PHILADELPHIA — Hockey smarts again played a role in the Winnipeg Jets’ selections on Day 2 at the NHL Draft.
The Jets didn’t have a second-round pick this year (dealt last year for Devin Setoguchi) but used their first choice today to take defenceman Jack Glover of the U.S. under-18 development team.
Glover, coached by former Jets skater Danton Cole, heads to play for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the fall. He’s already been at school two weeks, he said today.
Glover, 18, is a stay-at-home, heady defenceman. known to be a good skater.
"I see a guy like Paul Martin of the Penguins, and at the same time I see a guy like (Jacob) Trouba for the Jets the way he pushes the play," Glover said today. "But I definitely think I’m a guy who relies on my skating, my vision and I think those are my two biggest assets."
He said the wait Friday night and today to be drafted was not easy.
"Coming into the week, I tried not to come with too many expectations," Glover said. "Obviously you don’t know what’s going to happen but seeing all my buddies getting drafted definitely built up the excitement for me. My heart was definitely racing. I could hear it in my ears, things like that.
"Actually getting picked was the best moment of my life so far."
The native of Golden Valley, Minn., said he had no idea it would be the Jets calling him name.
"Had met with them throughout the year a couple of times," he said. "They come into where we play, but I had no idea."
Glover said he had seen the quasi-criticism of his game in The Hockey News’ draft preview edition, that he was maybe too "Minnesota nice" on the ice.
"That’s something that, growing up in Minnesota, that’s kind of the stereotype," Glover said. "At the same time, it’s something you hear over the course of your career and my style of play, I’m not a big hitter or a big bruise and I’m not going to go out there and look to take heads off or anything like that.
"At the same time, the way I play defence is very effective. I take great pride in my defensive game. And you see the criticism and there’s nothing you can really do about it."
Winnipeg had two picks in today’s fourth round. They used No. 99 to take centre Chase DeLeo of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, and then at No. 101 selected defenceman Nelson Nogier of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades.
In the fifth round, the Jets chose forward C.J. Franklin of the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, a 20-year-old who had 22 goals and 51 points this season.
In the sixth, the Jets dealt their pick to the Washington Capitals along with goalie Eddie Pasquale for picks No. 164 (centre Pavel Kraskovsky of the Yaroslav juniors) and 192 (F Matt Ustaski, 20, of Langley of the BCHL) today and Washington’s seventh-round pick next year. The Jets also moved their own seventh-round pick, No. 189, to Ottawa for the Sens’ sixth-rounder next year.
DeLeo is close friends with another Jets’ draft pick, goalie Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans. Both grew up in California; DeLeo is from LaMirada and the Jets are also big on his hockey sense. Friday, they made smart, play-making winger Nikolaj Ehlers their first-round pick.
DeLeo scored 39 goals and 81 points as the Winterhawks made it to their third straight WHL final this spring. His product inmproved from 14 to 18 to 39 goals in the process. He’s also a teammate of Jets’ pick Nic Petan.
"Style? I’d say I’m a smaller, skilled forward but I think I’ve learned to pick up my work ethic and I use that to my advantage," DeLeo said. "I’m not afraid to go to the corner battles or the front of the net and I do whatever it takes to win."
DeLeo said his friend Comrie is driven.
"He’s obviously a different character and talk about drive, he’s the most driven kid I’ve ever met," he said. "I think it kind of rubs on me. Seeing how he carries himself; he comes from a great family and I think I’m excited to be (around him)."
DeLeo said he enjoys scoring goals on his best friend.
"Every single time against Tri-City," he smiled. "It’s all I hope for."