NHL training camps are coming soon. We will preview every team’s important prospect information, starting today with the Winnipeg Jets.
The Winnipeg Jets made huge leaps last season when they reached the playoffs. Playing in one of the toughest division in hockey, it was a huge accomplishment for them to reach these heights with their young roster.
That roster will get even younger, too, with their fast paced prospect development.
The Jets lost three key players this off season; Michael Frolik, Lee Stempniak, and Jiri Tlusty. That means those three roles can be filled by young players. According to SportsNet in Canada, the Jets have Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Nicolas Petan, Andrew Copp, Joel Armia, and Connor Hellebuyck as their biggest prospects who will see time in 2015-2016.
Hellebuyck, a goaltender, saw some time in 2014-2015 and Armia was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres as a part of the Evander Kane trade.
Hellebuyck will compete for playing time despite the Jets having two strong goalies in Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. Pavelec struggled at times last season so if his play steps up, Hellebuyck will be there.
Ehlers will have a lot on his plate as he tries to take the place of Frolik and what his role was for the Jets. There might not be an overload of pressure, however, because the Jets are so deep offensively and they have many options with the puck in the offensive zone. The 2014 first round draft selection scored a stunning 100 points in 51 games in the QMJHL last season, but he is too young to be sent to the AHL if he struggles. That means a disappointing first impression could send him back to juniors.
Josh Morrissey is the Jets strongest defense prospect. Like at forward (and goalie), the Jets are very deep on the blue line. That means Morrissey will have to have an impressive training camp to crack the roster and get a position with the top six. The top four for the Jets are basically a lock, so Morrissey will be fighting alongside veteran Mark Stuart and youngster Ben Chariot.
Nicolas Petan is the last Jet we will look at, as he has a shot to make the roster despite the deep forwards core. Petan played his junior hockey with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL but his smaller stature has made him an NHL question mark. He might need a season in the AHL, but if he performs, he might stick around with the Jets.