The Winnipeg Jets have effectively erased the memories of ineffective drafting that plagued the franchise’s Atlanta incarnation. Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry, taken in 2011, are already NHL players capable of tough minutes. 2012 picks Jacob Trouba and Connor Hellebuyck are developing well as pros – albeit at different stages. While players picked in 2013 and onward remain to be judged, the early returns are excellent. Scouting is only one part of the equation that leads to a successful NHL franchise, but it is a crucial aspect for a frugal team like Winnipeg.
The recent promotion of Mark Hillier to Director of Amateur Scouting from Head Amateur Scout seems like a small change in terms of title. Under Marcel Comeau’s direction since 2003, the Atlanta Thrashers amassed a mixed record – as all teams do. Since relocation however, the team had begun to separate from the pack. How much is due to Hillier’s input versus Comeau or others is unclear, but the Winnipeg Jets now find themselves with one of the deepest collections of young talent in the NHL.
As might be noticed in international competition, the center position is often an area that Russia has some trouble filling with younger prospects, as that country instead fills with veterans like Pavel Datsyuk or Evgeny Malkin because of the apparent lack of production from younger, less established players. But recently, there have been some signs of trend inversion as there have been some centers drafted by NHL teams out of the KHL. Read more»
The Winnipeg Jets were expected to struggle out of the gate this year — particularly in the goaltending department — but thanks to a strong team defense and a balanced scoring attack they are holding their own. The Jets have been good on the road thus far, posting a 6-4-2 record away from the MTS Centre.