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Photo Credit: Moose Jaw Warriors PR

Examining three players Jets could select with Rangers’ first-round pick

Now that the New York Rangers have officially clinched the Eastern Conference Finals, the second-round pick that was originally involved in the Andrew Copp deal will now be promoted to a first-round pick. Handing the Jets two first-round picks to play with at this year’s NHL Draft, one at 14th overall, the other will be around 28th-32nd overall.

Last year, the Jets drafted United States National Development star Chaz Lucius at 18th overall. Lucius went on to play at the University of Minnesota this past year in the NCAA. When the season finished up in April, he signed his entry-level contract with the Jets.

While the Jets targeted a forward last year, I don’t believe there is a game plan set in stone for who they will target, whether that be defencemen or a forward. I think the plan is to draft whoever is best available. This year’s draft, however, is full of talent crawling throughout all seven rounds, there will be some off-the-board picks.

Jagger Firkus – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

This kid has swagger, that’s all there’s really to say. When he flew into the offensive zone and popped the water bottle off the back of the net in the CHL Top Prospects game last month with a wicked snapshot, I knew Firkus was something special.

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He played a ton this past season for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL), compiling 80 points (36 goals, 44 assists) in 66 games. Firkus has several traits to his game that easily sticks out, one being his ability to beat defenders one on one with his supreme stickhandling abilities. Another being his shot-and-pass threat, he played a crucial role on the Warriors’ power play this past season, registering 12 goals and 17 assists.

Given the all-around ability of Frikus’s game, he could become a middle-six threat in the future. The Jets, of course, have a solid development program that has seen success in the past. Firkus would likely be another success story given how patient the Jets have been with past first-round picks.

“Firkus can be an effective top-six forward in the NHL and will be a valued asset on special teams,” said Smaht Scouting Director Josh Tessler. “With his shot release and range, he can score goals will ease and snag top-shelf snipes. He does a great job of creating dangerous chances in the slot.

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“With that said, you are getting quality production from him. His play in the defensive zone is not as robust as it is in the offensive zone, but if you pair him with the right defensive-minded forwards, he can be rather effective at the next level.”

Marco Kasper – Rogle BK (SHL)

Marcos Kasper is working tirelessly to get his name called in the first round of the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. The Austrian-born forward currently plays for one of the top-tier teams of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Rogle BK, the same team that has recently produced Detroit Red Wings star Mortiz Seider and Vancouver Canucks forward NIls Hoglander.

Kasper has great speed and skill, as well as boasts one of the hardest shots in the draft. The 17-year-old was not afraid to play physically against men in Sweden this past season. With a 6-foot-1 frame, he can get into the boards and play the hard areas. In a recent interview with CanucksArmy’s Chris Faber, Kasper went into detail on his style of play. “I want to play an intensive game,” said Kasper. “Always move around and move to the right spots and play hard physically… I know I need to be good at protecting the puck to play at a high level so I work on that with my teammates.”

This is another player who would fit well in the Jets system and could prove to be a lethal force.

Pavel Mintyukov – Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

If the Jets want to target a defenceman with this pick, Pavel Mintyukov – if available – could be lethal on the blueline for years to come. The Moscow native was a top-scoring defender in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this past year with the Saginaw Spirit, registering 62 points (17 goals, 45 assists) in 67 games.

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He led the Spirit in point totals and averaged 0.93 points per game. In the scouting world, Mintyukov has been often compared to Brandon Montour. He’s a tenacious, aggressive defender whose skating allows him to flourish with the puck. He also possesses a hard slap shot, which made him a scoring threat on the Spirt’s power play as he picked up 18 power-play points.

“With Pavel Mintyukov’s size, raw tools (including puck skill and passing ability), four-way agility, and deceptive maneuvering around the blue line: it’s hard not to see a lottery selection on that assessment alone,” said Smaht Scouting OHL scout Austin Garrett.

“There are not many players in this draft class that have the ability to operate in the offensive zone from the backend like Mintyukov can. Add in his ability to suffocate space and his mobility to keep a tight gap: he’s an attractive asset in the 2022 draft.”

Overall, the Jets have some solid options available with this first-round draft choice, and who knows, maybe Kevin Cheveldayoff has another trick up his sleeve that involves trading the pick.


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