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Winnipeg 2012 Draft Wrap: Player Projections and Scouting Reports

Well folks, the 2012 NHL Draft is in the books and the Jet’s prospect pool has grown. Regardless of what you think about the picks I think Chevy deserves some credit for clearly defining what he wants and sticking to that mold. Some people may question his strategy (myself included), but the truth of the situation is that it’ll be years before we see real results.

I am a firm believer in building through the draft, but building through the draft doesn’t work if you draft well. The emphasis on the draft makes every draft pick very important.

The apprehension for me is based mostly on two things:

1) Chevy hasn’t taken a single European in the last two years.

2) Thus far he has gone off the board with pretty much every pick.

Of course I do understand that every scout and every GM has a different list. I also know there is a chance that he has picked future NHLers in every spot, but continually going off the grid is a risky strategy. At some point he will be determined to be either a savant or a buffoon. Lets hope it’s the former.

Now that I am done yammering, lets take a look at who the Jets have drafted and what they bring to the table.

Jacob Trouba (1st Round – 9th Overall)

Defense / USA Under-18 National Team (USHL)


Weight: 215

Hometown: Rochesther, MI

Shoots: Right


NHL Central Scouting (#9 – NAS) – Hockey Prospectus (#12) – ISS (#5)

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 US Under-18 Nation Team (USHL) – Reg. Season 54 9 23 32 715
GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 USA-U18 (WJC-18) 6 0 2 2 -1 0

Our own Philip K. introduced you to Jacob Trouba on Saturday, but what do scouts say? What can we expect from Jacob down the road? Find out after THE JUMP.

Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus says:

Trouba is a very well-rounded defenseman who has developed nicely in his draft year and has a chance to be one of the better if not the best defenseman the NTDP has developed in the last few years before Seth Jones gets picked in 2013. His best tool is his skating which is plus. While his straightaway top is only above average, it’s his four-way mobility that really impresses. Trouba has great acceleration and gets up to his top gear in an instant. He’s also able to skate backwards as seamlessly and quickly as he can forward and rarely does a forward get behind him. Aside from his skating no part of his skill set truly stands out aside from maybe his physical game, but what makes Trouba valuable is he is above-average across the board. He has solid puck skills and while he isn’t a flashy puck handler he can certainly hold his own in that regard. Though he won’t be a premium power play defenseman, he will be able to perform at a good level there in terms of his puck-moving and he has good technique on his passes with fine vision. Trouba is a standout in the defensive end of the rink with great energy and work ethic on top an impressive physical game. Trouba relishes in laying opposing forwards out and is pretty strong for his age. He reads his assignments well, uses his great mobility to close gaps quickly, and consistently shows the ability to shut down good players. The sole nitpick with Trouba is that his decision-making is sometimes off in terms of over-aggressive pinches or taking a little too long to decide what to do with the puck, but even that really isn’t an issue.

The Scouting Reports says:

Trouba is a big-time right-handed defenseman who projects to be a top pairing two-way defenseman. Despite being only 17-years-old, Trouba is extremely polished and has already proved himself against much older competition as one of the United States’ top defensemen at the World Juniors. The U18 captain has great size and lateral ability and is very mobile in all 3 zones. Trouba plays with a physical edge but shows good decision making, knowing when to take the body and when to use his pokecheck and positioning to make defensive plays. His offensive game is still evolving, but he shows good upside and a quality shot which indicate strong future potential. As it stands, Trouba is already a very safe NHL pick, and if he can continue to improve his offensive game, he could be an exceptional NHL defenseman for a long time.

Reel Hockey Scouting says:

Is a fantastic rearguard with size, smarts and spectacular skating ability. Sharp defensive anticipation and hockey sense. Possesses a calculating, aggressive stance on the ice and shows flashes of toughness and physicality. Calm under pressure, gritty in front of his net and can absolutely rifle the puck out of the zone and onto a teammate’s stick.

