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Where are they now? A look back at the Winnipeg Jets 2013 draft class

Looking back at the Jets 2013 draft in Newark.

We’ve already looked back to St. Paul (2011) and Pittsburgh (2012) and today we reflect on the 2013 Draft which was held in Newark, New Jersey.  To date this qualifies as the biggest draft class for the Jets as they made a whopping 10 selections over the course of the weekend.  While the team didn’t make the playoffs again that season they saw an improvement which moved them out of a Top 10 draft spot for the first time since relocation.

1st round pick (13th overall):  Josh Morrissey

With the 13th overall pick, The Jets selected hard hitting, smooth skating defenceman Josh Morrissey of the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL which at the time was seen as a bit of a reach with most experts having him anywhere from the late teens to the end of the 1st round.  The young prospect had his best year in junior the following season in 2013-14 which included a 20 game run with the Jets AHL affiliate in St. John’s. Morrissey had also signed his three-year entry-level contract with Winnipeg in October of 2013.  He would spend one more season in junior (which included a trade to Kelowna) to close out his WHL career which concluded by his squad winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as champions of the WHL.

Morrissey turned pro the same season the Moose made their return to Winnipeg and he played with Manitoba for all of 2015-16 with the exception of one game for the Jets although his season in the AHL ended early due to injury.  That year Morrissey didn’t just make a difference on the ice, off it he was consistently making a difference with young kids meeting with them after every single game (win or lose) which earned him the nod as Manitoba’s IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.  Once the 2016-17 got underway Morrissey was with the big club to stay as he continued to improve game after game, eventually becoming a top-pairing D man for his club.  Morrissey signed a two-year deal in September of 2018 and he will be a player the Jets will be looking to lock up long term.

2nd round pick (43rd overall):  Nic Petan

The Jets selected dynamic forward Nic Petan from the Portland Winterhawks with this selection after he had a massive 120 point season in the Western Hockey League. Petan thereafter put up 113 points the following year in junior with Portland which also included him signing his three-year ELC with the Jets in December of 2013 (on the same day he would score twice for Team Canada at the World Junior championship).  After turning pro in 2015-16 he would play in both the NHL (26 games) and the AHL (47 games).  The following season he would play 54 games with the Jets and just nine with the Moose.  In the final year of his ELC he would only play 15 games with the Jets and 52 with the Moose.  As an RFA he would sign a one-year deal with the Jets in 2018-19 but play in just 13 games while spending the majority of the season in the pressbox.

Petan was a controversial (through no fault of his own) player as plenty of folks wanted him to be given a bigger opportunity on the club during his time in Winnipeg.  However it was not to be and on Trade Deadline Day this past season Petan was given a fresh start when the Jets made a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Par Lindholm.  Petan scored in his first game with his new club although he would only play five games for Toronto this past season.  He was subsequently re-signed by the Leafs in March to a two-year deal.

2nd round pick (59th overall):  Eric Comrie

When the Jets didn’t sign Atlanta Thrashers 2008 1st round pick (29th overall) Daultan Leveille to a contract they were awarded a compensatory 2nd round pick.

With that selection they took Tri-City Americans goalie Eric Comrie who was born in Edmonton but grew up in California (the younger brother of NHLers Paul and Mike Comrie). He signed his three-year ELC with Winnipeg in December of 2013 although he wouldn’t turn pro until the 2015-16 season.  Comrie was originally expected to back up Connor Hellebuyck, who would have played the majority of games, but with the Jets having injury issues that season, Comrie ended up playing in 46 games for Manitoba.  That rookie season saw him replace Hellebuyck as the AHL All-Star goalie who was playing in the NHL.  With Hellebuyck up with the big club for good the net was Comrie’s to start 2016-17 and he would play 51 games for Manitoba as well as his first NHL game (a win over the Blue Jackets) for the Jets.  That same season he was recognized by Manitoba as their IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award winner for his work in the community and was named to Team Canada’s roster for the World Hockey Championship.

Comrie signed a one-year deal for the 2018-19 season with the Jets but played basically his entire season in the AHL (47 games) and was arguably the team’s MVP.  He is currently an RFA.  It should be a very interesting season for Comrie in 2019-20 with prospect goalie Mikhail Berdin looking to take on a bigger role.

