2010 NHL Draft: Atlanta’s final draft left little value for today’s Winnipeg Jets

By Patrick Allen
NHL: APR 25 Canadiens at Jets

Photo: Winnipeg Jets prospect Alex Burmistrov had enough NHL production early in his career to tantalize fans but he may be happier home in Russia (courtesy of Terry Lee/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

 

The 2010 NHL Draft was the final draft for the Atlanta Thrashers organization before their move to Winnipeg. The draft overall was a failure for the organization, with no players selected in the draft on the current Jets roster.

Like any team, the Thrashers did manage to find some good value over the years of their difficult existence as an expansion franchise. Tobias Enstrom, picked in the eighth round of the 2003 draft, is certainly one such example. The Thrashers also drafted Jim Slater, Ondrej Pavelec, Brian Little, and Ben Chiarot, all of whom had importance for the 2014-15 Jets. Other Thrashers first-rounders like Braydon Coburn and Kari Lehtonen have been solid NHL players despite the weight of their draft slots. By contrast, the once-brilliant careers of Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley have dimmed over time. Names like Boris Valabik, Alex Bourret, and Daultan Leveille stick out as truly devastating misses given the other talents available.

Despite the aforementioned current Jets, it is hard to pick out much middle-round value at all during the Thrashers’ existence, and the 2010 draft class is no exception. These draft deficiencies made for a deadly combination that helped doom the team to mediocrity or worse during its time in Georgia. That being said, there remains a distant hope that top ten pick Alexander Burmistrov has days in Winnipeg ahead of him, and there may be a depth player or two that makes the show someday.

1st Round, 8th Overall: Alexander Burmistrov, C, Barrie Colts (OHL)
NHL Games: 192
Status: European Pro (Ak Bars Kazan)

Burmistrov’s tenure in the Thrashers/Jets organization was a tumultuous one to say the very least. Well-publicized disagreements with then-head coach Claude Noel and overall dissatisfaction with his role in the franchise were all catalysts for Burmistrov’s departure to his hometown of Kazan after the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Unlike other top NHL talents who transition to the KHL, Burmistrov has not been a notably prolific scorer. He managed only 26 points in 53 games last season, well behind team scoring leader Justin Azevedo, and down from a 38 point campaign the season prior.

Hindsight is 20/20 and the selection of Burmistrov with the eighth overall selection – while notable players such as Cam Fowler and Vladimir Tarasenko were still on the board – definitely leaves the organization and its fans with a sour taste in their mouths. However, with the KHL in the decaying state that it is, rumors surrounding Burmistrov’s future and a potential return to the NHL – where Winnipeg still owns his rights – continue to circulate. By no means should Jets fans be ready to close the book on Burmistrov just yet, but up-and-coming talent like Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan, Andrew Copp and others may make him expendable.

Watch this 2010 NHL Draft Look Back video featuring Thrashers’ draft pick Alexander Burmistrov.

3rd Round, 87th Overall: Julian Melchiori, D, Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL)
NHL Games: 1
Status: Prospect

Melchiori just finished his third full season of playing in the AHL for the St. John’s IceCaps. Though his numbers do not jump off the page, Melchiori’s play has never been offensively-driven, as three goals in 124 OHL games bears out. Instead he is known for playing a quintessential stay-at-home defensive role.

Though he does not have tremendous upside, his reliable defensive play was rewarded with a call-up to the Jets for one game during his injury plagued 2013-14 NHL Season. With the drop-off in defensive talent in the Jets’ system, Melchiori could definitely be utilized as a shut-down, bottom-pairing defensive role in the future, one who uses his size and ability to process play effectively.

4th Round, 101st Overall: Ivan Telegin, C, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
NHL Games: 0
Status: Bust

Ivan Telegin is another Russian whose relationship with management has significantly eroded since being drafted in 2010. Telegin’s North American career is highlighted by a suspension in 2013-14 for not reporting to AHL affiliate St. John’s. This suspension, mixed with the lingering effects of a concussion sustained in the 2012-2013 campaign, saw Telegin miss the entire 2013-14 season.

Telegin subsequently returned to Russia and signed a two-year deal in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. With just four points in 31 KHL games last season, it is clear that Telegin is not going to be the same player as a pro as he was as a junior in the OHL: a prolific scorer. That said, CSKA’s faith in his overall ability is a good sign that he can recover his pro prospects after a tough injury.