Owns vision and can skate the puck up ice very well. Will join the rush, work the puck down-low and report back to his defensive post before the opposition has had time to march out of their zone. Has great hands but could use development with his in tight skills to give him that extra offensive punch. Outstanding feet – extremely mobile and is smothering down low and against the rush. Commands respect from up top along the blue line with his patience, agility and booming shot.

NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory says:

He has offense skills and he really does defend well. You can just tell by how he plays in all areas of the ice that he’s a big kid who skates really well, he loves to jump into the play and has confidence because he knows his skating can get him back, so he rarely gets caught out of position. He’s going to be someone people are going to talk about; we’ve known about him for a couple years and he hasn’t disappointed.

The Hockey Writers says:

ETA: 2-3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk = 0/5 Reward = 5/5

NHL potential:

Top pairing defenseman.

NHL Player Comparison:

Jack Johnson

Lukas Sutter (2nd Round – 39th Overall)

Center / Saskatoon Blades (WHL)


Weight: 202

Hometown: Lethbridge, AB

Shoots: Left


NHL Central Scouting (#39 – NAS) – Hockey Prospectus (#97) – ISS (#68)

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) – Reg. Season 70 28 31 59 15 165
GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) – Playoffs 4 0 2 2 -3 14

Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus says:

Yes, there’s yet another Sutter on the way into the NHL ranks. The son if Rich Sutter gets praised regularly within the industry for what some scouts call “the old Sutter work ethic” in regards to his intangibles, on-ice determination, and overall physical game. His character shines through at both ends, as he’s a relentless forechecker who hits hard and protects the puck very well. Lukas also backchecks diligently and is pretty impressive in the defensive end and on the penalty kill. It’s hard to see him as a true scorer in the pro ranks as he’s more of a bottom-six talent, but he does have some offensive touch with the puck, more of an okay hand-eye guy than a creative puckhandler of any sorts. His best offensive asset is his vision, as he has solid hockey sense and can certainly make some plays with the puck, and can even flash above-average talent in that department here and there. One area of contention amongst scouts I’ve talked to is his skating, as some like his mechanics and skating output, while others see him as a bit of a clunky mover who doesn’t generate much speed. I lean a little to the latter, although I have seen some nice flashes from Sutter in that area.

The Scouting Report says:

Sutter is a player that plays the game with a bundle of energy and is starting to emerge with some offensive potential. Most of his offense comes from going to the hard areas and outworking his opponent. Sutter improved his point totals by 40 points this season as he took on a bigger role with the Blades this season. Has a fairly decent cerebral element to his game as well, something centers need to take the next step. Has a look of a prototypical 3rd line center with the potential for more depending on his offensive production at the next level.

The Redline Report says:

He might never have the softest hands around the net, but he plays a (what else?) gritty, in-your-face style and has shown improved puck skills this season.

His tenacious forechecking causes numerous mistakes and turnovers by defensemen, and he has the vision to capitalize on those mistakes. If Sutter can pick up a half-stride on his skating and continue to improve his offensive skill set, we’ll be hearing a familiar name called in Pittsburgh next June.

The Hockey Writers says:

ETA: 2-3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk = 2/5 Reward = 3/5

NHL Potential:

Third line agitator who can occasionally chip in key goals.

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

He’s a Sutter. His upside is Brandon Sutter with less of a scoring touch and more physicality.

