The Winnipeg Jets' track record at the NHL Draft shows the hockey brass knows how to turn their first-round selections into NHL performers:
2019 — D Ville Heinola, 20th overall
The Finnish teen was the talk of training camp and should push for full-time employment on a Jets blue line in need of some major re-tooling
2018 — None (selection No. 29 dealt to St. Louis in the trade for C Paul Stastny)
2017 — F Kristian Vesalainen, 24th overall
It’s still a bit premature to call the Finnish winger a bust. While playing all of last year under the tutelage of Moose coach Pascal Vincent strengthened his overall game, squeezing into the Jets top-9 forward group will be a tall task, and time might be running out.
2016 — F Patrik Laine, 2nd overall
The dynamic young goal scorer’s overall game improved considerably last season, a positive sign for the Jets organization. The addition of a play-making centre would certainly beef up his production.
D Logan Stanley, 18th overall
Tall and strong as an oak, the young rear-guard is a project that’s taking longer to complete than, perhaps, the Jets would have liked. He’s a big part of the Moose blue line but was slowed up by injuries. Stanley is a longshot to be an everyday NHLer.
2015 — F Kyle Connor, 17th overall
The crafty top-line winger is a dangerous scorer in tight and his work ethic is exemplary, however, there are holes in his defensive game that require constant attention. Improvements there and he’s an elite NHL winger.
F Jack Roslovic, 25th overall
The path has not been as easy for Roslovic. He’s been given plenty of opportunity and has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, yet, is hampered by a perceived lack of commitment and focus at times. It’s time now for him to show more.
2014 — F Nikolaj Ehlers, 9th overall
Ehlers just completed his finest season in Winnipeg, continuing to show the dazzle that has made him a fan favourite but complementing his offensive gifts with far more attention to defensive details. He was far and away the Jets top performer during the short playoff series against Calgary.
2013 — D Josh Morrissey, 13th overall
He’s made a long-term commitment to the Jets, who rely heavily on the slight but smart, talented puck-moving blue-liner. Morrissey had some down times last season, mostly due to overwork.
2012 — D Jacob Trouba, 9th overall
The tough, skilled defenceman played six solid seasons in Winnipeg but made it clear he desired a new home south of the border and was dealt to the New York Rangers almost 16 months ago for Neal Pionk and a first-round pick (Heinola).
2011 — C Mark Scheifele, 7th overall
The Jets surprised many by making Scheifele their first-ever draft pick and he has made GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and his scouts look good. He is – outside of goalie Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg’s most important player, driving the top line, generating piles of offence and matching up defensively against other teams’ best.