The Winnipeg Jets enter their second-ever draft year looking for some high-end skill to complement their growing stable of big, hardworking players. Having drafted entirely from North America last year, and focusing on size and toughness, the need going forward is to complement that strength with some skillful puck-movers, either forwards or defenders. There will still be plenty more of the strong characters and imposing physiques taken in this draft, but look for the Jets to swing for the fences in the first round.
Top 10 Prospects:
The Jets need to add high-end skill players who can generate offense and link together their existing crew of hard-working talent. There is a definite need for a high-end playmaker who can center one of the top two lines and get the puck to their big wingers in scoring positions. The Jets also need move puck-moving defenseman, players can run the power play and generate offense from the backend and someone who can complement their big shooting blueliners. In later rounds, look for some added goaltending depth to challenge for future starts.
There is no shortage of size and strong characters on the Jets' depth chart. There is a definite trend toward big wingers who work hard in the corners and can drop the gloves and there is also a surplus of big and tough blueliners. The bottom six roles have plenty of competition at the moment and the Jets can count on plenty of desire and competitive spirit from their prospect pool.
High-end skill is a shortcoming for the Jets, as there is just not much of it in the prospect pool at the moment. The Jets talent gauge drops quickly after Schiefele and there is no certainty that top-five prospects Klingberg, Postma, and Telegin will translate to high-end NHLers. The Jets will need to add more depth to their forward pool especially projects who can project to be top-six players.
If one draft can indicate a tendency it would be big and Canadian. The Jets selected six players that stand over the height of 6'2 and did not select from the European side of the rankings once in 2011. Aside from American Aaron Harstad all the picks were Canadian and aside from 6' defender Zach Yuen, all were notably large. Combined with previous drafts under the Thrashers banner, the Jets have plenty of size down the wings and some big defenders, most of whom play in the CHL.
The Jets own the 9th, 39th, 70th, 130th, 160th, and 190th picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
No. 9: Teuvo Teravainen, F, Jokerit (SM-liiga)
Teravainen is one of the most skilled prospects available in the draft. He has exceptional playmaking skills, is an elusive and shifty skater and has a lethal array of sniper weaponry. He is a smooth operator on the power play, controlling the play from the half-boards and looking to finish with a laser beam one-timer. Although not able to win many physical battles, his first-step quickness and superior awareness allow him to move in and out of traffic and his deceptive speed and sleight-of-hand puck skills make defenders think twice about trying to step into him. One of the fastest risers on the rankings lists, Teravainen scored a goal-per-game in junior to start the year and worked his way up to the senior men's team in Jokerit.