Winnipeg Jets 2011 NHL Entry Draft Class- One Year Later
It seems like just yesterday that Kyle Kosior, Michael Remis and I were in St.Paul, Minnesota for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft but it has been almost a year now since True North Sports & Entertainment Chairman Mark Chipman walked up to the draft podium and uttered the now famous words “It is now my pleasure to introduce our Executive Vice President and General Manager Mr. Kevin Cheveldayoff who will make our first pick on behalf of the Winnipeg Jets.”
With approximately three weeks to go before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania, we thought it would be a good idea to kick-start our 2012 NHL Draft Coverage with a look back at the 2011 Winnipeg Jets Draft Class.
To help with this article, Illegal Curve enlisted the help of Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) of Hockey Prospectus and ESPN to provide insight into some of the Jets top prospects.
1st Round (7th overall)- Mark Scheifele, Barrie Colts, Ontario Hockey League
3rd Round (67th overall)- Adam Lowry, Swift Current Broncos, Western Hockey League
3rd Round (78th overall)- Brennan Serville, Stoufville Spirit, Ontario Junior Hockey League
4th Round (119th overall)- Zachary Yuen, Tri-City Americans, Western Hockey League
5th Round (149th overall)- Austen Brassard, Belleville Bulls, Ontario Hockey League
6th Round (157th overall)- Jason Kasdorf, Portage Terriers, Manitoba Junior Hockey League
7th Round (187th overall)- Aaron Harstad, Green Bay Gamblers, United States Hockey League
Winnipeg Jets (NHL)- Regular Season: 7 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, even
Barrie Colts (OHL)- Regular Season: 47 games played, 23 goals, 40 assists, 63 points, +21
Playoffs: 13 Games Played, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points, +7
St.John’s IceCaps (AHL)- Playoffs: 10 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, even
Analysis: Mark Scheifele was the talk of the town in Winnipeg in 2011’12 and shocked many by making the Jets opening roster after a strong exhibition showing in which he registered eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in five games. Scheifele eventually returned to the Ontario Hockey League and had another strong season in Barrie, increasing his points per game average in the regular season from 1.14 to 1.34. Scheifele also played for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships and played 10 games in the American Hockey League Playoffs with the St.John’s IceCaps, where he saw limited action. Scheifele may play another year in the Ontario Hockey League and is still several years away from being a regular in the National Hockey League.
What Corey Pronman Says: Scheifele has fantastic hockey sense and good puck skills. He needed to work on his skating and strength level coming into the year and towards the end of the season, especially when I saw him in the AHL playoffs his skating looked notably better, at times flashing pro-average. Scheifele’s strength is still not where it needs to be though. In the AHL playoffs he didn’t really stand out all too much and if Winnipeg keeps him around next year, he likely will have to be very sheltered and won’t log a whole lot of even strength minutes. He seems to be a classic case of a top prospect way too good for the CHL and not ready to be a notable player in the NHL. He projects as a fringe 1st line center/great 2nd line center although if the skating improvement I saw in the AHL was for real I could see legit top line upside.
Swift Current Broncos (WHL)- 36 games played, 12 goals, 25 assists, 37 points, +4, 90 Penalty Minutes
Analysis: Adam Lowry, drafted 67th overall last year, might end up being quite the steal for the Jets. One of the players who impressed Illegal Curve at the Jets Rookie Camp last September, Lowry is tall and tenacious and stocked full of passion for the game. Lowry averaged a point-per-game for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League this past year and has shown good playmaking ability and an above-average scoring touch. Lowry is still raw at this point but he could end up being a two-way threat for the Jets in a few short years.
What Corey Pronman Says: Lowry’s season was cut short due to a broken bone in his wrist. He’s pretty physically developed, and with his big frame he can be quite effective in the physical game. He’s a smart player with decent offensive ability, but his skating needs a whole lot of attention. Like Yuen, he’s years away, but I could see him as a third liner.
University of Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)- 34 games played, 0 goals, 8 assists, 8 points, +8
Analysis: The Jets traded their two fourth round picks (97th and 108th overall) in the draft last year to pick Serville in the third round. The Jets are really high on Serville’s combination of size and skill and although he had a bit of rough transition from the Ontario Junior Hockey League to the American college game this year, the Jets believe he has the potential to turn into a reliable defenseman one day. Serville just completed his first year at the University of Michigan and is the quintessential long-term project who may easily play three more years of college hockey.
What Corey Pronman Says: Serville is a big defender with a strong body that can be punishing physically but really didn’t show a whole lot of puck moving ability.
Tri-City Americans (WHL)- Regular Season: 66 games played, 12 goals, 26 assists, 38 points, +45
Playoffs: 15 games played, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -3
Analysis: Zach Yuen is an intriguing prospect. He has played the last three years for the Tri-City Americans, increasing his points total each year and more importantly becoming a well-rounded defenseman in the process. Yuen had the best plus minus in the WHL this past season at +45, which is no small feat. Yuen is extremely responsible in his own end and possesses tremendous vision. Yuen may play one more year of junior before he is ready to try his hand at the professional game.
What Corey Pronman Says: Yuen really stands out because of his skating ability and smarts. He has high-end mobility, good toughness and smart with his on and off the puck reads. Scouts I’ve talked to this year think he could be average offensively, but don’t expect him to be a powerplay weapon or anything. He’s still several years away, but if everything pans out I could see him as a #4 defender.
Belleville Bulls (OHL)- Regular Season: 64 games played, 27 goals, 24 assists, 51 points, +6, 71 penalty minutes
Playoffs: 6 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points
Analysis: Brassard increased his point total from 34 points one year ago to 51 points this past year and really improved his two-way game as one of the older players on the Bulls. Brassard is a physical player who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. Brassard most likely projects as a third-line energy winger at the professional level.
Des Moines Buccaneers (United States Hockey League)- 17 games played, 7 wins, 10 losses, 3.04 GAA, .912 Save Percentage
Analysis: After initially committing to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in NCAA Division I, Kasdorf decided to play for Des Moines in the United States Hockey League, where he got into 17 games of action. His win-loss record might not stand out but Kasdorf earned three shutouts and a solid save percentage on a weak Des Moines team (Des Moines finished second last in the Western Conference). It appears that Kasdorf will play for RPI next season where he will have the opportunity to play against a higher level of competition.
Colorado College (NCAA)- 29 games played, 0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points, 27 penalty minutes
Analysis: After three years with Green Bay of the United States Hockey League, Harstad played for the Colorado College Tigers this past year. Harstad has limited offensive skills and is more of a stay-at-home type but he could develop into a shut-down defenseman.
You can check out Corey Pronman’s Top 100 2012 Entry Draft Prospects series.