Hutchison, Ehlers, Morrissey, best of a great group of prospects for the Winnipeg Jets
Presently, the Jets are in a bad situation. They have one of the worst starting goaltenders in the league, a star who doesn’t want to play for them and a static general manager. They do have one thing going for them, though, and that’s there slew of grade-A prospects. In net, goalies Michael Hutchison, Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie await Winnipeg’s club.
Hutchison will have his chance to prove to the Jets he’s worthy of overtaking the lacking incumbent Pavelec this season, as he was signed to a two year contract earlier in the year. The 24-year-old Hutchison had a fantastic year with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps. He posted a .923 save percentage and let in 2.30 goals per game. Hutchison backstopped the IceCaps all the way to the 2014 Calder Cup Finals.
Another great goaltending prospect is Connor Hellebuyck, a 21 year-old from Commerce, Michigan. At the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Hellebuyck saved a spectacular 0.941 percent of the shots he faced. Hellebuyck will most likely start for the AHL IceCaps this season.
The next up-and-coming goaltender, Eric Comrie, is the netminder for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. He had a .924 save percentage and 2.57 GAA. The 2nd round pick of the Jets has been ranked with a 7.5 talent score, out of 10, by Hockey’s Future.
Moving to forwards, Jets fans can look forward to right wing Scott Kosmachuk. Last season with the Guelph Storm, Kosmachuk assisted on 52 goals and scored 49 of his own for a total of 101 points. He’ll be a great third, possibly second line player for the Winnipeg Jets.
Austen Brassard, a gritty forward, was picked in the fifth round by the Jets. The right winger had 33 points in 62 games for the Bulls, and had a brief tenure with the St. John’s IceCaps.
Ranked the sixth best NHL prospect by ESPN’s Corey Pronman, Nikolaj Ehlers is being called something special. The ninth overall pick had an amazing year with the QMJHL Halifax Mooseheads. He scored 49 goals and had 55 assists, a total of 104 points, in 63 games. Jets fans should be very excited about this kid.
“WPG select Ehlers (my rank: 5), unbelievable yr for a rookie 17 YO import. Small, but his speed and skill creates scoring chances in bunches,” wrote Pronman about the 8th overall pick.
The second left wing prospect fans of the Winnipeg Jets should be eager to see is Carl Klingberg. A second round pick, this Swede scored 22 and assisted on 21 goals for a total of 43 points. Hockey’s Future says, “With NHL ready size and skating, it seems only a matter of timing before Klingberg becomes an NHL regular.“
Adam Lowry, my triennial left wing rookie, is a 6’4”, 186 pound player. He’s more of an edgy player, but still has a scoring touch. He scored 17 goals and assisted on 16 goals, for 33 points. The St. Louis native will be a good third line scorer in the NHL. Look for him to be a candidate during training camp to make the Jets for the 2014-15 season.
My personal favourite Jet-to-be, though, is Nic Petan. The 5’9” forward played for the Portland Winterhawks last year, where he scored 35 goals and had 78 assists, for 113 points. The centre was named to the WHL’s first all-star team. Hockey’s Future says that he, “[Has a] Quick release. A slick passer of the puck.”
One more great centre prospect is Jimmy Lodge. He’s a great passer, and at 6’2” is a big body. With the Saginaw Spirit he scored 19 goals in 59 games.
Josh Morrissey leads a great group of defensive prospects in possession of the Jets. The Calgary native was selected 13th overall by the Jets in 2013, and is looking like a very, very good pick. He helped Team Canada win gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in 2012 and 2013. Morrissey is an overall great defenceman. He knows when to move up with the puck and when to hang back and defend. I’ve seen him play multiply times and can attest to the fact that he could make a great half of a top-4 pairing.
Jack Glover, a great D-man, is becoming a star on the back-end for the USA in their National Development Program. He’ll play for the University of Minnesota this season, and will most likely arrive in St. John’s for the 2015-16 season.
All in all, this is a great group of prospects. The Jets are very deep in terms of their future players in all positions. Jets fans should get excited for this batch of players to arrive in the near future. Whether it be their depth in net, potential first line player in Ehlers, or all-around great defenceman in Morrissey, the Jets current woes could be eclipsed by the success of these future NHLers.