Quick thoughts from Day 2 of NHL Entry Draft

- June 23rd, 2012

PITTSBURGH — So another NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, the second for the 2.0 version of the Winnipeg Jets.

There wasn’t quite as much drama on Day 2 of the 2012 edition at CONSOL Energy Center, but there was a late trade that came after the 210th and final selection was made as the Toronto Maple Leafs sent defenceman Luke Schenn to the Philadelphia Flyers for left-winger James van Riemsdyk.

The Jets also made a move that could turn out to be interesting if they actually sign goalie Jonas Gustavsson to a contract.

Gustavsson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was picked up from the Maple Leafs for a conditional seventh round pick that will only be moved if The Monster signs with the Jets.

Our initial take is that Gustavsson is an interesting addition. We still think Plan A for the Jets would be to bring back veteran Chris Mason, but by acquiring Gustavsson’s rights, they can get a one-week jump on the competition for his services once free agency opens.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said the move has nothing to do with negotiations for pending RFA Ondrej Pavelec and we can take those words at face value. Mason remains an option for the Jets – and a good one. We’ve supported the thought of bringing back Mason as his value to the team stretches far beyond what you see in his 20 or so games played. He’s a true professional and a leader on a young team trying to learn how to win consistently.

As for the five picks the Jets made on Saturday to go along with first rounder Jacob Trouba, we’re going to give you a box with some background on the players.

No in-depth instant analysis here at this stage of the proceedings.

However, we were talking about Lukas Sutter with someone on Friday night and thought he might be the perfect fit for what the Jets might be looking for in the second round, provided they didn’t take a goalie like Oscar Dansk, who got scooped up by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the first pick of Round 2.

Sutter brings far more than just the familiar family name. He’s a heart-and-soul player who increased his offence dramatically with the Saskatoon Blades last season.

He’s engaging and grounded and comes wired with great hockey sense and an outstanding work ethic.

“I play a little bit similar to Brandon,” said Lukas, referring to his cousin, who was in middle of Friday’s blockbuster that sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes. “I have a little bit more sandpaper to my game and play a little bit tougher. You have to play that way to be a successful player nowadays. Look at the way LA played down the stretch. Everyone was physical. They pay the price and that’s something they take a lot of pride in.”

I asked his father Rich, a longtime NHLer, is Lukas also had that competitive spirit?

“Ever since Tim-Bits, when he was a little guy,” said Rich.

To recap, the Jets chose a pair of bigger, gritty centres, a couple of project goalies who are heading to college, a right-winger with a nice combination of skill and sandpaper.

Everybody thinks there team is a winner by the end of the weekend and in five years or so, we’ll have a much better idea if they’re right or not.

What are your initial thoughts on the picks?

Here’s a quick round-up on Jets picks, with more to follow on Sunday:

2012 NHL Entry Draft Winnipeg Jets selections

1. 9th overall, D Jacob Trouba, 18, United States Under-18 Development program
Birthplace: Rochester, Mich. 6-2, 187, United States Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 50 GP, 9 G, 22 A, 31 P, 65 PIM

2. 39th overall, C Lukas Sutter, 18, Saskatoon Blades
Birthplace: St. Louis, Mo. 6-0, 215, Western Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 70 GP, 28 G, 31 A, 59 P, 165 PIM

3. 70th overall, RW Scott Kosmachuk, 18, Guelph Storm
Birthplace: Richmond Hill, Ont. 5-11, 185, Ontario Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 67 GP, 30 G, 29 A, 59 P110 PIM

5. 130th overall, G Connor Hellebuyck, 19, Odessa Jackalopes
Birthplace: Commerce, Mich. 6-foot-4, 185, North American Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 53 GP, 26-21-5 record, 3 SO, 2.49 GAA, .930 save %

6. 160th overall, C Ryan Olsen, 18, Saskatoon Blades
Birthplace: Delta, B.C., 6-1, 187 pounds, Western Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 67 GP, 15 G, 17 A, 32 P, 64 PIM

7. 190th overall, G Jamie Phillips, 19, Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Birthplace: Caledonia, Ont.., 6-1, 170 pounds, Ontario Junior Hockey League
2011-12 stats: 11 GP, 4-4-2 record, 1 SO, 3.11 GAA, .917 save %

Categories: Hockey

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