2nd round pick (61st overall):  Traded

The Jets sent this pick (which was originally Chicago’s 2nd round selection they had acquired in the Johnny Oduya trade) to the Washington Capitals for three picks in 2013 including their 3rd round pick (84th), their 4th round pick (114th) and a 5th round pick (127th overall, which was originally Calgary’s).

3rd round pick (74th overall):  Traded

The Jets sent this pick along with their 5th rounder in this same draft to the Blackhawks for Michael Frolik.  Chicago drafted centre John Hayden who played four years at Yale and has played 113 NHL games for the Hawks. (Hayden was recently traded to the New Jersey Devils)

3rd round pick (84th overall):  Jimmy Lodge

The Jets went with centre Jimmy Lodge who played for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL with this selection.  The Pennsylvania native had his best offensive totals in junior the year he was drafted.  In March of 2015 he was signed by Winnipeg to a three-year entry-level deal which would see him split his first pro season between the AHL and ECHL.  This year also included Lodge being shut out from goal scoring the first 42 games (of 44 he played that season) only to score a natural hat trick in the second last game of the year.  His offensive totals improved in his second year pro but in his third and final season with the organization he spent the majority of it in the ECHL with Jacksonville.  He sat out last year “in order to pursue academic opportunities through Canadian U Sports athletics” but will be back in pro hockey playing in the ECHL with the Orlando Solar Bears.

3rd round pick (91st overall):  JC Lipon

For the fourth time during the 2013 draft the Jets made a selection from the WHL picking hard hitting JC Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers.  The product of Regina, Saskatchewan would sign a three-year, entry-level contract with the Jets a few months later and would begin his pro career in the AHL with their farm club in St. John’s.  After two seasons out east Lipon spent the 2015-16 season playing for both the Moose and getting nine games in the NHL with the Jets (his only NHL games to date).  Each summer for the last four he has signed one-year deals with the Jets.  Lipon has been a consistent producer at the AHL level and is one of the alternate captains for the Moose.

4th round pick (104th overall):  Andrew Copp

With their 2012 1st rounder (Jacob Trouba) playing at the University of Michigan the Jets selected his teammate and fellow Michiganite Andrew Copp who had completed his first season at the hallowed campus located in Ann Arbor. Copp played three seasons of college hockey but forwent his final year to sign a pro contract (three-year ELC) with Winnipeg back in March of 2015 and would play his first game with the Jets (against the Flames) in April.  After playing his first full season in 2015-16 he ended up playing eight games with the Moose in 2016-17 although he would still log 64 games for the parent club that season. The stint in the minors really seemed to motivate the versatile centre/winger and he hasn’t been back in the AHL since.  Last season Copp had his best one as a pro despite missing 13 games due to injury (11 goals, 14 assists). He went to arbitration this summer and was awarded/signed a two-year contract with the Jets ($2.28 million AAV).

4th round pick (114th overall): Jan Kostalek

Winnipeg selected the right shot defenceman from the Czech Republic who was playing for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL (he was the first player they took from that branch of the CHL).  In 2015 he would be signed to a three-year, entry-level deal by the Jets.  Starting in 2015-16 he would play the next three seasons with the farm club but just never made a significant impact to merit promotion.  Having said that he is the answer to the trivia question:  Which Moose player scored the first playoff goal for the second incarnation of the team here in Winnipeg?

He returned home to the Czech Republic for the 2018-19 season playing with Sparta Praha in the Czech Extraliga.

5th round pick (127th overall):  Tucker Poolman

Winnipeg had this pick (which was originally Calgary’s) as a result of a draft day trade with the Capitals.

The product of East Grand Forks, Minnesota was playing for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL when drafted by the Jets and would go on to play with the University of North Dakota which would include a national championship in his sophomore season.  When Poolman chose to return for his junior year there was concern amongst the Jets fan base as there was concern he would play a full four years of college and be eligible as a free agent after August 15th of his fourth year of college hockey.  But it was simply an opportunity to play with his brother Colton (current UND captain) and try to repeat as national champs.  When his third college season ended he signed a one-year deal with the Jets and immediately underwent bi-lateral shoulder surgery.

Photo Credit: Colby Spence

Poolman would end up splitting his first pro season in 2017-18 between the Jets and Moose which included scoring his first NHL goal (December 23rd) before his first AHL goal (January 20th).  He would end up playing 23 NHL games that season.  The summer following he signed a three-year contract with Winnipeg and was a beast for the Manitoba Moose although he would only play 43 games due to a number of injuries.  At one point last season his coach with the Moose Pascal Vincent said he “was playing like he was in the wrong league” as he was clearly ready to make the jump to the NHL and ended the year with the team award for best defender.  Expectations are Poolman will make the jump to the Jets full time next season.

