Future Plans: Dec. 9, 2014

Andrew Halipchuk
December 09 2014 01:15AM

No matter how good or poor a team is playing, fans always seem to be concerned about a team’s prospect list and who will be the next player to make a difference on the team. The Jets’ faithful are no different

In the past two weeks since our last Future Plans, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate the St. John’s IceCaps had a rough spell being shutout in three of five games and scoring just seven goals in their two victories.

Below is a list of Winnipeg’s top 10 prospects over the past two weeks, and reasons that they are positioned where they are on the list.

NOTE: I consider a Jets prospect to be any player whose rights are owned by the Jets and have not yet played 50 games in the NHL.

Sorry this is a day late, I promise it wont happen again.

Without further adieu, lets get started.

#10: Axel Blomqvist – RW, Victoria Royals (WHL) [Last Ranking: NR]
The fresh face of the week is the giant Swedish winger, who is currently sitting at a point-per-game this season (26p in 26gp). The 6’6 forward had a great two weeks for his Royals netting three goals and three assists in five games. I’m shocked Sweden did not invite Blomqvist to their WJC camp. They could use a guy like him.

#9: Connor Hellebuyck – G, St. John’s IceCaps (AHL) [Last Ranking: 7th]
Hellebuyck starts our drop off for the IceCaps prospects. In five starts Connor lost three games, saw his GAA rise to 1.72 and his SV% drop to .939. Not a good way to follow up five wins in six game in our last rankings.

#8: Carl Klingberg – LW, St. John’s IceCaps (AHL) [Last Ranking: 6th]
Klingberg has started a steady drop off on our list, dropping from 3rd (Oct. 27, 2014) all the way to 8th this week. In the IceCaps past five games, the Swede managed just one assist, but remained an even 0 in the plus/minus category. Hopefully Klingberg and the rest of the IceCaps can turn it around fast.

#7: Eric O’Dell – C, St. John’s IceCaps (AHL) [Last Ranking: 4th]
O’Dell falls into the same category as the rest of his IceCaps teammates, he fell flat in a two week span. Because of his single assist in five games he drops, but is still my choice as the first forward call up when another Jets forward goes down. (NOT CORMIER!)

#6: Chase De Leo – C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) [Last Ranking: 10th]
De Leo as well as out next two prospects’ raise comes not only because of their recent play but the rough two weeks St. John’s IceCaps players had. The speedy forward had a goal and nine assists for his Winterhawks these past two weeks. De Leo, like his teammate Nic Petan was named to his countries selection camp for the World Junior Championships this coming Christmas season.

#5: Jimmy Lodge – C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) [Last Ranking: 9th]
Lodge, like De Leo moves up due to his own strong play. The hard-working centre from Pennsylvania has become a leading contributor on his new OHL team, netting four goals and three assists in six games. He is currently riding a five-game point streak, but will unfortunately not be joining Chase De Leo at USA’s WJC selection camp this month.

#4: Andrew Copp – C, U. of Michigan Wolverines (NCAA) [Last Ranking: 5th]
As the NCAA season nears its winter break, Copp and his Michigan Wolverines will be playing less and less in the coming weeks. In the past two weeks, Copp only played three games, but netted two goals and an assist in that time. Copp was also named the first start of his last game where he scored his two goals and extended his point streak to two games.

#3: Josh Morrissey – D, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) [Last Ranking: 3rd]
The first first-round selection on our list is enjoying a successful fourth year in Prince Albert. Over the past two weeks Morrissey potted one goal and added four helpers in seven games. Morrissey was also named to Canada’s World Junior camp, where he will be looking for a chance to represent his country for a second time in this tournament. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s named captain of the team as well.

#2: Nicolas Petan – C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)  [Last Ranking: 2nd]
Since starting the season with nine losses in 10 games, Portland has been one of the strongest teams in the WHL as of late. Nic Petan has been one of the reasons for Portland’s strong November, adding a pair of goals and eight assists in the past two weeks. Petan will be looking to help Canada redeem itself at the World Juniors after failing to medal in last year’s tournament.

#1: Nikolaj Ehlers – LW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) [Last Ranking: 1st]
Yet again Ehlers sits atop my Jets prospects list, but he is making it really difficult for me to move him, (not that I or an Jets fans want me to.) In five games the Danish forward had five goals and 12 assists, was a +5 and extended his point streak to 15 games. With the World Junior Championships fast approaching, he is going to be a player that the world will come to know.


Who’s In: Axel Blomqvist (10)
Who’s Out: J.C. Lipon (8)
Total Goaltenders: 1
Total Defencemen: 1
Total Centremen: 6
Total Wingers: 2

Now don’t forget, this is just my opinion, and I would like to know yours. Who do you think is Winnipeg’s top prospect? Is there a player not on a list you think should be? Who would you replace them with from this list? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section bellow.

Until next time,

Andrew is a recent graduate of SAIT Polytechnic's journalism program, where he worked as the sports writer for SAIT's school newspaper, The Weal. He blogs frequently on his own website andrewhalipchuk.com, but will keep up with his new position with the Nation Network. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Moose_44.
#1 Kevin McCartney
December 09 2014, 12:24PM
Trash it!

I loved watching Blomqvist both years at the Young Stars tourney. I'm not sure he ever becomes a successful pro, but he does some small detail stuff well (great entries, strong NZ positioning in defensive transition) and is an excitable skater. Fun to watch.

Agree about O'Dell over Cormier. I'm not sure what O'Dell did to Paul Maurice, but the team is ranked 28th in offence, their top goal scorer gets suspended and they call up... a 5 minute a night centre whose claim to fame is an attitude problem. Sigh.

Hellebuyck! That team is REALLY struggling, and yet Hellebuyck is having a great season. Between him, Comrie, and Hutchinson, we might be rid of Pavelec soon! What a happy 2015 that would be.

#2 muckerman
December 09 2014, 05:52PM
Trash it!

May I suggest that for these "Future Plans" articles, the draft year, draft position, and drafting team (if not the Jets) be added alongside each of the players ranked? I think such a feature would be helpful to understand where these players sit in the prospect pool. Cheers

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