November 31-in-31: Winnipeg Jets

jzadow

2020-11-30

What a whirlwind of an NHL season we just saw and for the Winnipeg Jets they appeared to be one of the teams overwhelmed by the league’s return to play format. Drawing the short end of the stick and forced to play in the qualifying round, the Jets were bounced 3-1 by the Calgary Flames (and if you want to be technical, you could say they actually “missed” the playoffs). 

After reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2018, the Jets seemed like a team on the rise and ready to break through to potentially become the first Canadian team to hoist the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens accomplished the feat in 1993. However, it’s been back-to-back playoff disappointments — unable to get out of the first round — and it appears the front office may need to rethink their strategy. 

Kevin Cheveldayoff has only made nine selections over the last two draft years, so the prospect pool appears rather thin at the moment. Let’s meet the four draft picks from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Draft Recap

Cole Perfetti, C (Saginaw Spirit / OHL) – 1st Round, 10th Overall

Many in the hockey world were surprised that Perfetti fell as far as he did — I was certainly one of them. It was easy to make the connection that the Detroit Red Wings would take him fourth overall, playing his junior hockey down the highway in Saginaw, but for months it would appear the young center was destined to be a top five pick. The Jets have to be ecstatic that Perfetti fell into their laps and with elite skating ability and a quick release, this kid has all the makings to be an absolute stud at the top of the lineup for many years to come. This is a smart pick by Cheveldayoff as Perfetti should slot nicely into the second center role right behind Mark Scheifele to form a great one-two punch.

Daniel Torgersson, RW (Frolunda HC / SHL) – 2nd Round, 40th Overall

In the second round, the Jets elected for some size up front with the 6-3 205-pound Togersson. He has tremendous strength and balance on his skates, making it extremely difficult for opposing defenders to gain the upper hand and knock him off the puck. Torgersson is also a pain to deal with in front of the net and with his powerful stride, he could be a dominating power forward in this lineup for years to come. He’s a solid two-way player that the coaching staff can trust in all situations and the Jets can be confident in this selection.

Anton Johannesson, D (HV71 J20 / J20 Nationell) – 5th Round, 133rd Overall

Cheveldayoff kept the theme going by selecting another Swede in Johannesson. At first glance, he’s a short-statured player at just 5-9 and 154 lbs, but he has a great offensive mind and is very smart with the puck. Many scouts had Johannesson higher up their draft boards and for him to fall this far may be a blessing in disguise for the Jets. Johannesson has tremendous speed and is such a smooth skater that he can work his way out of high danger situations in the defensiv