Top 20 Prospects: Winnipeg Jets 2011-2015

Over the course of the summer we’ll be working on two large initiatives: Top 20 Prospects for all teams, as well as What to Expect When Your Expecting.

The first will simply be a collection of top 20 prospects in a teams pipeline, while the second will provide a total breakdown of what a team can realistically expect (numbers wise) as a production of their prospect pipeline.

Welcome to the First Top 20 Prospects: The Winnipeg Jets.

Over the last few weeks the Winnipeg Jets (among other teams) wrapped up their annual summer development camp and the 2015 draft, making it a perfect time to review what’s in the pipeline for the Winnipeg jets.

Since the team moved to Winnipeg just prior to the 2011 draft, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and co. have implemented a draft and development strategy: acquiring picks and pacing the implementation of their prospects as opposed to rushing players into the line up.

To review their success, we’ve compiled the data on all prospects acquired since the 2011 draft, and sorted them by likelihood of success in the NHL to get a better feel on what the Jets can expect in the future.

To start, we’ll look at the top 10 players via some prospect projection cards, highlighting their chances of success, their most likely roles in the NHL, and the closes NHL comparable players we could find.

Full List at Bottom of Article.

Methodology: Players are sorted by cumulative NHLE and within 2 inches in height for all data available. Some data may be missing. Again, this is a practice for interests sake, not to be taken as a “one true ranking” but to provide  reasonable expectations for the Jets prospects.

1. Kyle Connor


Kyle-Connor

 

When Kyle Connor fell to the Jets at #17 this last season, the members of this site (and a few others) could barely contain their glee. The high scoring winger/center from the USHL has astounding comparables, and surprisingly even edged out Nik Ehlers for the number one spot on our list.

While at least another year away from even approaching the NHL, Connor seems likely to have a long and fruitful career in the NHL- made even more valuable if he can develop as a center.

Kyle Connor’s closes NHL comparables were Dustin Brown (LW) and Sean Monahan (C)

 

2. Nikolaj Ehlers


Nik-Ehlers

 

Nik Ehlers fell to the Jets at #9 Overall in the 2014 NHL entry draft. The Dynamic winger from the Q has put up 2 astounding offensive seasons and is fully expected to be on the NHL roster this fall by both managements and fans alike. With 64% chance of success, and with all comparable players being top line wingers or better, it was  a tough call for determining who should be first on this list.

The Argument can easily be made that Ehlers 9% better chance at being a top six NHL player should outweigh the 6% edge in having an NHL career that Kyle Connor holds, it just depends on how you want to split the hairs.  Either way, both Ehlers and Connor are fantastic prospects likely to become high level NHL players.

His closest NHL comparable player was Jason Pominville who had a long and effective career as an offensive winger.

 

3.  Josh Morrissey


a-joshmorrissey

 

Continuing the trend of recent first round picks, 2013 First rounder (14th overall) Josh Morrissey slides into number 3. with a  46% chance of NHL success based on his last 3 seasons, Morrissey looks primed to have a long and fruitful career in the NHL. He has a 42% chance of being at least top 4 defender and a healthy 30% of being capable of playing top 2 minutes.

After a strong development camp, Morrissey appears that he might be ready to push for a roster spot this fall, though with the number of Defense contracts the Jets currently carry, he may be starting his pro career in the AHL.

Josh Morrissey’s closest NHL comparable was Dennis Wideman.

 

 

4. Nic Petan


nic-petan

 

Nic Petan has spent the last three seasons racking up the points with the WHL’s Portaland Winter Hawks. The 2nd round pick from the 2013 draft is looking like a steal for the Winnipeg Jets and is expected to push for a roster spot with the big club, or lead the offense for the Jets farm team this fall. with a 25% of being a top-line or better player, and most likely being a 1st liner, Petan represents the Jets 4th best skating prospect, edging out the slightly “safer” Jack Roslovic due to high end potential.

Petan fans do have some cause for concern though, as his closest comparable was Center Mike Richards who, after a productive 5 years, appears to be all but done as an NHL player.

 

5. Jack Roslovic


jack-roslovic

 

Acquired with the 25th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Jack Roslovic is an extremely high scoring center for the USHL. Concerns arise about his potential due to playing with American phenom Austin Mathews but his 43% success rate puts him in our top 5. Jack represents a fairly even spread of success levels logging: 6%, 8%, 10%, 11%, and 8% chances of Elite, First, Second, Third, and Fourth line success respectively. Roslovic is most likely to pan out a second line center for the Winnipeg Jets.

Roslovic’s closes comparable NHL player was Left winger Nick Foligno, though Jets fans hope Roslovic pan’s out at the center position.