Youtube has video of many Sutter fights, but the goals are harder to find:

Scott Kosmachuk (3rd Round – 70th Overall)

Right Wing / Guelph Storm (OHL)


Weight: 182

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Shoots: Right


NHL Central Scouting (#24 – NAS) – Hockey Prospectus (#61) – ISS (#46)

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Guelph Storm (OHL) – Reg. Season 67 30 29 59 -10 110
GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Guelph Storm (OHL) – Playoffs 6 2 3 5 1 12

Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus says:

Kosmachuk is not the kind of prospect you would dream on, but he has some desirable skill attributes combined with a good base of intangibles and physical play. He’s an above-average skater who can really push defensemen back off the rush with his speed, and also has a powerful first step and overall fine technique on his standstill movements. Kosmachuk moves his feet pretty quickly, which is more a testament to his motor than any particular thing with his mechanics. He has solid hands—I’ve heard scouts say they’re above-average, but I’m leaning more towards solid-average on that front. He can certainly handle the puck in motion and has nice in-tight coordination but I’m not sure I envision him as an offensive creator. The same would go for Kosmachuk’s vision as I’m not really sold on his making plays around him but rather I see him being the type of player who brings the puck up with speed, makes an odd move or so, and gets it to the net. He certainly likes to live around the physical areas and physical game, showing good effort and tenaciousness on the forecheck and he regularly gets involved in the rough stuff after the whistle. His defensive zone coverage needs a little work, but it’s improving and is not a real notable issue.

OHL Prospects’ Brock Otten says:

Kosmachuk is a solid North/South winger who crashes and bangs and can really put the puck in the net. Nail Yakupov led the way in goal scoring among draft eligible players with 31, but Kosmachuk was right there behind him in 2nd with 30. He has excellent goal scoring instincts and can score in a multitude of ways. He’s most effective crashing hard to the net and is an excellent garbage man. He’s not tall, but he’s stocky and is already quite strong. His shot coming down the wing is a work in progress, but it’s already quite good. While he’s a good goal scorer, Kosmachuk is also clearly a fun guy to play with. He’s a very effective forecheck and is strong along the boards. He also creates room for his linemates with his energy and effort. His passing skills off the rush are strong too IMO, however at full speed his stick handling skills can suffer some. He’s certainly not someone you can expect to bring the house down with a brilliant one on one move. He knows what his strengths are and he keeps the game simple offensively. His three zone game is a bit of a work in progress. Sometimes he looks strong as a defensive player, other times he’s passive in his own end. I think it’s probably a matter of conserving his energy so that he can play aggressively at both ends of the ice. I was really disappointed in the fact that he didn’t play a large role at the Under 18’s, because when he did play, I felt like he was very visible. At the end of the day, you know what you’re getting in Kosmachuk. A hard nosed goal scoring winger who can compliment more finesse type players.

The Scouting Reports says:

Kosmachuk is going to have to overcome a few challenges to be an effective NHL player, but we really believe he’s got the blend of goal scoring ability and grit that might make him a very effective NHL player one day. Kosmachuk does a great job of driving the net and getting shots off which has been the primary catalyst behind his offensive success in the OHL. While not the biggest player, he works hard and shows a willingness to finish checks. His two-way game has been improving, and will likely continue to progress with a strong work ethic. Ryan Callahan may be a lofty comparison, but there are some parallels to be drawn in their style of play.

The Hockey Writers says:

ETA: 3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk = 3/5 Reward = 4/5

NHL Potential:

Second line winger

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

Scott Walker

Connor Hellebuyck (5th Round – 130th Overall)

Goalie – Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL)


Weight: 185

Hometown: Commerce, MI

Catches: Left


NHL Central Scouting (N/A)

2011-12 Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL) – Reg. Season 26 21 5 3 2.49 0.930
2011-12 Odessa Jackalopes (NAHL) – Playoffs 1 3 0 3.46 0.934

To be honest, I can’t find anything on this kid. Even the goalie guild had nothing on him that Arby didn’t already tell you. The closes thing to a scouting report is this from one of his coaches:

Connor is a big, tall, rangy goaltender that has unbelievable raw ability and with coaching and strength training he is only going to improve,” said Associate Coach Jason Lammers. “He will be a good goalie in the future because of his mentality and focus as a young man.”

The Goalie Guild had this to says:

Another goalie completely off my radar, Connor played in the NAHL this season and has terrific size at 6-foot-4. He has committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Profile Video He had a record of 26-21-5 last season in the NAHL with a .930 SV% for the Odessa Jackalopes.

