Not meaning to flog a dead horse, but 21 year-old Zach Bogosian is and will be a very big part of the Winnipeg Jets organization moving forward.
Despite subpar numbers for a young defenseman in his first three seasons, when compared to his peers, Bogosian may be rounding into more of a two-way defenseman.
The former Peterborough Pete showed promising talent in junior with 61 points in 60 games and a plus eight rating in his final season in the OHL. It was a vast improvement for Bogosian after his first season with the Petes where he collected 33 points in 67 games, with a minus six rating.
If Bogosian improved in junior, the Jets believe he can improve in the NHL.
When asked who was the best athlete and fastest skater on the team by the Winnipeg Free Press‘ Ed Tait, Bogosian’s teammate Bryan Little pointed out the young defenseman’s dominance in those areas.
Telling the Free Press in an interview, Little commented that "last year he blew everyone out of the water in the fitness testing. He’s only 19, but he looks like a man. We joke that he looks like he’s 26." (Winnipeg Free Press, 8/31/11)
Bogosian, only 21, is only going to get better, which is the best news the Jets could get when they look up and down their lineup.
Finishing the 2009-10 season, Bogosian finished 22nd among players in hits with 196. Though he only ranked 167th in hits last season with 111, it shows that Bogosian may have hit the road bump early in his career last season.
His low hit count down from his sophomore year, combined with a decrease in points, plus/minus rating, which dropped from -18 to -27, and only 29 penalty minutes, shows Bogosian’s struggles in Atlanta.
These struggles may point to his eagerness to move and sign with Winnipeg before training camp opens in September.
Perhaps it is the fact that the former Thrashers will be playing in front of about 6,000-7,000 more fans at home games this year as Bogosian told the Winnipeg Sun‘s Kirk Penton, “Any time you get a crowd behind you it helps you out so much.”
“When you come out and the place is packed it’s like having an extra player out there. It gives you that much more momentum and enthusiasm to play.” (Winnipeg Sun, 08/09/11)
Time will tell if the former third overall pick will be what the Jets expect him to be. Or if he becomes what he knows he can become as an NHL defenseman.