have the Winnipeg Jets as having one of the best drafts in the entire league. Hockey’s Future website, The Score, and Yahoo! Sports all list the Jets in their ‘winner’ section when describing the 2015 draft. None of the other teams in the division are mentioned in the ‘winner’ sections on these pages, but none of them were really dubbed ‘losers’ either. In Free Agency so far, the Jets lost a significant piece in Michael Frolik. Jets fans may well blame Chevy for losing him, myself included, but it does seem possible that Fro simply did not want to play here...we shall see. Either way, Chevy and the Jets had to do more to sign Frolik to a long term deal last summer, in an attempt to avoid this exact situation. Furthermore, if Frolik really did not want to return, should Chevy not have traded him away? But then again, I suppose the playoff run was very important to this franchise and Frolik was an integral part of this team's playoff run. Believe what you want about this situation, but what seems clear is that Chevy will need to find a way to replace Frolik this off-season, or pray that one of his young guns will make a huge step before October. As usual, Chevy and Jets seem more than prepared to wait all summer to make a splash (much to the dismay of many Jets fans on Twitter).


As for the other teams in the central division, many of them secured important players. The Wild locked up Dubynk (who may have saved their season last year), Granlund, and defenseman Mike Reilly. The Preds managed to re-sign Fisher and Ribeiro (not my favorite player ever, but he did produce for them). While in St. Louis, contract extensions were completed for Lehtera and Bortuzzo. If not through player signings, teams in the central division have also already made waves through trades. Chicago made a big trade with Columbus, sending Brandon Saad out of town, along with 2 others for Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin, and a draft pick. Colorado made two significant deals, first acquiring Carl Soderberg from Boston and then trading Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to Buffalo for Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, J.T Compher, and a 2015 2nd Round Pick. Finally, St. Louis curiously traded TJ Oshie to Washington for Troy Brower, Pheonix Copley, and a 2016 3rd Round Pick.


Obviously things will change drastically before the start of the season, but Jets fans should not expect Chevy to flinch. With the prospect cupboards seemingly bursting at the seams with promise, Jets fans will likely have to wait (maybe 3 more years) to see another major trade or flashy free agent signing. The other teams will undoubtedly get better, they always do. Let's just hope the Jets can keep pace in the division of death and are able to compete when October arrives.