5th Round, 128th Overall: Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, G, Almtuna IS (Sweden)
NHL Games: 0
Status: European Pro (HV71)

Selections in the fifth round and beyond typically are players that show glimmers of potential promise and essentially are comprised of management’s attempts to find either quality depth players or that miraculous diamond in the rough. Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel was a technically sound butterfly goaltender when the Jets selected him with the 128th pick. He was ranked second by ISS among European goaltenders.

He represented Sweden the year after his selection in the 2011 World Juniors where he backed up current Senators goaltender Robin Lehner. In terms of Pettersson-Wentzel’s longterm outlook he seems quite content with staying overseas, with a new contract to play for HV71. Fortunately for Jets fans the emergence of quality young goaltenders such as Connor Hellebuyck and Jamie Phillips in the system makes the pick of Pettersson-Wentzel not panning out an easy pill to swallow.  

5th Round, 150th Overall: Yasin Cissé, RW, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
NHL Games: 0
Status: Bust

Selecting Cisse with the 150th pick in 2010 fell in line with the Thrashers’ desired mold of accumulating big, physical power forwards –  remember that in the summer of 2010 they got much bigger with the acquisitions of Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd from the Blackhawks. Though he was a point-per-game with Des Moines in his draft year, he played only 18 games.

Cisse struggled at Boston University, getting just 2 goals and 7 points in three years before he left prior to his senior year to play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL. Cisse did sign an AHL contract with St. John’s but played 2014-15 in the ECHL, appearing in just ten games for Ontario. His time with the Jets organization appears to be at an end.

6th Round, 155th Overall: Kendall McFaull, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
NHL games: 0
Status: Bust

Standing 6’2” the big-bodied McFaull thrived at the physical side of the game while playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. With occasional glimmers of offensive upside he seemed to be a safe pick, capable of developing into a bottom pairing shutdown defenseman.

The Warriors captain in 2012-13, McFaull never signed with the Jets organization, but after becoming a free agent played two games in the AHL for the Oklahoma City Barons. He has played the last two years for the University of Saskatchewan collegiate squad.

6th Round, 160th Overall: Tanner Lane, C, Detroit Lakes High School (Minnesota)
NHL Games: 0
Status: Prospect

Despite a hot start to the 2014-2015 campaign at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Tanner Lane cooled off significantly, recording just eight points in 35 games – the lowest total since his freshman year.  A dominant offensive force in high school, Lane has gone through some significant growing pains adjusting his game to the more competitive collegiate level. He played an important role as the Mavericks’ third line center this season, and helped a young team reach the 2015 Frozen Four, despite a lack of offensive contributions.

With their deep and highly-talented prospect pool, it seems unlikely that the Jets will sign Lane after his graduation. However, other clubs may be tempted to give him a look due to his good size at 6’3″ paired with the flashes of offensive skill and solid hockey sense he has shown.

6th Round, 169th Overall: Sebastian Owuya, D, Timrå Jr. (Sweden)
NHL Games: 0
Status: Bust

After being drafted 169th overall by the Thrashers, the big-bodied Owuya played one year in the WHL for the Medicine Hat Tigers, followed by a quick stint in the ECHL, and has been playing in Sweden’s Division 1 league ever since. His lack of offensive production even in the second-tier suggests he will top out as a European pro.

7th Round, 199th Overall: Peter Stoykewych, D, Winnipeg South Blues (MJHL)
NHL Games: 0
Status: Prospect

All things considered, having a 7th round 199th overall pick still in your system five years later is a feat in and of itself. Stoykewych is a big puck-moving defenceman who – despite underwhelming offensive numbers in college – has emerged as a pro prospect partially due to his leadership qualities, evident in being named captain for Colorado College for his senior season. Stoykewych had the misfortune of having his tenure as a Tiger coincide with one of the most tumultuous periods in that school’s storied hockey history, with longtime coach Scott Owens stepping down in 2014 after 15 seasons at the helm. The transition to the more competitive NCHC also impacted the squad over his four seasons, and Stoykewych was certainly one of the team’s better players despite all this.

He played six games for St. John’s last year after signing an amateur try-out, registering one assist. Though he may be a longshot to seeing NHL action in the near future, he has the potential to be a strong leadership presence moving forward in St. John’s.  It does seem fitting that the Thrashers’ final draft pick was used on a Manitoba native, one who may yet arrive and wear a Jets jersey.

Follow Patrick Allen on Twitter via @HFPatrick