The 2013 NHL Entry Draft was a solid summer of prospect stocking for the Jets, with the Jets accumulating at least eight players who made the first step by earning their entry level contract (nine if you include the undrafted Axl Blomqvist who was signed out of prospect camp).
One of these players was JC Lipon.
Lipon was an overager who went undrafted for his first two eligible seasons after putting up mediocre point totals. Small scoring players tend to be under appreciated, but small players who do not score are outright and legitimately ignored.
We continue our summer prospect profile series, checking in at #16.
We can jump into JC Lipon’s Player Cohort Success to show why he was passed initially, but the Jets were wise to draft him in 2013.
PCS% is the percentage of similar players in height, league, scoring, and age that made the NHL, while PCS points per game is the production typical of those that did make it.
As noted earlier, Lipon was not much of a scorer in his first two draft eligible seasons. His 18-year-old season was strong enough that Lipon probably should have been taken as a late round flyer, but still was not looked at as a 5’11 player unable to exceed a point per game.
Lipon moved into a much larger role though in 2012-13 for his final year with the Kamloops Blazers. Lipon was part of one of the hottest lines in the WHL, picking up 89 points in 61 games. Lipon even earned a spot on the Team Canada world junior squad that year.
The huge jump in PCS is the natural lift typically we see players benefit from with making the jump to the AHL. Less than 25% players in the CHL earn regular AHL positions, so there is a natural survivorship response to PCS.
Lipon’s rookie season in the AHL was excellent, putting up respectable numbers on strong St. John’s squad. The next year though the IceCaps were one of the worst teams in the AHL, and Lipon’s numbers dropped significantly (as did others).
Lipon is an aggressive player, who won’t stand down to any opponent. There are worries though that Lipon passes the line of agitator, and hurts the team more than he helps. Lipon has surpassed 100 penalty minutes in five consecutive seasons between the WHL and the AHL.
Lipon moves to the final year of his entry level contract next season in his third year of pro-level hockey.
If he wants to earn an additional contract, Lipon will need to return to his scoring prowess of his rookie season and make sure he can play his agitating game without crossing the line and harm the team. If he is able to do this, he can show the team that he has the upside to be an effective and helpful future bottom six piece.
Here is JC Lipon showing he is not afraid to fight a bigger opponent, from hockeyfights.com: