Welcome to the January 2016 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various levels of competition who are either exceeding expectations or falling behind. Read more»
The Czech Republic entered the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship looking to shock everyone from a position of anonymity. Not looked at as a favorite, the team nonetheless featured some very solid players who also happened to be NHL-drafted prospects, including New Jersey Devils recent sixth overall selection, Pavel Zacha. The team even got a huge boost when the Boston Bruins allowed last season’s rookie sensation David Pastrnak to join his native country on a sort of reassignment after an injury-plagued first half of the season. Read more»
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.