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The Monday Manitoba Moose Report

Catch up with all the latest Manitoba Moose news.

Kick start your week with the Monday Manitoba Moose Report, which fills you in on the latest news about the Jets AHL farm club.

Manitoba Moose Week-in-Review

The Moose played two games on the road this weekend. Friday’s game was a 3-0 win over San Antonio – farm club for the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Hellebuyck was the star of the show, with a 26-save shutout. Saturday’s game was not as rosy – a 6-1 loss against the highly powered Texas Stars (Dallas).

Josh Morrissey and J.C Lipon missed both games after they got called up by the Jets on Friday. Morrissey was an emergency recall due to an injury to Jacob Trouba, and suited up for his first career game against Montreal on Saturday. He was on the ice for 15:54, and was calm and steady playing alongside Tyler Myers on the second pairing. With Trouba back in action for Sunday’s game, Morrissey did not play in Sunday’s loss to Edmonton. Lipon played both games on the weekend, registering his first career NHL point on Saturday with an assist on Andrew Copp’s deflection. He also showed the true hallmarks of his game – hustle and physical play – on a fourth line which included Copp and Matt Halischuk.

With Morrissey’s call-up, the Moose iced a blueline which included four rookies – Peter Stoykewych, Aaron Harstad, Brennan Serville, and Jan Kostalek – who picked up an assist in Friday’s game. Stoykewych has been a pleasant surprise for the team this year, and Kostalek has also made big strides since the start of the year, as noted recently by Connor Hellebuyck. That said, there’s a lot of growth that remains for these young players, as shown by Saturday’s game in Texas.

Austen Brassard had two more points on Friday, giving him 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games. When asked recently if Brassard’s offensive game was underrated, Keith McCambridge quickly replied, “he’s not underrated to us”. Brassard now has 13 goals and 29 points – not far off the team lead. Nic Petan also picked up a pair of assists, and is now tied for the team lead in scoring, with 31 points in 43 games.

Austen Brassard

The Moose are back at home for two games this week – tonight, and Wednesday against the Iowa Wild (Minnesota), before going back on the road for two games in Grand Rapids (Detroit’s farm club).

Jets’ Prospect Update

The Moose’s best young prospects are led by two great young goaltenders – Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie – a very good defensive prospect in Josh Morrissey, and a few undersized, but highly skilled forwards – Nic Petan and Chase De Leo. After your top-5, you can throw in a future bottom-6 forward (J.C Lipon), and a few other skilled wingers with some potential (Scott Kosmachuk and Austen Brassard), and there’s your Moose players to watch in a nutshell.

All the other prospects of note are currently playing US College (NCAA), the Canadian Hockey League (WHL / OHL), or in Europe – Russia’s KHL, or Finland’s SM-Liiga. Below is a summary of the top-15 Jets prospects, playing either amateur hockey in North America, or pro hockey in Europe. As you can see, the bulk of the Jets’ prospects are playing in the NCAA.

Top-15 Jets Prospects (Excluding AHL Moose)

Jets prospects stats - March 7, 2016

Top Prospects Snapshot

It would be easy to discuss Kyle Connor at length – if you’re interested, check out last week’s post – but suffice to say that he’s having a glorious year, and is the likely recipient of the Hobey Baker as the top player in US College Hockey. (He also kept his point streak going, which now sits at 21 games). The biggest question in Jets-land is whether he will sign an NHL contract after NCAA playoffs wrap-up.

Next on the list is Brendan Lemieux. He’s having a strong end to his junior career in Windsor, teaming up with Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Fischer. Lemieux looks to be a middle-6 winger at the NHL level, who can play a physical game, but also fill the net. Chances are he’ll start next season with the Moose, unless he’s able to stick with the Jets.

Jack Roslovic had a great start to the year, with points in 11 of his first 13 games, but he has really slowed down in 2016. That said, he still leads his team in scoring, and isn’t getting a lot of help from the supporting cast in his freshman year. This first-round picks is still a very good prospect, and will likely spend another year or two in college.

Jansen Harkins has had a disappointing follow-up to his tremendous pre-draft year. Last year,  he had 79 points in 70 games as a 17-year-old, and lead his team in scoring; this year, he has just 54 points in 64 games, and is 5th in team scoring, below players who were drafted behind him, or not drafted at all. Harkins has another WHL season left to show why he was drafted in the second round last year.

Tucker Poolman is a late bloomer who’s playing just his second year in college at the age of 22, (where most players would be in their senior (4th) year). He’s a big body with a booming shot who has slowly risen up the Jets’ organizational depth since he was drafted in the 5th round in 2013. He may turn pro this spring and suit up for the Moose in the final games of the season.

Turning Pro in 2016?

A few other players who may join the Moose as soon as this spring include C.J Franklin – a sturdy, gritty winger who’s leading his NCAA squad in goals, and Jamie Phillips, a senior at Michigan Tech who was one of last year’s finalists for the Mike Richter trophy (best goaltender in the NCAA). Pavel Kraskovsky and Sami Niku may also come to North America and play with the Moose, but they could just as easily stay in their home countries and develop in those strong pro leagues. WHL defenceman Nelson Nogier will also likely join the Moose next year and continue his development in the AHL. Most of the other players listed still have CHL eligibility (meaning they’d have to make the Jets, and can’t skip the Moose), or are very early in their college careers, and will stay in the amateur ranks for the next year.