While some look at this summer as an example of the Winnipeg Jets loading up for a big advancement, others wonder if the core of the team has really changed all that much since Rick Dudley’s brief run as the GM.
Perhaps those calls will quiet down if some of current GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s biggest draft picks make an impact on the NHL club.
More specifically, the 2013-14 season might just mark a time where Mark Scheifele (seventh pick overall in 2011) and/or Jacob Trouba (ninth overall in 2012) help the team take another step forward.*
Scheifele, 20, has waited patiently as other high picks including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau have made splashes at the highest level. He didn’t make beat around the push discussing how much he wants to make the team when asked by the Canadian Press.
“My goal is to earn a spot on the Jets, and that’s what I’m going to go to camp and do, and do whatever it takes to get that spot,” Scheifele said on Monday.
Forwards tend to come along more quickly than defensemen, so it’s hard to imagine Scheifele being denied once more.
Trouba, 19, might face slightly longer odds. Still, he believes it’s “very realistic” that he could make the team.
On paper, it seems more than reasonable for these two young prospects to make the squad. The Jets front office must determine if the developmental risk/reward takeaway is worth it, however.
Ultimately, it’s likely just a matter of time.
* – Or at least fill the gaps left behind by players leaving for the KHL.