Winnipeg Jets Young Stars Report

The Young Stars Tournament & the Winnipeg Jets –

I was able to attend the recent Young Stars tournament in Penticton, B.C. and will be providing some reports and articles pertaining to the Winnipeg Jets prospects.

Not only was I able to see the games but be around the players as they warmed up prior to the games, in the dressing rooms, and under the stands.  That adds to the impression and feel one gets for the future for these players.  The Winnipeg Jets are in good shape going forward IMO.

The first point I want to address is that the Jets scorers scored.  The players that should be point producers were.  That doesn’t mean that if a player didn’t score or generate points, he played poorly.  But, the more consistent one is at delivering, the better, and doing it at higher levels against condensed talent matters or at least it does to me.

The Jets had several players step up and deliver.  One was electric and he excited not only the fans in the stands but the “hockey people” in attendance.  It was kind of “hello hockey world here I am, take notice if you haven’t already”.  Of course, the player I am talking about is Nikolaj Ehlers and while the production was not unexpected it definitely was welcomed by both the Winnipeg Jets and their fans.


Nikolaj Ehlers

It’s evident that the speed at which Nik Ehlers plays the game is elite.  It truly is but not just his skating.  It is how he handles the puck without losing any speed, how he combines skating, puck handling and shooting so seamlessly and at such a dynamic pace.  He goes to the dirty areas and does that consistently.  He takes the openings that are there and can be productive going wide, cutting through the middle and getting that great shot off quickly and accurately or by drawing people to him and dishing a great pass to a teammate.  He reminds me of a former Winnipeg Jets great in how he can get a deadly shot off so suddenly and accurately.  That player was Anders Hedberg.

Another thing that was apparent and this was seen and observed by multiple hockey people is that Ehlers, especially in the Edmonton game, causes players to be tentative, when he is on the ice.  You could see they were unsure whether to fore-check or to back off, to press or give him room.  Not many players cause this but Nikolaj Ehlers is one of them.

What I also observed is a very focused, intense, and calm young man who is driven and that the stage isn’t too big for him.   He produced and led the Jets to a win after being behind by two goals in the third period against the Oilers.  He’s a special player and the more we see, the more noticeable that will be.


Nic Petan

While Ehlers was the flashiest and most dominant, he was not the only bright light offensively at all.  Nic Petan, Scott Kosmachuk, Adam Lowry, and Jimmy Lodge stepped up and showed they are capable of scoring and did just that.  Petan looks to have improved his skating from when I saw him play against Victoria last winter and I think that is a real positive.  The quicker a small player is the better as I feel it gives them more room, creates more separation and allows them to do what they do best.  What Petan does best is think the game and then make great plays mostly by passing but he is more than capable of burying the puck himself. He played mostly on the wing and I believe that is his NHL position.  He isn’t afraid to be in traffic and uses his leverage very well.  A very impressive three games for Petan.

Scott Kosmachuk also produced and he has a nice blend in his game.  I really like that he plays almost nasty, has a bit of that edge, and that chippy-ness combined with a fierce hunger to score.  He has some tunnel vision when it comes to pouncing on loose pucks, moving to a shooting/scoring position and competing for scoring chances.  I see a lot of intensity in his game and he can score in a variety of ways.  He’ll need to season his game in the AHL this year, become more aware of his defensive positioning and be responsible in all three zones.  He had a positive tournament and finishing as he did was a real nice plus.


Adam Lowry

Adam Lowry scored a great goal on a wonderful, quick pass from Petan and showed more of an overall game than probably any other Jet prospect. That’s his future; to be a big, physical force that competes hard and hopefully can score enough to improve over the player he eventually replaces at the NHL level.  I think he could play right now as a LW for the Jets but I envision him going back for at least half a year to develop his offensive game, get more minutes and to continue to build his game as a center.  The other major positive he brings is such focus and understanding of the game.  We all know the blood lines he has but I could see and sense he was the definitive leader for the players.  He was the captain for a reason and he lead the way on and off the ice.

Jimmy Lodge was a pleasant surprise for me.  He played hard, competed and was an effective fore-checker as well as making some nice plays offensively and as mentioned, he was a point producer.  He has a good frame, skates well and like Petan, he played wing as opposed to manning one of the center spots.  I also believe that is his “pro” position but if he plays center this year that is not an issue as transitioning to wing from center is pretty seamless.  Lodge was able to put some numbers up while not being paired with perhaps the strongest line-mates or getting a lot of PP time but that also is a plus.


Jimmy Lodge

Overall, I think we saw what we hoped to see.  Some players could have played well and not produced as they did but scorers need to score and you can’t have enough of them as prospects.  Partner that ability with some grit, some edginess, passion and you have a good overall prospect.  This week emphasized to me that the Winnipeg Jets do indeed have several of these type of prospects and that is miles ahead of where they were prior to relocation.  It’s taking time but IMO this is the correct way to build the base of the franchise and make it solid for years to come and allow flexibility to make moves with veteran players when those opportunities are right.



  1. Nice piece Rick….some great observations. Let’s see if these guys can parlay that play at the main camp
    Darryl Manchulenko recently posted…Winnipeg Jets Young Stars ReportMy Profile

  2. Rick Fritschy says

    Certainly some reasons for optimism , I think Lowry , Lipon and Ehlers Petan and Morrissey will show well in the main camp,not to say they make the roster but there’s certainly that possibility for one or more. It’s too quick a main camp imo , would prefer it to be at least double for practices .

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