They also had this to say in their daft recap:

THE BIG LOSERS: It’s tough to consider a team that drafts a goalie as a loser; the mere commitment alone makes them a winner. But I’m really left scratching my head at the two picks made by Winnipeg.

Take nothing away from Jamie Phillips and Connor Hellebuyck, but when I look back to last year’s selection of Jason Kasdorf, I’m curious how their scouts come to these conclusions. I didn’t have any of these guys on my radar at all. But hey, they did acquire Jonas Gustavsson‘s rights from Toronto today.

Real men wear pink:

Ryan Olsen (6th Round – #160th Overall)

Center / Saskatoon Blades – WHL


Weight: 190

Hometown: Tsawwassen, BC

Shoots: Right


NHL Central Scouting (#178 – NAS) – Hockey Prospectus (N/A) – ISS (Unknown?)

GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) – Reg. Season 67 15 17 32 -12 64
GP G A P +/- PIM
2011-12 Saskatoon Blades (WHL) – Playoffs 4 0 0 0 -1 4

Ryan Olsen is another player that I couldn’t find anything one. Arby pointed out that Central Scouting had Olsen as the 178th best skater in North America, but he was ranked far higher on Derek Zona’s consensus rankings. He was actually ranked as high as 63rd in February and finished the year ranked 81st. According to those rankings the Jets got very good value here, but I can’t tell you who was high on him or why.

Jamie Phillips (7th Round – 190th Overall)

Goalie / Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL)


Weight: 170

Hometown: Caledonia, ON

Catches: Left


NHL Central Scouting (26 NAG)

2011-12 Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL) – Reg. Season 4 4 2 1 3.11 0.917
2011-12 Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL) – Playoffs 5 5 0 2.99 0.932

The Scouting Reports says:

Phillips was a late summer addition, coming over from the RBC champ Pembroke Lumber Kings just before training camp kicked off for the River Kings. Phillips is a large goalie who has solid fluid movements, stays square to shooters, and flat out stops pucks. He has really stepped up in the Powell River crease and showed that he can compete with the top goaltenders in the BCHL. Phillips is a former 4th-round pick of the Sarnia Sting back in 2009 who elected to bypass the OHL route in pursuit of a Division 1 NCAA scholarship. Phillips is now fortunate enough to showcase his skills with one of the top development teams in the BCHL – and thus far he has proven to be a reliable goaltender as he leads the BCHL in every major statistical category for goaltenders.

The Goalie Guild says:

Phillips is a 6-foot-2 native of Caledonia, ONT and is committed to Michigan Tech for next season. He spent the first half of the season in the BCHL with Powell River, posting a 2.01 GAA and .921 SV% in 26 games. He was then traded to the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the OJHL, where he posted a 3.11 GAA and .917 SV% in 11 games. His play elevated in the playoffs when he posted a .932 SV% and 2.99 GAA in 10 games. His CHL rights belong to the Sarnia Sting.

I also found this:

Final Thoughts

I will go back to the Goalie Guild for my summary (emphasis mine):

OFF THE RADAR: Simply put, I need to do a better job of tracking draft-eligible goalies. Too many guys that were selected this weekend were completely off my radar. Even if they were off everyone else’s radars, I can’t just depend on Central Scouting to tell me who is out there.

I honestly had no clue that guys like Sean Maguire (on CSS final rankings), Henri Kiviaho, Hellebuyck, and Sergei Kostenko even had a chance to be drafted. I don’t know anything about their game, and I’m obviously not happy about it!

In my defense, I guess it’s impossible to know what NHL team scouts are doing, but I think this year is another lesson in draft rankings. They’re merely guides, and the talent pool around the world is extremely deep. Furthermore, teams might not draft the most talented guy out there, but rather the one with the most potential and upside.

There it is guys! Those are the new additions to our prospect pool. Hopefully they go full on beast mode if a few years.

Talking Points