The 2019 NHL Entry Draft will be here before you know it. The draft takes place on June 21 and June 22 in Vancouver, British Columbia. While Winnipeg Jets don’t have a first round pick, Jets fans should be excited. Fans will have to wait till day two to see Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff make his first selection, but there still are quite a bit of talent that the True North Sports & Entertainment team can scoop up in round two.
Selecting A Defenseman
With the 51st overall pick, the Winnipeg Jets should look to select a defenseman.
Dustin Byfuglien isn’t getting any younger, Jacob Trouba might be on his way out, and there is no guarantee that Tyler Myers will be back in Manitoba next season. In addition, the Jets farm system doesn’t have many defensive studs aside from Sami Niku. So, perhaps it makes sense for Cheveldayoff to grab a defenseman with his second round selection.
When the Jets are on the clock, there will be likely several defensemen to choose from including Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna) and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint).
Korczak, a right handed defenseman from Yorkton, Saskatchewan has been playing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. In his 2018-2019 campaign, he tallied 4 goals and 29 assists in 68 games played.
He was outstanding this season, especially on special teams. He’s a great power-play quarterback and has a lethal of a wrist shot that he loves to fire from the point.
The only issue is that he’s offensive first. He’s not a puck moving defenseman who will skate from zone to zone. But, while he isn’t a two-way defenseman, his offensive skills makes up for his shaky play in both the neutral zone and his defensive zone.
While the Minsk, Belarus native failed to impress Dale Hunter and Mark Hunter in his short stint with the London Knights, he managed to have a plethora of success after being claimed off of waivers by the Flint Firebirds.
In 53 games played in Flint, Michigan, Kolyachonok registered 4 goals and 25 assists. He truly showed that Knights made a mistake and turned heads across the Ontario Hockey League.
Kolychonok has shown that he’s a solid two-way defenseman. He’s got great vision, he makes smart passes and he has stay-at-home tendencies in the defensive zone. In addition, he doesn’t make many mistakes in the defensive zone. He finds clever ways to create zone exits and drive the puck out of his zone. The only knock on Kolychonok is his skating and his speed. He needs to get faster. When you watch him play, he just seems a tad slow and that will hold him back.
Both Would Be Solid Draft Selections
With Korczak more focused on the offensive zone and still learning his positioning in the defensive zone, it is a concern, but let’s keep in mind that he’s still far away from cracking an NHL roster. He’ll be playing junior hockey and minor hockey for a while. With the right coaching staff, Korczak could develop into a strong two-way defenseman. It’s just going to take time.
Kolychonok also has weaknesses. He needs to become a stronger skater. With the right coaching staff, Kolychonok can become a faster skater. So, don’t write him off right now just because his skating isn’t where you’d prefer it would be.
Every single draft prospect has elements of their game that need development. Even Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko have elements of their playing style that need to be enhanced. So, don’t write off a draft prospect just yet. Korczak or Kolychonok would be a solid draft pick for the Jets and could emerge into a stud on the Jets’ blue-line.
stats from eliteprospects.com