Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One To Watch: Winnipeg Jets

I don't think I would suggest Winnipeg has the best crop of prospects but they might have my favourite group of young players. That opinion is largely influenced because of the number of WHL veterans the Jets have drafted and therefore, the number I have seen and dealt with the most. 

I really like the drafting by the Jets the last few years even though I wasn't sure they picked the best player available when they took Mark Scheifele, even that selection is panning out well. 

Eric Comrie, Josh Morrissey, Brendan Kichton, Nic Petan, Jimmy Lodge, JC Lipon - and that's just the class of 2013! Add to that mix Jacob Trouba, Scott Kosmachuk, Juho Olkinuora... there is a ton of talent in the system. 

2012 Choice: Jacob Trouba - Anyone who has heard The Pipeline Show probably knows I'm a massive Trouba booster. I said it before the 2012 draft that he was my top D-man of the class and I hold to that now. I thought he was terrific at the 2012 WJC in Edmonton as an underage player but he was on a completely different level in Russia last year. At Michigan he nearly led the team in scoring as a freshman and this year with the Jets he's already playing nearly 22 minutes a night. S-T-U-D.

My selection for One To Watch for 2013-14 with the Jets comes after the jump.

Adam Lowry (C/LW)
St. John's IceCaps
6'5, 205 lbs
Drafted 67th overall in 2011

Somebody told me that when Swift Current drafted Lowry 78th overall in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, he was 5'7 and 150lbs. I scoured the internet trying to confirm that but couldn't (someone else might be able to let me know). There is no question in my mind though that no player transformed himself more during my time covering the WHL than Adam Lowry. 

Here's a side by side of Adam Lowry from, I believe, his rookie year compared to his final season with the Broncos:

Obviously a kid begins his WHL career a bit baby faced but Lowry's physical maturity, especially in the last couple of years, was ridiculous. He went from boy to man to WHL MVP in what seemed like four quick seasons. 

Lowry was drafted in the 3rd round of 2011 by the Jets, one of those selections that just a couple of years later seems impossible to believe. The next season he fell victim to injury, a fractured wrist, that ended his season right before Christmas. He'd compiled 37 points in 36 games up to that point. 

The follow up year for Lowry was huge; First there was just proving that the injury was behind him, then there was proving to the Jets that he was deserving of a contract. Pretty easy to say his 45 goals, 88 points and WHL Player of the Year award did that easily. 

Photo: Getty Images
Now in the American Hockey League, and with St. John's first goal of the season already in the books, Lowry is ready for the next stage of his career. Does he continue to have success right away at the AHL level or is there a lengthy adjustment period? Is it unrealistic to wonder if a recall to the NHL could be in order before the end of the season? 

Lowry was a terrific junior player and a guy I find hard not to root for. It's why my pick of One To Watch for the Winnipeg Jets is Adam Lowry.

Up Next: Dallas Stars

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