Last year leading up to the draft we looked back at the previous drafts done by Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Winnipeg Jets as well as a bit of a look back at some of the drafting that was done by the team when they were known as the Atlanta Thrashers. Our retrospectives last year stopped at 2014, but this year we’re going to add two more draft years to our retrospective lists with a look at the Jets 2015 draft on Tuesday and the 2016 draft on Wednesday.
Right here though, we’re going to go back over the first five retrospectives done and provide some updates…
Bryan Little – 2006 1st round pick (12th overall)
Presumably, by the time his six year contract ends after the 2023-24 season, Little will have played 17 seasons with the Thrashers/Jets franchise, but it’s looking less and less likely that he may be around for the long haul. Two seasons in a row now there has been hope that Little would be able to step in as the Jets number two center between the two young dynamic pair of Patrik Laine and Nik Ehlers, and two seasons in a row the Jets have felt a need to make a trade at the deadline for a second line center. Little’s production continues to dip each season and he hasn’t cracked the 50 point mark since the 2014-15 season.
Evander Kane – 2009 1st round pick (4th overall)
In my original look back at the Thrasher drafts, I pretty much skipped over Kane being taken fourth overall as he had already long since gone through a rather ugly separation with the Jets and trade to Buffalo, but ten years after he was drafted, the aftereffects of the Kane pick still resonate with the organization through the trade that saw him bring Tyler Myers, Joel Armia, Drew Stafford and Brendan Lemieux along with a first round pick that ended up being Jack Roslovic.
Say what you want about Kane’s time in Winnipeg, but in the end the pick did shape the future of the franchise for years to come.
Ben Chiarot – 2009 4th round pick (120th overall)
In six years with the Jets, Chiarot has picked up 12 goals, 52 assists for 64 points in 305 career games. He has a booming shot that doesn’t get used often enough partly because he’s usually trapped in his own end of the ice. An unrestricted free agent this summer, it seems unlikely the Jets will bring him back as he might be looking for a contract around the two million dollar mark which for a bottom pairing guy is something the Jets just can’t afford to spend.
1st round pick – 7th overall: Mark Scheifele (C)
3rd round pick – 67th overall: Adam Lowry (C)
The Jets first official draft produced the future number one and number three centers for the team and not a whole lot else. What’s kind of amusing is while both players are seen as core pieces of the current roster, it hasn’t come without a lot of people questioning if either of them had a place or future with the team.
We’ve already gone on at length about how fairly unpopular the Scheifele pick was at the time when Sean Couturier was still available on the board, and overly popular sentiment back in 2017 when the Jets needed to submit a protected list for the upcoming Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft was that Adam Lowry was seen as a relatively easy choice to leave unprotected.
To be fair, Scheifele did need some time to develop into the elite center we know now as his skating needed work and his hands early on seemed unable to keep up with the rest of his playing ability. Adam Lowry as well needed a couple of seasons before he developed into a strong defensive center.
1st round pick – 9th overall: Jacob Trouba (D)
Hoo boy, this one has felt like a roller coaster huh? From not wanting to be in Winnipeg and requesting a trade to being happy to be part of the team’s top pairing with thoughts that he could stay for a really long time….
We predicted a few days ago that the Jets could possibly lock down Trouba to a six year, six million dollar deal and given how Trouba has improved every season, that could end up quite the bargain.
5th round pick – 130th overall: Connor Hellebuyck (G)
This one has turned out pretty well even after a bit of a shaky start. The 2018-19 season was a little bit more of a challenge for Hellebuyck as he carried the weight of not only previous season expectations but a new six year, 37 million dollar contract that he had to live up to. Much like his career, the season started a bit rough with people starting to wonder if he might have been a one year wonder, but as the season went on he improved.
Maybe the best draft Cheveldayoff and the Jets have had to date as it featured the most picks the team had ever made with ten as well as players who could be mainstays with the Jets for sometime and a few who maybe should have been given more of a shot to make it.
1st round pick – 13th overall: Josh Morrissey (D)
4th round pick – 104th overall: Andrew Copp (C)
5th round pick – 127th overall: Tucker Poolman (D)
Morrissey and Copp’s places on the Jets roster are unquestioned for the moment. Copp is an RFA this summer and due for a bit of a raise from his entry level contract of $925,000. The Jets signed Morrissey to a two year deal last summer and will likely look to lock him up to a long term deal next year – lest he becomes another Jacob Trouba situation.
Poolman is an interesting case. He should have a sot at making the Jets next season, especially if the likes of Trouba and Myers do not return to the club.
2nd round pick – 43rd overall: Nicolas Petan (LW)
2nd round pick – 59th overall: Eric Comrie (G)
File these two under “coulda, woulda, shoulda…”
Our gripes with the Jets not giving Nic Petan a fair shot are well documented and unfortunately since his trade to Toronto things didn’t get much better for him even with him scoring a goal in his first game with the Leafs.
As for Eric Comrie, the kid who was once tabbed to be the future of Jets goaltending has been pushed down the depth chart by Hellebuyck as well as a surging Mikhail Berdin. Comrie is an RFA this summer, but it would likely benefit both the Jets and Comrie himself to send him off to another team to let him further his career.
1st round pick – 9th overall: Nikolaj Ehlers (LW)
Nik Ehlers is great, and all we’ll say is that it is a very stupid idea to trade him as has been rumored for a while now.
3rd round pick – 69th overall: Jack Glover (D)
5th round pick – 129th overall: C.J. Suess (F)
Glover and Suess were seen as long term projects at the time and still might be on the Jets radar to be NHL’ers some day, but they have quite a few players to pass on the team’s depth chart before that happens. Glover’s first full pro year with Jacksonville of the ECHL was decent and he did get at least one game with the Manitoba Moose. Suess was having a fine rookie year with the Moose before he suffered a season ending injury in December. He was just recently re-signed for a one year deal and this may be his last chance to show something to the club.
6th round pick – 164th overall: Pavel Kraskovsky (F)
Remains in Russia as he had one goal and three points in 26 regular season games and three more points in nine playoff games this past season with Lokomotiv of the KHL. He’s also remains on the Jets radar.
4th round pick – 99th overall: Chase De Leo (C)
4th round pick – 101st overall: Nelson Nogier (D)
De Leo was traded to the Anaheim Ducks organization this past season as a way to get him closer to his California home. Nogier is a restricted free agent this summer and should get another one or two year deal with the team as he had a very respectable season with the Manitoba Moose in 2018-19.
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