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This article was published 3/3/2015 (2092 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Jets have received another strong endorsement this week for the young talent pool they’re assembling.

The Hockey News published its annual Future Watch issue today and gave the Jets a grade of A for its prospect list and NHLers 21 and under, the highest grade it awarded among the NHL’s 30 teams for 2015.

The magazine employed a combination of 13 scouts and NHL general managers to grade the top 10 prospects for each of the league’s 30 teams and 21-and-under NHLers.

In topping this year’s list, the Jets counted NHL regulars Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry, then came out with six prospects listed in THN’s top 75 prospects overall — Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Joel Armia, Nic Petan, Connor Hellebuyck and Brendan Lemieux.

The Feb. 11 trade that sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf to Buffalo for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Armia, Lemieux and a first-round pick this year likely clinched the Jets’ place atop the Future Watch grades, given that scouts and GMs graded Armia and Lemieux in the overall top 75.

Last year’s Future Watch edition gave the Jets a grade of B, which ranked them eighth of 30 teams.

"Everyone’s excited about the way we’ve drafted and the way we’re developing players," said Blake Wheeler. "You’ve seen the impact some of our guys have already had with Trouby (Trouba) with Scheifs (Scheifele) and Lows (Adam Lowry) coming in. That’s going to be the way this franchise lasts through the long haul. And with some of the guys who have performed well on the big stages it creates some excitement around our organization."

Jets coach Paul Maurice was also asked about The Hockey News recognition and quipped:

"We can’t even pick the weather tomorrow. I don’t think there’s a person in that room, including the coaches and management, that has a contract that runs that long. So... we’ve got to work real hard here now to hope that everyone’s around for it."

The Future Watch Jets’ list includes the following:

WINNIPEG

NHL under-22: Jacob Trouba
NHL under-22: Mark Scheifele
NHL under-22: Adam Lowry

  1. Nikolaj Ehlers (4)
  2. Josh Morrissey (18)
  3. Joel Armia (44)
  4. Nic Petan (47)
  5. Connor Hellebuyck (67)
  6. Brendan Lemieux (74)
  7. Eric Comrie
  8. Andrew Copp
  9. Scott Kosmachuk
  10. J.C. Lipon

 (Future Watch 2015 individual rank in parentheses).

 

And though they didn’t count in THN’s rankings or for the 2015 Future Watch edition, the Jets have a decent prospect list beyond even that.

For instance, 2012 draft pick, goalie Jamie Phillips of Michigan Tech, 2013 draft pick Tucker Poolman of the University of North Dakota and 2014 draft pick Pavel Kraskovsky, playing in Russia, are among those who are currently having fine seasons.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca