September 17 2013 12:07AM
The Jets have made their first cuts of training camp, sending out 7 Junior-age players, 2 tryouts, and 1 pro. We'll talk about who, why, and where they are headed inside.
- Lukas Sutter, 39th overall 2012
- Nic Petan, 43rd overall 2013
- Eric Comrie, 59th overall, 2013
- Scott Kosmachuk, 70th overall, 2012
- Jimmy Lodge, 84th overall, 2013
- Jan Kostalek, 114th overall, 2013
- Ryan Olsen, 160th overall, 2012
- Mitchell Theoret (Tryout), 185th overall, 2011 (by NYI)
- Axel Blomqvist (Tryout), Not Drafted
- Zach Bell (to St John's), Not Drafted
Though none of these players were expected to make the team, there are a few small surprises, especially in light of who remains in camp.
As an October birthday with four seasons of WHL service, Lukas Sutter is eligible to play in the AHL this year. The team has not signed him to a professional contract, and being sent out with the junior players in the first round of cuts is not a promising message for the former second round pick. He had poor results at the Young Stars camp, despite a plum assignment on the wing of Mark Scheifele. Sutter has had his conditioning questioned during his Junior years, but now goes to Red Deer to play under Uncle Brent. Brent Sutter is known for his strict adherence to fitness, so the year may do him well. If not, the Jets may elect to not offer him a contract, and Lukas could see himself skating in another team's camp come 2014.
Nic Petan and his dazzling skill was an extreme long shot to make the Jets this season, so it comes as no surprise to see him sent back to the WHL. Still, I thought me might hang around a little longer after his pre-season performance against Washington. He will look to build off of his 120-point season with the Winterhawks last season, and will almost certainly be a key addition to Canada’s World Junior team. Expect Petan to make a bit more of a push to make the team next season when Jokinen's contract has ended, but the Jets are making smart, long term, developmental decisions right now.
A hopeful goalie of the future for the Jets, Eric Comrie was only given one game in the Young Stars tournament to show his stuff. He has talent and incredible athleticism, but is far from NHL ready. I am surprised that he didn’t get any preseason action, but with the number of goalies in Jets camp, it makes sense he got trimmed. It might sound silly to say about a goalie, but he needs to build on his very thin, almost fragile looking frame, and likely has more physical maturing to do over the next year. Comrie will also be competing for a spot on Canada’s Junior team this winter, which will undoubtedly provide him some valuable experience.
Scott Kosmachuk's skill has been on display since the start of rookie camp - even scoring a goal in the Jets first preseason gamenight - but he still has a few too many flaws in his game. He was visibly frustrated at times during the Young Stars tournament and another year or two in the OHL won’t hurt. Still needs to fill out, and can build on his point-per-game season with the Guelph Storm.
Jets Nation was excited to see new Jet Jimmy Lodge, but unfortunately he was unable to play a game due to injury. He's an obvious cut, but it's always tough for a young man to walk away without making an impression. He's rail-thin and has a limited Junior resume to date, so we'll watch his progress in Saginaw this year.
What can we say about Jan Kostalek - a terrific showing at the Young Stars tournament, one of the best Jets in their pre-season contest against Ottawa, and already well ahead of his 4th round pedigree. When playing with Sol, drove offence and took chances at the offensive blue line. Playing with Kichton, he played the role of a defensive defenceman. Showed off a very complete, mature game for an 18 year old with limited strength. Needs to add weight to continue his open-ice hitting at the NHL level, and needs to show he has more offence at the Junior level after a disappointing year in the boxcars with Rimouski. Has pro defenceman written all over him, though, and may make more noise one year from now.
Ryan Olsen certainly looked better than his draft ranking at rookie camp, but keeps being given an up-hill battle on this team. Has good size and speed, showed some hands on top of a willingness to be physical. Had a huge jump in his offence moving to the Kelowna Rockets last season, and the question will be whether he can repeat in his draft +2 season.
Which brings us to tryouts Axel Blomqvist and Mitchell Theoret. Theoret led the Jets prospects in goals in Penticton this year, but our own Kevin McCartney was not flattering in his reports on him - calling his scoring opportunistic and criticisizing his mobility and awareness. After an unremarkable four years in Junior, Theoret enters his final year with the Barrie Colts with a lot of 'Needs to improve' written on his scouting card. Blomqvist, however, was the youngest player on the Jets prospect team and showed well. He used his size and reach effectively, had slow feet but not impossibly slow. Kevin McCartney keeps comparing him to Dustin Penner, so maybe he's destined to be under-appreciated. Look for him to be drafted next season as an over-ager.
The strangest cut from camp has to be Zach Bell - the first pro to be sent away. He has a very raw game and needs to add a lot to his mobility, but makes contact well and has NHL size at just 20 years of age. Given that ECHL regular Cody Sol and pre-season game-one goat Ben Chiarot remain in camp, it can't be a good sign for Bell, who seems to have earned the status of low man on the pole.
The Jets still have 48 in camp, and likely send out another round of cuts before Thursday's game against Minnesota.