The original Winnipeg Jets were a fine drafting team. Dave Christian, Thomas Steen and Tim Watters in 1979, and then 1980 and 1981 first-round picks Dave Babych and Dale Hawerchuk gave the team a rock solid foundation.
The modern Jets have been fire at the draft table. In the first five years, the team’s first-round picks were Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Josh Morrissey, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor. The impact winger came in year six (Patrik Laine) and later picks like Ville Heinola and Cole Perfetti are going to have long stories to tell.
There’s a lot to respect about how the Winnipeg Jets went about team building. Both times.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: It’s time for the Oilers to play prospect Evan Bouchard in NHL games
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi is ready for his No. 1 line audition
- Lowetide: Oilers’ scoring wing prospects having an impact.
- Lowetide: Oilers Kailer Yamamoto is the real deal.
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers risers and fallers: Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones among those stumbling early
- Lowetide: Oilers goaltending depth in a state of flux.
- Lowetide: Oilers’ No. 3 line has been a source of anxiety early this season
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
- Lowetide: First impressions of Oilers after opener against the Canucks
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers opening night roster: A player-by-player breakdown
- Lowetide: Oilers risers and fallers and how they impact the opening night roster
- Lowetide: Will Ken Holland let it ride in goal for the Oilers this season?
- Lowetide: Oilers rookies with a chance to stick after one week of training camp
- Lowetide: 9 bold predictions for the Oilers’ season
- Lowetide: Early roster rumblings as Oilers open training camp
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers training camp: Forecasting the big roster battles
- Lowetide: Dylan Holloway’s world juniors work offers clues about Oilers future
OILERS IN MONTH NO. 1
- Oilers in October 2015: 3-5-0, goal differential -5
- Oilers in October 2016: 7-1-0, goal differential +12
- Oilers in October 2017: 2-5-1, goal differential -9
- Oilers in October 2018: 4-3-1, goal differential -4
- Oilers in October 2019: 7-1-0, goal differential +10
- Oilers in Month 1 2021: 3-4-0, goal differential -4
The current team most resembles the 2018-19 squad that got Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli fired, although in fairness the general manager did a lot of the work himself. There’s lots of pressure on this organization top to bottom, but a win tonight gets them back to even on the year. My look at Evan Bouchard this morning drills down on the defence, and a second pairing wouldn’t go amiss for the coach right now. It’s been a troubled start to the year for several veteran blue.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MONTH NO. 1
- At home to: Vancouver, Vancouver (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- At home to: Montreal, Montreal (Expected: 1-1-0) (Actual 0-2-0)
- On the road to: Toronto, Toronto, Winnipeg, Winnipeg (Expected 1-2-1) (Actual 2-1-0)
- At home to: Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa (Expected 2-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 5-5-1, 11 points in 11 games
- Current results: 3-4-0, 6 points after seven games
I had tonight as a win, and the beginning of the best stretch of the month (3-1-0) to close out proceedings. I’m not sure this team is good enough to win three of four.
BAKERSFIELD CONDORS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
Not many legit prospects here, I count Benson, Marody, McLeod and Rodrigue as being a possible part of Edmonton’s future. Important for all of these men to play hockey, good for NHL owners for investing in the futures of these young men.
TAXI SQUAD, IR AND NON-ROSTER
This is the possible recall list, candidates include Joakim Nygard, Jujhar Khaira, Gaetan Haas and Evan Bouchard. I don’t think they’ll activate a goalie and men like Quine and Russell are probably heading to Bakersfield at some point during the year.
CURRENT ROSTER (22)
When the top performers are on the ice, Edmonton does very good things. The problem is Edmonton’s best count eight men plus the goalie. There 10 men nightly bleeding out and coach Tippett isn’t finding easy answers. This is why coaching staffs all have grey hair.
WORD AND DEED
I always listen for the coach to tell me about a young prospect who is pushing for the NHL. Through word and deed, you can usually get a pretty good idea about which way the wind is blowing.
Craig MacTavish was a wonderful coach in this area. Here’s an example. In the fall of 2007, Rob Schremp was pushing for a job opening but seemed to be getting passed by all manner of centers (Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Brodziak, Marc Pouliot).
One day, MacT laid it out: “He needs the strength base and the quickness. He’s got to be strong enough to battle at a standstill with players because he’s not going to outskate many players.”
I think Dave Tippett is telling us about Evan Bouchard, not through words (he has been very positive verbally) but through deed. The young man is 21 now, he is ready by any reasonable measure. The Oilers RH veterans (save Ethan Bear) are struggling. This isn’t a difficult problem to solve, simply give the kid a chance and rest Larsson and Barrie a few games each over the next 10 games. Tippett’s Oilers are giving up 10-bell chances on the regular, how could Bouchard be worse?
The coach tells you about his players, even if there are no words. I will tell you that the next 20 games or so will be a major tell as it pertains to Bouchard in this organization. There’s simply no reason to keep him out of the lineup with so many veterans struggling.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we hit the ground running on TSN1260. Murat Ates from The Athletic Winnipeg will join us at 10:20, I’ll ask him about some interesting new players (Logan Stanley, Ville Heinola, David Gustafsson, Kristian Vesalainen) who are helping the Jets this season. Gerry Moddejonge from Post Media will join me to talk CFL (what a day it was yesterday for the Edmonton Football Team) and life after Scott Milanovich in this city. TSN 1260’s Corey Graham will pop in at 11:25 to talk about Central Scouting’s first 2021 list and the Edmonton Oil Kings content on that list. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!