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Who the Winnipeg Jets should look to select with their 5 draft picks

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
28 days ago
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The 2024 NHL entry draft is right around the corner, taking place on June 28th and 29th in Las Vegas. It’s one of my favourite events from the NHL season, and the draft promises to deliver once again this year at the grand Las Vegas sphere. I’m still trying to learn a bit more about what each of the projected 1st round draft picks will bring to the league, and I’ve also started to think about what positional needs the Jets will have going into the draft. The Jets, at the moment, only have 5 picks, and they will be making a pick in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds. I’m hoping the Jets can somehow acquire at least 1 more pick before or on draft day, but the Jets will have to work with what they have in what is expected to be a decent draft class.
More Jets news will be coming soon, including news about who will be the assistant head coaches for Scott Arniel, but for now I’ve been looking into options for draft-eligible prospects that the Jets can add to their team in a few weeks. When it comes to their 2nd round pick, I have a few names that come to my mind, but other than that, the picks in the later rounds are more based around positional needs or certain player types that the Jets might be lacking on their current roster.
2nd round, 37th overall: add a defenceman
The Jets will get their draft started with a pick that originally belonged to the Montreal Canadiens at 37th overall. I previously asked Jets Nation what position the Jets should draft with this pick, and the number one answer on both platforms was pretty overwhelmingly a defender. I previously made an article talking about 3 options for defenceman that the Jets should consider at 37th overall, and those players were Stian Solberg, Jesse Pulkkinen and E.J Emery. That was a month ago, and while I do believe Pulkkinen and Emery could still be options, I think Solberg has moved into a lock for a 1st round pick. I’ve done some more looking around at other NHL mock drafts since then, and I discovered just how many solid defence there are in this draft. A few other options at 37th overall for a defence that the Jets could take include Henry Mews, Cole Hutson and Lucas Pettersson.
Currently, the Jets have some upcoming young defenders that include Elias Salomonsson and Ville Heinola, so it only makes sense with this pick to replenish the Jets prospect pool with another defender, especially in a draft year full of so many great defenders. Whether the Jets want a more agile, dynamic defenceman or a more “traditional” lock down defenceman is up to them, but I still am locked in on the fact that the Jets should pick a defenceman at 37th overall.
4th round, 123rd overall: select a centre with size
Fast forwarding to round 4, where the Jets will be back on the draft podium to make their 2nd pick of the draft. Once the draft hits the 4th round, it’s tough to pick out specific players to target, but I believe the next biggest “need” for the Jets is a centre with size. I’m a believer that teams should try to select a little bit of everything throughout a draft (with their main needs addressed first) and next on the Jets list should be another centre. General mangers tend to agree that centres are the most important position to consider when building a team, so it makes sense to get one as early in the draft as possible.
5th round, 155th overall: draft a winger with speed & skill
Next on my list of player types that the Jets should add at the draft is a winger in round 5. Going back to what I mentioned above, teams should try to get a good mix of player types and positions in the later rounds of the draft. Even if it’s a prospect that is more of a “project”, having a winger with speed and skill will give the team, and fans tracking the prospects, someone who brings some exciting highlights to share during the upcoming season.
6th round, 187th overall + 7th round, 220th overall: pick up another defence and a goalie
To end off the Jets 2024 draft, they should consider selecting another defence in the 6th round, followed by a goalie in the 7th round. I mentioned that the defence prospect pool for the Jets will be shrinking due to some prospects looking to make the Jets next season, so it only makes sense to add another defence in the later rounds. Depending who the Jets select in the 1st round (if it does end up being a defence), the Jets should get an opposite (left or right) handed / sided defence with this pick here.
Finally, in round 7, the Jets should select a goalie. This position is probably the lowest on the Jets list of “needs” at the draft, and they just added another solid goalie prospect last year in the 5th round, Thomas Milic. However, it doesn’t hurt to add another goalie to the system this year, because when it comes to goalies, it’s very difficult to predict how they will develop, especially when it comes to those that are picked later in the draft. It’s worth a shot in round 7, and it’ll ensure that the Jets draft at least 1 player from each position in this draft.
Only time will tell as to what the Jets decide to do on draft night, and I’ll be sure to cover each pick they make on draft night. Again, I hope they find a way to add at least 1 more selection on draft night, because it will only improve their chances of succeeding in this draft. Overall, I’m hoping for a well-rounded draft from the Jets where they select a player from each position, all while selecting the type of players they need the most earlier in the draft.

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