5th round pick (134th overall):  Traded

As was mentioned above regarding the Jets 3rd round pick as well as this 5th round pick were part of the trade they used to acquire Michael Frolik from Chicago.  With the 134th selection the Hawks took Luke Johnson who played college hockey at North Dakota followed by three seasons as a pro mostly with their AHL affiliate in Rockford although he did play 15 games last season for the big club.

6th round pick (164th overall):  Traded

Near as I can tell this pick was traded to the Penguins as part of the Jets acquisition of Eric Tangradi in February of 2013.  I say “near” because all the press releases say it was a 7th round pick (not a 6th) aside from one which seems to indicate it was conditional (based on Tangradi playing a certain number of games for the Jets) and since the Jets didn’t have a 6th rounder this draft seems that it was conditional.

7th round pick (190th overall):  Brenden Kichton

Kichton was already mentioned in our 2011 retrospective when he was drafted by the Islanders in the 5th round using a pick they had acquired via trade with the Thrashers in 2010.  After not being signed by New York he re-entered the draft and was selected by Winnipeg in the last round.  This pick (as well as a 4th in 2014) was one Winnipeg had acquired from New Jersey during the 2013 season when they sent Alexei Ponikarovsky to the Devils.

In August of 2013 Kichton was signed by the Jets to a three-year entry-level contract and went on to play in the organization for four years at the AHL level, with the IceCaps for two years in St. John’s and two years with the Moose here in Winnipeg which included a one-year deal signed in July of 2016.  He would spend one more season in North America playing for the Hurricanes AHL affiliate in Charlotte during the 2017-18 season before moving on to play in Finland last season.  It appears Kichton has inked a deal with the Vienna Capitals for next season who are an Austrian pro team who play in the Erste Bank Hockey League.  He will play with some familiar faces in Austria as former Jets/Moose defenceman Mark Flood plays on that squad as does former Thrashers 2nd round draft pick (2006) Riley Holzapfel (although Holzapfel & Kitchton didn’t play together with the Moose).

Kichton was a very talented offensive defenceman who actually led the entire Moose team in scoring during the first season back in Winnipeg.  It included him getting a late season recall by the Jets and I thought he’d maybe get into his first NHL game with Winnipeg out of the playoffs.  Instead he didn’t get into any game action but he was certainly motivated as the Jets landed very early in the AM (5-6 ish) and he texted then coach Keith McCambridge to play an afternoon game (the home finale) for the Moose which saw him score once and get two assists.  The following year was a frustrating one from a goal scoring perspective as he was held without a goal until the third last game of the season but it was an OT winner and he was mobbed by his teammates as if he had scored a playoff game winner.

7th round pick (194th overall):  Marcus Karlstrom

Jets fans may be scratching their heads over this name as he wasn’t a prospect that would end up spending any time in the Winnipeg system.  After being drafted he would play two more seasons in Sweden before spending a season in North America playing tier II junior with the Austin Bruins.  He would not be signed by Winnipeg to a contract when the time came for them to do so which made him a free agent.  He spent last season in the Swedish 1st Division.

Review:

1st – Josh Morrissey – With the Jets
2nd – Nic Petan – With the Toronto Maple Leafs
2nd – Eric Comrie –  With the Jets/Moose
3rd – Jimmy Lodge – In the ECHL.
3rd – JC Lipon – With the Moose
4th – Andrew Copp – With the Jets
5th – Jan Kostalek – Playing in Czech Republic.
5th – Tucker Poolman – With the Jets.
7th – Brendan Kitchton – Playing in Austria.
7th – Marcus Karlstrom – Playing in Sweden.

Next up: We look at the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia.

Resources used:

NHL Trade tracker

Hockey DB

Wikipedia NHL Draft Recap

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David Minuk

Working hard on a daily basis to provide the latest Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose news for our readers and listeners.

I also appear on the Illegal Curve Hockey Show every Saturday on TSN 1290 Winnipeg starting at 9 am.

And I occasionally jump in the play-by-play booth at Bell MTS Place to provide colour analysis during Manitoba Moose games.
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