 

6. Jansen Harkins


Jansens-Harkins

 

The third entrant from the 2015 draft, center Jansen Harkins represents a 40% chance of success with the jets. The WHL center put up a productive season, and though his most likely outcome is as a third line center, he represents an extremely valuable selection for a 2nd round pick. Jansen’s 20% chance of top 6 success also signals that a couple of strong offensive seasons could see him climb into the top 5.

Harkins closes NHL comparable is the effective two way center Brandon Dubinsky.

 

7.  Scott Kosmachuk


Kosmachuk

 

The lone entrant onto our list from the 2012 draft, Scott Kosmachuk  shows a 38% of NHL success based on his junior scoring (note: due to unavailable data, Kosmachuks 14-15 AHL season was not included. It is likely he will be lower on this list when the data is available). While a reasonably safe player due to his high scoring in the OHL, Kosmachuk does have limited upside, being most likely to become a third line player. That being said, he does maintain a 20% chance of top six success if he can find his scoring touch at the pro level.

A dose of lowered expectations may be necessary: Kosmachuk’s closes NHL comparable was bottom six player Tom Pyatt (Interesting note: Pyatt recieved a significant drop in his DY+3 production as well, much like Kosmachuk)

 

8. Erik Foley


-erikfoley

 

Erik Foley, the fourth pick of the Jets int he 2015 draft creeps onto number 8, with a 32% chance of success in the NHL. The third round pick represents a likely third liner, and is primarily viewed as a bottom six player going forward.  Foley scored well for a winger in the USHL in  his draft year and plays a big game, but his average size may limit his ability to play the same way at the next level.

That being said, the big wingers closest NHL comparable was first line winger Kyle Okposo.

 

9. Brendan Lemieux


a-brendenlemieux (1)

 

One of the main pieces in the Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian block buster, Brendan Lemieux hits the number 9 spot on our list. A pure goal scorer and agitator at the junior level, Lemieux represents a 30% chance of NHL success, though it should be noted that he is most likely a 4th line player.

Lemieux represents an interesting case due to the high volume of goals he created on the power play and his reputation as an agitator and pest on the ice. It remains to be seen whether he can develop into a meaningful NHL player or if he become a career bottom sixer, playing limited minutes and getting under his opponents skin.

Lemieux’s closest NHL comparable is also the previously mentioned Tom Pyatt.

 

10. Brenden Kichton*


kichton

 

The re-drafted Brenden Kichton’s place at number 10 on this list comes with a massive caveat. While Kichton’s number should put him in the top 3 it’s important to note that Kichton was an overage player, originally eligible to be drafted in 2010. He was drafted as an overage player by the New York Islanders in 2011, failed to sign a contract with them, and was redrafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 2013.

Though using his first 3 years of production shows Kichton to be highly likely to achieve success in the NHL, he has started to level off in the following two years. He may still be  a high probability of becoming an NHL player, but we include him with the caveat that he is much older then the other players on this list, and that the projections may not be entirely accurate about his likelihood of success as it has already been 5 years since his original draft eligibility.

Kichton’s closest NHL comparable has been the Colorado Avalanche’s Tyson Barrie.

 

 

The Obvious Exclusions:


As mentioned, this ranking is strictly off the probability that our projections give us. They do not work for goal tending prospects at all and seem to struggle accurately projecting players from European leagues as well. With that, there’s a couple of names we felt necessary to include:

G – Connor Hellebuyck

If an accurate projection measurement based on stat’s existed for goaltenders, we are almost certain Hellebuyck would make this list. After a record setting NCAA career Connor had a fantastic rookie season as the #1 goalie on a terrible St John’s Ice Caps team. Many fans of the Jets expect  Hellebuyck to push for a job this fall, and the question no longer seems to be if he can be an NHL goal tender, but when.

G – Eric Comrie

For all the same reasons as Hellebyuck, Comrie has also been left off this list. Though not quite as impressive and Hellebyuck, Eric Comrie has had a very strong junior career and is expected to either be sharing the crease with Connor on the Ice Caps or taking the starters job in the ECHL this fall.

Joel Armia

Former first round pick and another key piece in the Winnipeg-Buffalo trade is Finish Joel Armia. Left off this list due to the issues with translating Euro league success to the NHL Armia compares quite favorable to many NHL players. Fans and management seem to agree that he is likely to push for a roster spot this fall, and we would be remiss to exclude him completely.

Andrew Copp

While the projections are usually fine for NCAA and USHL players, Copp is on this list as he has already had 1 game in the NHL at the end of last season. Based on the current jets roster, many expect Copp to walk into the 4th line center role this fall.

Michael Spacek

Like Armia, Spacek’s numbers take a hit due to him playing in a mens pro league during his draft year. Our friends at www.canucksarmy.com really like Spacek’s skill-set, and his PCS% would catapult him very nicely into our top ten list.

