It’s Go Time!

Pretty lucky, us members of JetsNation are. This week marks the unofficial begining of the 2013-2014 NHL Season, as the Young Starts Prospect Tournament gets going in Penticton. It’s a legitimate event on the NHL calender, one that is attended by Hockey Media heavyweights like TSN’s Bob Mackenzie, amongst others.  Also there, somewhat less understandably, is yours truly, as JetsNation boss Kevin McCartney (who’s already there, that go-getter) and I descend on the Country’s most hopping retirement community to catch some future NHL’ers.

I’m pretty excited as a) this means Hockey is back, b) my personal hell of a summer is over, and c) we’ll get to relay to you a good look-see at the next wave of Winnipeg Jets. What other Jets blog out there can offer you this kind of coverage? Not a one! Unless some of them are indeed there, in which case, I will neither apologize nor acknowledge their existence.

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I’ll be missing the game tonight as I have to entertain drunks instead, but upon arriving tomorrow, these are the players I’m looking forward to seeing:

JC Lipon – Kamloops Blazers, WHL: RW, 6’0,180LB: 61GP-36G-53A=89P

One of the gems(?) from the great Jets haul at the 2013 Draft, Lipon, at 20, is freshly signed to a 3 year deal, and I’m eager to see if he’s able to stand out from the Crowd. At 20, he would be technically able to return to Junior for his overage season, but here’s hoping he stands out amongst the hopefuls, and helps to land himself at least an AHL job this year.

Jimmy Lodge – Saginaw Sprit, OHL: RW, 6’2, 166LB: 64GP-28G-39A = 67P 

This 3rd round pick of the 2013 Draft is brimming with potential. One scouting site called him a "poor man’s Patrick Kane" which could also mean he’s a "rich man’s Nathan Gerbe". Lodge was pegged as potential 1st rounder in this Draft, and I’m curious to see just what a beggers Kane looks like.

Adam Lowry – Swift Current, WHL: C 6’5, 210 LBS: 72GP-45G-43A=88P

Son of long time effective NHL’er Dave Lowry, Adam is a friggin beast, standing at 6’5. He’s got the pedigree, the size, the numbers, and even a good sense of humor – his Twitter handle is @ALowsyPlayer17. You gotta love that. A Centre with all these intangibles doesn’t come around this often. 

Nic Petan – Portland Winterhawks, WHL: C, 5’9, 170LB: 71GP-46G-74A=120P  

This guy! Another great pick from the 2013 Draft, Petan finished the season tied as top scorer in the WHL. Not too shabby. His knock? A little on the small side. I’m looking forward to see what’s the most dominant part of Petan’s game – his skill, or size, or lack thereof. 

Mark Scheiefele – Barrie Colts, OHL: C, 6’2, 192LB: 45GP-39G-40A = 79P

Is he NHL ready this year? He better be! Kane needs a running mate!

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Lukas Sutter – Saskatoon Blades, WHL: C, 6’1, 214LB: 72GP-13G-11A = 24P

Yet another Sutter, and a first for the Jets. We’ve never had one before, and it’s about time. We can assume he’ll gritty, hard working and pretty much all business with the Media. But can he score? Skate? And how does he feel about the pressure to produce the next generation of Sutter’s? I’ll ask the Prince William of the Sutter clan how he feels about the pressure of having to create a Royal Hockey Baby.

Josh Morrissey – Prince Albert, WHL: D, 6’0, 186LB: 70GP-15G-32A = 47P

I’m very keen on watching this guy. The Jets 1st Rounder in this year’s Entry Draft, word is he’s a slick, puck moving defenseman who’s no liability in his own end, either. But I’ve only heard things about him – never seen him with my own pupils. 

Jacob Trouba – U Michigan CCHA: D, 6’2, 196LB: 37GP-12G-17A=29P

Perhaps my favourite Jets prospect of all, this guy is a beast. He caught my eye at the World Juniors in UFA last year, and I’m excited as hell to have a prospect like this on the Jets. Nasty, fast, strong defensively and offensively, I can’t wait to see him in action.

Juno Olkinuora – Denver WCHA: 6’2, 200LB: 24GP 13-6-5 2.35GAA .927SV%

I could be full of bravado and say I totally had heard of this guy before, but I never had. So I started reading up on him. Turns out he signed as a Free Agent of out of College, and is challenging for a backup job in the AHL. Goalies are a strange breed, so who knows, maybe this guy is the next Starter for the Jets. Or just a guy named Juno. I’m sure we’ll get a better read on things as the Tournament moves along.

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Who you excited to see? Any questions? Want us to say hello to your retired family members in Penticton? Leave a comment!

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