2015 NHL Entry Draft: Winnipeg Jets Day 1

Winnipeg Jets Day 1 Draft Recap –

The Winnipeg Jets used their two first-round picks (17 and 25) to select two American-born players that played this past season in the USHL.  

With their first pick at #17 the Jets selected Kyle Connor and with their second first-round pick at #25 they selected Jack Roslovic.

For me, Kyle Connor was a major surprise being available at #17 and I must admit I was equally surprised that the Jets selected Jack Roslovic at #25.  With Nick Merkley still on the board, I thought he was a “no-brainer”.  As shocked as I was to see Connor drop to #17, I was equally shocked to see Merkley still on the board at #25 and not selected until pick #30 by the Arizona Coyotes.  To be honest I was surprised and a little disappointed but I guess I still got my man in Arizona. This is no slight on Jack Roslovic.

Let’s take a look at our two newest Jets.

Kyle Connor:  Selected #17 

League:  USHL     Team:  Youngstown Phantoms

Position:  C/LW     Shoots:  Left

DOB:  Dec. 9, 1996   Birthplace:  Shelby Township, MI

Height: 6’1     Weight:  187

2014-15 USHL Stats: Regular season

Games: 56  G: 34  A: 46   Pts: 80  PIM: 6  Plus/Minus: +3

Achievements:

1.  Represented Team USA and won a Gold Medal at the 2013-14 U18 WJC.

2.  Won the 2014-15 USHL scoring championship. 

3.  Named 2014-15 USHL “Player of the Year”.

Offensive Buzzwords

Kyle Connor would be considered a two-way center that is an excellent play-maker, that can also put the puck in the net.  He has terrific hands and creates time and space for his line-mates. Connor has elite level offensive hockey sense, sees the ice extremely well and makes plays at high-speed.  

Skating

Kyle Connor is an elite level skater with better than average, speed, balance and agility.  He is one of the better skaters in the first round.

Defensive Buzzwords

Kyle Connor works very hard on his defensive game and he is positionally sound.  He plays a 200 ft. game, working hard in all three zones with a solid compete level.

Prospect Analysis 

Kyle Connor is a slick play-maker that can also score.  He has elite-level hockey sense, a high compete level, and plays a 200-foot game.  Connor is one of the better skaters in this year’s draft and should be a solid “Top Six” forward at the NHL level.  He’s versatile and can play center or left-wing.  He will be developing his game further in the NCAA at the University of Michigan and should be a solid pro in two to three years. 

Projected:  #12 – #16

Actual: #17

So much for all the experts.  Kyle Connor was ranked as high as #6 and the consensus was he would be gone long before the Winnipeg Jets drafted at #17. I’m sure Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, Marcel Comeau, and the rest of the Jets scouting staff were shocked to see Kyle Connor still on the board at #17.  Kyle Connor was an absolute steal.

NEXT

Jack Roslovic:  Selected #25

League:  USHL     Team:  USNDT

Position:  C/RW     Shoots:  Right

DOB:  Jan, 29 1997     Birthplace:  Columbus, Ohio

Height: 6’1     Weight:  185

2014-15 USHL Stats: Regular season

Games: 65  G: 27  A: 52   Pts: 79  PIM: 28  Plus/Minus: +19

Achievements:

1.  Represented Team USA and won a Gold Medal at the 2013-14 U17 WJC.

2.  Represented Team USA and won a Gold Medal at the 2014-15 U18 WJC.

3.  Named “Top 3” player on Team USA at the 2014-15 U18 WJC.

Offensive Buzzwords

Jack Roslovic is a skilled forward with better than average puck-handling skills that is dangerous on the rush and in one on one situations.  He possesses an average shot but makes up for it with a quick release and he can put the puck in the net.  Roslovic has good hockey sense and a solid compete level.

Skating

Jack Roslovic would be considered a better than average skater with very good straight away speed.  He has very good balance and agility.  Roslovic is a solid all-around skater.

Defensive Buzzwords

Jack Roslovic has a decent defensive game.  He competes well in all three zones and is responsible defensively.

Prospect Analysis 

Jack Roslovic was a late riser on most draft boards.  He had a very good season in the USHL with the US National Development Team and was very good at the 2014-15 U18 WJC (11 points in 7 games).   Was this due in part to his elite line-mates, Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk?  I’m sure he was the benefactor of playing on this terrific line but in my opinion, he IS NOT line-mate dependent. 

I believe he can carry his own weight and his skill-set speaks for itself.  Jack Roslovic has “Top 6” forward potential but we will have to wait and see.  He will be also be developing his game further in the NCAA at Miami University of Ohio

Projected:  #28 – #38

Actual: #25

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Comments

  1. Everett Shade says

    I really like both players but I agree with you Mitch about Merkley. When the pick came up and I considered the Morrissey connection I thought he was going to be a Jet for sure. They saw him play tons.

    One of the more intriguing things about Connor is that another 15 to 20 pounds of muscle the next two years of development will make him look like a steal. He has such a wiry frame that the extra weight should fit on with ease.

    I think in Roslovic case the Jets probably fell in love with him at the under 18’s. He played fantastic and showed the charisma of a much older player. Everyone was watching Meadows and Tkachuk but some shifts Roslovic was the best of the three. I have a gut feeling that Roslovic is a huge fan favorite in a few years. A possible face for the franchise. Looks like another great Jets gamble.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      I agree … with the NHL landscape changing it never hurts to draft skill … you can’t teach skill … the Jets off-set those picks with a gritty, skilled guy in Harkins in the 2nd round that was a steal at #47 … his skating needs a little work but he’s money from the blueline in.

      • George Bain says

        I agree Mitch. Harkins should be a good one. I read good things about Erik Foley. Craig Button liked his energy and compete level. Could be a sleeper. I was really disappointed we didn’t get Merkley but the consolation is your dogs in the desert got him!

        Boston or should I say Sweeny really surprised me. Should call for an article!

  2. Todd Leroux says

    Title: The Changing Landscape

    Who to cheer for other than Team Canada?

    3 picks and 3 U.S.-born players drafted by the Jets (at the time of this post).

    Save the lectures, I know it’s wrong, or at least politically incorrect to not only have, but even more egregious, to actually state such an opinion, publicly.

    Call me whatever: old-school, yadda, yadda; a hockey patriot am I.

    Well, we’ll see what kind of Canadian content there is year-by-year (on the Jets). At some point though, hard for me to cheer for Team USA.

    Just can’t do it.

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      It was actually 2 USA players then a Can, USA, Czech Rep, USA, Fin, Can … for the most part I don’t care about a players birth certificate but what bothers me is we never draft skill out of Sweden or Russia. The Jets will always have a strong Canadian content so I wouldn’t worry about it Todd

  3. Todd Leroux says

    Indeed, Harkins is now listed as a Cdn.

    First site I looked at (I think it was NHL.com) listed him as US (maybe it was birthplace: Cleveland).

    Fingers crossed that Canada remains a hockey power and the Jets are drafting and developing Cdn content.

    Actually, I don’t have a problem with drafting Swede’s. I was a huge fan of Anders Hedberg, Nilson, Sjoberg (RIP), Steen, etc. with the Jets 1.0.

    It’s the whole’U.S. dominating everything’ hang-up that I have.

    Yep, in my 50’s.

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