The Winnipeg Jets had a very good common season however after a first-round playoff loss by the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights, Head Coach Rick Bowness was very public in his criticism of his star gamers. Their response was publicly questioning their long-term future with the membership.
With GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, the Jets have made few roster strikes, maintaining the staff core as intact as potential, however with such public turmoil within the dressing room, the staff could also be an low season of huge trades. Strikes may embrace core gamers resembling Pierre-Luc Dubois, Connor Hellebuyck, or Blake Wheeler. Such strikes would seemingly point out the staff coming into a rebuilding or retooling section in direction of a youthful group constructed across the timeline supporting Mark Scheifele, Nik Ehlers, Kyle Connor, and Josh Morrissey.
The excellent news for Winnipeg is that if they embrace a rebuild, the prospect pool already has loads of gamers with potential which are shut or not far-off from being NHL-ready.
1. Cole Perfetti, C – Winnipeg Jets (NHL)
Drafted: 2020 spherical one tenth total by Winnipeg Jets
“Aim” Perfetti as he was identified in junior after posting back-to-back 37 purpose seasons in his first two years would have graduated from prospect standing if accidents had not restricted him to only 51 video games. Final yr he cut up his time between the NHL and AHL and was close to a degree per recreation manufacturing in Manitoba with the Moose. His AHL time is now over, and he can be again to full well being with the Jets in 2023-24 the place he needs to be elevated within the lineup to a prime six function.
2. Chaz Lucius, C – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Drafted: 2021 spherical one 18th total by Winnipeg Jets
Lucius has had an erratic improvement path since his draft. Chosen 18th total after enjoying for the US Growth program the place he had 13 targets and 20 factors in 13 video games, he dedicated to the College of Minnesota. As a freshman with the Gophers, he had 19 factors in 24 video games and signed his ELC following his freshman yr.
Accidents have price him video games performed yearly and it’s a concern along with his improvement each lacking so many video games and being a transient participant. For the 2022-23 season he began within the AHL, performed solely 12 video games attributable to damage and was loaned to play for USA on the WJC. He had seven factors there and gained the Bronze Medal. Following the WJC he was assigned to the WHL and was dominating with the Portland Winterhawks scoring 15 factors in solely six video games earlier than his season was shut down with a shoulder damage.
Lucius wants a very good season of well being and consistency seemingly within the AHL to develop his recreation to it’s potential, which is a top-six offensive participant.
3. Rutger McGroarty, C/LW – College of Michigan (NCAA)
Drafted: 2022 spherical one 14th total by Winnipeg Jets
The Jets hope they drafted their future captain in McGroarty. The Michigan prospect brings a hefty toolbox which incorporates dimension at 6-1, 205, management, talent, and a excessive hockey IQ. What he lacks is skating, it’s properly under common.
McGroarty had a banner draft yr with the US Nationwide staff posting 69 factors and 65 PIM’s in 54 video games. He was named Captain of the U18 Nationwide staff and had eight targets and 9 factors in six video games. As a freshman with the All-Star Wolverines, he performed prime minutes and recorded 18 targets and 39 factors in 39 video games.
McGroarty will return to the NCAA for his sophomore yr and certain indicators his ELC to complete within the NHL. A season of adjusting to professional hockey and time to spend on enhancing his skating within the AHL may be very seemingly earlier than he cracks the Jets roster.
4. Ville Heinola, LD – Manitoba Moose (AHL)
Drafted: 2019 spherical one twentieth total by Winnipeg Jets
After briefly making the NHL out of his draft, Heinola has been making gradual progress in his improvement. The Finnish defender has cut up time between the NHL, AHL and Liiga for 4 seasons now. His offensive manufacturing has slowly however steadily improved within the AHL over the previous three seasons climbing from 0.58 to 0.63 to 0.77 factors per recreation.
Heinola is trying NHL prepared now, however except the Jets make roster strikes or endure accidents, he’s seemingly another yr within the AHL. The Jets have eight NHL defenseman below contract for the 2023-24 season and Heinola has another yr on his ELC and is waiver exempt. Till veterans Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo’s contracts expire after the approaching season, Heinola seemingly has to bide his time within the AHL.
5. Declan Chisholm, LD – Manitoba Moose (AHL)
Drafted: 2018 spherical 5 a hundred and fiftieth total by Winnipeg Jets
The 23-year-old has been steadily creating since his time within the OHL with the Petes. He had a breakout D+1 yr in Peterborough posting 48 factors, adopted by a 69-point season as a senior. His AHL rookie season was restricted to only 28 video games because of the pandemic, however he now has three full seasons of AHL seasoning below his belt.
