They represent the future of the Winnipeg Jets, even if they will all be decked out in goofy jersey numbers usually reserved for offensive linemen, wide receivers or linebackers.
Yes, the 38 players who take to the ice this afternoon for the first session of the Jets' inaugural Development Camp may be household names in places like St. John's and Barrie, Saskatoon, Ann Arbor and Swift Current, but their ultimate goal is all the same:
To become a name with the big club here in Winnipeg.
Most importantly, at least in the short-term view, the camp offers Jets management and their faithful a chance to see how well they've restocked the cupboard since coming north from Atlanta.
Here's our take on some of the reasons to pay attention this week to all the talent assembled at MTS Iceplex.
Call it our 'Handy-Dandy Guide to Jets' D-Camp'...
All eyes will be on...
55 Mark Scheifele, C: Jets fans first fell in love with this guy when he was the organization's first pick in the 2011 draft and then when he led the team in scoring during the NHL pre-season last fall. He's added muscle to his frame -- he's now about 190 and when he returned to junior last October he was 177 -- and desperately wants to stick with the Jets for good this October.
45 Jacob Trouba, D: It's all about upside for the top pick from this June's draft class, ninth overall. He is said to have a cannon of a shot and a bit of a mean streak, two qualities every NHL team wants in its defensive corps.
52 Ivan Telegin, F: His coach in Barrie, none other than Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, called the Russian's speed "world class." GM Kevin Cheveldayoff recently said Telegin is the prospect who rocketed up the ranks the most this past winter, both in terms of his development as a player and in learning the language. The questions about his game -- can he handle the grind of the pro level -- won't be answered this week. But his skill set will be on full display.
Five to study closely
70 John Albert, C: He was a big hit on The Rock this past winter, where his high-energy game was infectious. Just recently re-signed by the Jets after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
64 Cody Sol, D: It will be hard not to notice the tallest, heaviest -- and some in the OHL may add, meanest -- guy on the ice. He showed flashes at Jets training camp last year and improved his game in his final year with Kitchener.
47 Lukas Sutter, C: He's a Sutter. Need any other reason to watch?
81 Brennan Serville, D: The Jets actually made a minor deal at last year's draft to be able to move up and select Serville in the third round. An excellent skater who finished his freshman season at the University of Michigan last winter.
56 Adam Lowry, LW: Every NHL team covets size and Lowry, whose dad Dave played in over 1,000 NHL games, is still getting bigger. Just for the record, he is already 6-4, 187 pounds. Coming off an injury-riddled campaign in Swift Current.
The 'Toban factor
THREE Manitobans will be at the camp, all of whom were drafted either by the Jets or Thrashers:
75 Jason Kasdorf, G: Former Portage Terrier is heading to RPI in Massachusetts this fall after a year in the USHL with Des Moines.
85 Peter Stoykewych, D: Drafted by the Thrashers, Stoykewych -- a product of St. John's-Ravenscourt and the Winnipeg South Blues -- played 26 games as a freshman last year with the Colorado College Tigers.
57 Jason Gregoire, LW: Former New York Islanders' draft pick showed some flashes in his first pro season with the IceCaps, but also battled injuries. He should jump off the page this week.
The most-compelling story that might have unfolded at Jet camp would have revolved around goaltender Michael Houser, the CHL goaltender of the year last season with the London Knights. Undrafted -- many believe it was because of the 16 operations he has had to correct the bilateral club feet he was born with -- Houser was scheduled to attend Jets camp.
But the day before he was to leave for Winnipeg -- and not long after the Jets had bolstered their goaltending depth with the addition of AHL vet Mark Dekanich -- Houser opted to sign down south.
Houser's exit opens a door for Corbin Boes, the Brandon Wheat Kings goalie (23-10-0, .916 save percentage and 2.84 GAA) who will be a last-minute replacement and join five other goalies in camp.
THE offensive flair of guys like Scheifele and Telegin has been and will continue to be well documented. But these guys have proven adept at putting the puck in the net:
73 Zach O'Brien: Clearly NHL scouts veered away from him because of his size -- 5-9, 178 -- but he had 50 goals in 63 games with Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL and had 166 points in 121 games before joining St. John's at the end of the season.
42 Nick Bligh: Was the rookie of the year in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, based in the Northeastern US. Had 85 points (22G, 63A) -- the second-highest point total in league history.
72 Scott Kosmachuk: Drafted by the Jets in June, scouts were critical of his consistency. But he can score -- had 30 goals in 67 games with Guelph.
76 Matt White: California product is coming off a season in which he led the University of Nebraska-Omaha in scoring (17G, 23A) in 38 games and is a former USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year.
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Development camp by the numbers
2 -- Players with NHL experience (Scheifele and Carl Klingberg, both with 7 GP)
12 -- Players with AHL experience
2 -- First-round draft choices
27 -- Jet draft choices
10 -- St. John's IceCaps
8 -- NCAA players
6 -- WHL
7 -- OHL
1 -- ECHL
6 -- Other
Oldest -- 3 players born in 1988 (Will O'Neill, Zach Redmond, Danny Dries)
Youngest -- 3 players born in 1994 (Trouba, Kosmachuk, Ryan Olsen)
Tallest -- Cody Sol, 6-6
Heaviest -- Sol, 242 pounds
Shortest -- Norm Ezekiel, 5-8
Lightest -- Zack Mitchell, 174 pounds
All practices are open to the public and are free.
DateGroup AGroup BMon. July 92:152:15Tue. July 109:30 a.m.11 a.m.Wed. July 119:30 a.m.11 a.m.Thu. July 129:30 a.m.11 a.m.Fri. July 1310:45 a.m.10:45 a.m.
(all located at MTS Iceplex)