There was no lottery luck to be found Tuesday for the Winnipeg Jets. And so the hockey club will have to settle for making the 14th-overall selection in the upcoming NHL draft.
Winnipeg had a 3.2% chance to move up to fourth, based on the NHL’s new system that allows a maximum jump of 10 spots. There was also a 2.1 % chance they got pushed down to 15th. Instead, they’ll pick exactly where they finished in the regular-season standings.
History suggests there’s still a good chance they get a solid young skater who can help them down the road when the event is held on July 7 and 8 in Montreal.
Among the notable names taken over the past decade with the 14th pick are defenceman Jamie Oleksiak (2011), forward Zemgus Girgensons (2012), centre Alexander Wennberg (2013), forward Jake DeBrusk (2015) and defenceman Charlie McAvoy (2016) . The Jets have never been in this spot in the 2.0 era, although they did grab Josh Morrissey at No, 13 (2013) and Kyle Connor at No. 17 (2015).
Looking at the 2022 prospects, a few players stand out who could still be avaiable when it’s time for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to step to the podium. Three of them have local ties.
Owen Pickering, a big left-shooting defenceman from St. Adolphe, is ranked 13th-overall on TSN draft analysist Craig Button’s most recent list. Pickering is a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Centre Matthew Savoie, an Alberta-born skater who led the Winnipeg Ice with 90 regular-season points, is 17th. Forward Conor Geekie, who hails from Stratchlair and is also a member of the Ice, is 31st.
Czech centre Jiří Kulich is projected to go 14th by Button. Sportsnet has Austrian centre Marco Kasper at No, 14 in their list, while rating Savoie (4), Geekie (10) and Pickering (15) much higher than their broadcast rival.
Barring any other trades, Winnipeg has as least six other picks. They have their own sixth and seventh-round selections, plus a pair of second-rounders (originally owned by the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues that came over in the Andrew Copp trade), a third-rounder from Columbus as part of the Patrik Laine deal and a fourth-rounder from Arizona as part of the Bryan Little salary-cap dump. The Rangers pick would turn into a first-round selection for Winnipeg if New York was to win two playoff rounds this spring. However, they currently trail Pittsburgh 3-1 in the best-of-seven first round series.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.