The Jets NHL roster is jammed with gamers below contract and Chisholm has now performed out his ELC and can must be re-signed. As soon as that occurs, he’ll lose his waiver exemption and would by no means clear waivers. One thing has to provide as Chisholm appears like he’s NHL prepared now, both in Winnipeg or elsewhere.
6. Brad Lambert, RW – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Drafted: 2022 spherical one thirtieth total by Winnipeg Jets
Heading into his draft yr, Lambert was within the dialog for first total in his draft class. As a youngster he was enjoying professional hockey and shining each within the Liiga and with Finland internationally. He has glorious skating and above common puck abilities. What he lacks is a high-level hockey sense, and a questionable compete stage.
He had below whelming D-1 and draft seasons with JYP, and was traded to the Pelicans with no enchancment. His play with Finland on the WJC was a catastrophe as he performed solely 5 video games as he was a wholesome scratch. His draft inventory dropped to the underside of the primary spherical. His D+1 yr began within the AHL the place he was overwhelmed and struggled to attain three factors in 14 video games with the Moose. He was loaned to Finland for the WJC the place he ought to have been a power however had one purpose in 5 video games. He was despatched to the WHL the place Seattle chosen him from the Import Draft, and he was in a position to dominate on the junior stage scoring 17 targets and 38 factors in 26 video games on a proficient Thunderbirds roster.
Along with his confidence restored he stays a piece in progress to see if he can discover manufacturing on the skilled stage. Nonetheless solely 19-year-old the potential may be very excessive, however it stays to be seen if his recreation will translate to the AHL, not to mention the NHL. If he can determine issues out and attain his huge potential it is going to be a steal of a decide at thirtieth total for the Jets.
7. Nikita Chibrikov, LW/RW – MHK Spartak Moskva (MHL)
Drafted: 2021 spherical two fiftieth total by Winnipeg Jets
The Russian winger has signed his ELC with the Jets and can play within the AHL subsequent yr. That is nice information for his improvement. Whereas enjoying in Russia he was used sparingly when within the KHL and was very continuously shuffled between leagues enjoying within the KHL one night time, then the MHL or the VHL the following.
When he performed on the junior stage, he had high quality minutes and produced. He confirmed his great offensive sill set in his draft yr on the U18 the place he posted 13 factors in seven video games.
Chibrikov combines shifty skating and pucks abilities to assault on the push. He wants so as to add some power and energy to his body to help his willingness to combat for unfastened pucks and open ice. A yr or two of constant teaching, ice time and improvement within the AHL may hone his recreation right into a center six offensive winger within the NHL.
8. Dmitri Kuzmin, LD – Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Drafted: 2021 spherical three 82nd total by Winnipeg Jets
The Belarusian defenseman had two spectacular seasons within the OHL with the Flint Firebirds the place he was the staff’s finest defender.
Kuzmin is an undersized offensive defenseman. He has the power to make breakout transition passes and might run a powerplay from the purpose. Not many 5-10 defensemen could make the NHL, and at that dimension, they really want to have at the very least one elite stage talent of their recreation.
Regardless of his dimension, Kuzmin is a feisty participant posting 96 PIMs final yr together with 59 factors in 65 video games. He’ll transfer as much as the AHL for the approaching season and as a rookie in Manitoba we are going to see how his recreation interprets to the professional stage. There may be some upside right here.
9. Danny Zhilkin, C – Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Drafted: 2022 spherical three 77th total by Winnipeg Jets
Zhilkin missed his sophomore yr because of the pandemic because the OHL was shut down, however due to his late birthday, it was not a draft yr for him. The one hockey he performed that yr was on the U18 with Canada the place he had two factors enjoying in a help function.
He had a breakout draft yr with Guelph scoring 55 factors in 66 video games and the Jets chosen him 77th total. The Canadian-Russian ahead has excessive finish abilities and imaginative and prescient. He can pull off some spotlight reel targets or performs. His skating is a piece in progress and his consistency must be addressed as properly, frequent critiques of junior gamers.
Zhilkin will take his recreation to the AHL now and can want a number of years of improvement there earlier than we all know if he may be an NHL prime 9 participant, or a profession AHL participant.
10. Dmitri Rashevsky, RW – Dynamo Moskva (KHL)
Drafted: 2021 spherical 5 146th total by Winnipeg Jets
The Russian winger has finished a formidable job of carving out constant KHL ice time for the final two seasons. In that point, he has posted back-to-back 19-goal campaigns and constant offensive numbers. He performs an aggressive forechecking recreation, reads the ice properly and performs with tempo.
The Jets could have discovered an NHL participant with their fifth-round decide however should wait at the very least another yr to carry him to North America as he’s signed for at the very least another KHL season.