 

The Other 10 :


This is a top 20 afterall, so we have included table breakdown of  the prospects we ranked from 10-20 (note: some top 10 HM are included here).


Rank

Name

Pos

Ht

WT

Total

Bust

NHL

NHL%

Top line %

Top six%

Bottom Six%

11

Jimmy Lodge

f

72

162

242

167

75

30.99%

6.61%

13.64%

16.94%

12

J.C. Lipon

f

71

180

249

185

64

25.70%

2.41%

8.43%

16.47%

13

Clinston Franklin

f

71

190

246

187

59

23.98%

3.25%

8.54%

15.45%

14

Tucker Poolman

d

74

199

216

166

50

23.15%

8.33%

18.52%

4.63%

15

Chase De Leo

f

69

179

51

40

11

21.57%

5.88%

15.69%

5.88%

16

Jack Glover

D

75

190

193

153

40

20.73%

6.22%

13.99%

6.74%

17

Joel Armia

F

75

192

35

28

7

20.00%

2.86%

5.71%

11.43%

18

Ryan Olsen

f

73

187

351

285

66

18.80%

1.99%

5.70%

11.68%

19

Matteo Gennaro

F

74

187

222

183

39

17.57%

5.41%

8.11%

9.46%

20

Jan Kostalek

d

72

181

183

152

31

16.94%

6.01%

13.11%

3.83%

 

Conclusions:


The Winnipeg Jets Have amassed a very healthy, very deep group of NHL prospects. The top 5 looks to house a lot of potential first line players, and a strong group of potential middle six and role players rounds out the top ten.

In the later ranks we see more projects, though with a total of 17 players over a 20% chance of NHL success, the math quickly adds up to a high probability of pulling quite a few legitimate NHL players from the pipeline.

While there’s a lot of ink spilled on players like Connor and Ehlers, having project forwards like Jimmy Lodge, JC Lipon, and Chase De Leo outside of your top 10 spells good news for the organization.  Meanwhile, Tucker Poolman, Jack Glover, and Jan Kostalek all provide decent odds for NHL success on the blue-line.

When you factor in the success already achieved by Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, and Jacob Trouba, it’s easy to see why fan’s are starting to buy into Kevin Cheveldayoff’s slow and steady approach.

Next week we’ll be posting our “what to expect when you’re expecting: Winnipeg Jets Pipeline” where we determine just how many of these players Jets Fans can expect to see playing for their team in the coming years.

 

Total List:


Rank

Name

POS

HT

wt

Total

bust

nhl

NHL

Top lines

Top six

Bottom six

1

Kyle Connor

f

73

177

64

19

45

70.31%

40.63%

54.69%

15.63%

2

Nic Ehlers

lw

70

176

22

8

14

63.64%

36.36%

63.64%

0.00%

3

Brenden Kichton

D

70

175

30

15

15

50.00%

36.67%

50.00%

0.00%

4

Josh Morrissey

D

71

186

71

38

33

46.48%

29.58%

42.25%

4.23%

5

Jack Roslovic

f

72

182

123

70

53

43.09%

14.63%

24.39%

18.70%

6

Nic Petan

F

68

165

12

7

5

41.67%

25.00%

41.67%

0.00%

7

Jansen Harkins

F

73

182

135

81

54

40.00%

12.59%

19.26%

20.74%

8

Scott Kosmachuk

f

71

185

165

102

63

38.18%

10.91%

20.00%

17.58%

9

Erik Foley

f

72

185

159

107

52

32.70%

9.43%

15.72%

15.72%

10

Jimmy Lodge

f

72

162

242

167

75

30.99%

6.61%

13.64%

16.94%

11

Brendan Lemiux

f

72

206

228

158

70

30.70%

9.65%

14.04%

15.79%

12

J.C. Lipon

f

71

180

249

185

64

25.70%

2.41%

8.43%

16.47%

13

Clinston Franklin

f

71

190

246

187

59

23.98%

3.25%

8.54%

15.45%

14

Tucker Poolman

d

74

199

216

166

50

23.15%

8.33%

18.52%

4.63%

15

Chase De Leo

f

69

179

51

40

11

21.57%

5.88%

15.69%

5.88%

16

Jack Glover

D

75

190

193

153

40

20.73%

6.22%

13.99%

6.74%

17

Joel Armia

F

75

192

35

28

7

20.00%

2.86%

5.71%

11.43%

18

Ryan Olsen

f

73

187

351

285

66

18.80%

1.99%

5.70%

11.68%

19

Matteo Gennaro

F

74

187

222

183

39

17.57%

5.41%

8.11%

9.46%

20

Jan Kostalek

d

72

181

183

152

31

16.94%

6.01%

13.11%

3.83%