We are in the dregs of summer, so we take a critical look at the Winnipeg Jets organizational cupboards and highlight who we feel are the Jets’ “Top 20 Prospects” when looking at a combination of potential and probability of positive impact for the franchise.
We continue our prospect profile, moving from a goalscorer with some bite to a playmaker with a lot of fight. Next up is JC Lipon.
|Age: 23||Position: RW|
|Height: 6’0″||Weight: 183 lbs|
|Draft Year: 2013||Round: Three|
One thing I always like to point out at the start, with any article on Lipon, is that his actual name is JC, as in the two letters are not an abbreviation for two names. Lipon is simply JC, not J.C., despite many sources having it wrong.
Anyways, Lipon is a gritty winger well known for his agitative game as well as his fearless demeanour in sticking up for his linemates despite potential seismic size differences. Lipon plays on the edge, sometimes passing the line into dirty or overly aggressive territories.
That said, Lipon also has a tonne of skill. A late bloomer, Lipon was passed in his first two draft-eligible seasons as an 5’9, undersized, non-scoring forward. In his final WHL season, though, he had jumped to six-feet tall and put up 89 points in 61 games, despite losing a huge chunk of potential ice time from his 115 penalty minutes.
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The tough winger was never known as much of a goalscorer, and was thought of as a pass-first playmaker, even after putting up a 36 goal season in the WHL season. His play style translated similarly into pro, with placing 24th for rookie AHL skaters in points, but fourth in assists.
Despite being known more for his non-offensive production, Lipon has already put up 70 assists over his professional career. He has some offensive upside to be a producer on a NHL team’s fourth line. The idea of the Moose potentially having Brendan Lemieux and JC Lipon on the same line would put fear in many opponents.
However, Lipon has been adding a new element to his game. In his first two seasons, Lipon put up 1.6 and 1.7 shots on goal per game. The winger pushed that number up to 2.3 this past season, which in turn led scoring one fewer goal than the past two seasons combined, despite playing about thirty games fewer than either season.
If Lipon can add goal scoring to his toolkit, it will make him a more effective playmaker and also a more enticing piece to put on the team’s fourth line.
Read More: Your Manitoba Moose: JC Lipon
Looking at the pGPS model, Lipon has a pretty sizeable chance of becoming a NHL regular. About 28 percent of statistically similar players in the AHL played in the NHL for more than 200 games, and about 16% of these NHL forwards peaked as third-line or better players.
Looking at the more qualitative factors, Lipon has the speed, the tenacity, the grit, and the skill to become an effective fourth line player. I’m skeptical. though, that there is much more than that there.
If Lipon can keep his aggressive game without crossing the line and add goalscoring to his already effective playmaking, the Jets could have a potentially dangerous fourth-line player.
Because of these points, we have Lipon on our list at number sixteen.