Jets: All Time 1st Round Picks

With the Jets selecting Rutger McGroarty (14th) and Brad Lambert (30th) in this year’s amateur draft, let’s take a minute for an historical look at all of the team’s first rounders dating back to 2011. With 12 first-round picks in the first 11 years, there have been some diamonds, and there have been some duds. None of them of them earn ‘great pick’ status, though. I reserve those for the round six nuggets that evolve into stalwarts (Dustin Byfuglien, Pavel Datsyuk, etc.).

2011      Mark Scheifele 

Forward – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Barrie Colts (OHL)7th642230347577260

Hard to argue with this one. The brass did a great job of selecting and developing a player that has become a top center in the NHL. Only three players from that draft year have more points: Nikita Kucherov, Jonathon Huberdeau, and Johnny Gaudreau. Some Winnipeg fans may feel this has not been a great pick based on recent comments made by Scheifele, his brain-dead hit on Jake Evans a few years ago, or his inability to play a 200-foot game. Not too many teams, though, wouldn’t want Mark Scheifele on their squad.

2012      Jacob Trouba    

Defense – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
US National Development Team (USHL)9th59762195257468

While maybe not a top-pairing defenceman (depending on the team), Trouba has cemented himself as a steady defender that can also contribute offensively. They love him in New York if only for the Scott Stevens style-crushing hits he lays out on unsuspecting forwards. He wasn’t entirely happy in Winnipeg, and it remains to be seen if he ever would be. His last season on the right side with Josh Morrissey saw the pair as an effective shutdown combo.

2013      Josh Morrissey 

Defense – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)13th42340126166214

Slow and steady as she goes has also defined Morrissey’s rise to the top pairing on the Jets. While some experts have hinted that he may not be a one or two-spot defender, this last season saw him calm down the defensive corps and provide consistent, back-end play. Another product of the Jet’s draft and develop model, look for Morrissey to finish his career in Winnipeg.

2014      Nikolaj Ehlers   

Forward – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)9th478164194358165

Ehlers, or Flash as he is known on the team, can skate like his pants are on fire. He has topflight entries ala McDavid and MacKinnon and has settled into a sturdy, hard-working, top-six forward. The eye test makes you think he should be an 80-point guy, but that may just not be the case. Most Jet fans are happy with what Nik brings night in and night out.

2015      Kyle Connor      

Forward – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)17th38417816634488

Again, a player that certainly reflects the attitude of the Winnipeg Jets organization. Quiet, humble, and, as a friend used to say, wouldn’t know S#*T if his mouth was full of it. A quiet rise to stardom saw Connor set Jet 2.0 records for goals scored and then bring home the Lady Byng this year. Quick-release and sneaky good moves are why he plays on the top line. Patrik who?

2015      Jack Roslovic     

Forward – Okay pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
US National Development Team (USHL)25th309608614644

Again, the eye test wants you to believe in the offensive capabilities of Roslovic, and there are flashes of ‘wow, this can guy play,’ but at the end of the day, he is at best a middle or bottom-six center. He put up good numbers for Columbus as their top center this last season, but on most playoff-bound teams, he wouldn’t see that kind of ice time. Should have, would have, could have Sebastien Aho, Roope Hintz, or Anthony Cirelli.

2016      Patrik Laine       

Forward – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga)2nd407176151327163

With 138 goals in his first four seasons and starting as an 18-year-old, yes, this was a good pick. I would say it is not hard to grab a good player at number two overall, but then I think of the Edmonton Oilers and… It looks too like the Jets moved him at just the right time. Maybe. Let’s see what the next five years hold for Patrik Laine, but there is no doubt fans here loved seeing the Finn light the lamp for Winnipeg.

2016      Logan Stanley   

Defense – Not so good

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Windsor Spitfires (OHL)18th952151770

While he seemed to be on his way as a legitimate top 6 defender two seasons ago, Stanley’s star dimmed a little this last year. He likes to shoot, and he has Chara-like reach, but this pick still remains a head-scratcher. The Jets admitted he was a project when they selected him at 18 overall but aren’t the “project” players taken in the later rounds? Shoulda, woulda, coulda: Alex DeBrincat, Carter Hart or Adam Fox.

2017      Kristian Vesalainen        

Forward – Not so good

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Frolunda HC [SweHL]24th702356

I know that many Jet fans will say this was a good pick. Still, that previous coach Paul Maurice refused to afford Vesalainen (or Sami Niku, Ville Heinola, Cole Perfetti) enough ice time at the NHL level to prove himself or develop. I will simply say that all things find their own level, and if his play warranted it, Vesalainen would be an NHL regular. At 23, with size and the ability to protect the puck, the best we can hope for here is a bottom-six grinder. It would have been a great 3rd round pick. Vesalainen has read the writing on the wall and has chosen to play in Europe this season. Shoulda, woulda, coulda: Jake Oettinger, Jason Robertson, or Drake Batherson.

2018      First round pick traded to St. Louis for Paul Stastny

2019      Ville Heinola     

Defense – Good pick?

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Lukko Rauma [SM-liiga]20th25191016

Question mark. See above re: Paul Maurice. Curious to see what Rick Bowness thinks of Ville and if any movement happens with the D corps this offseason. Great skater and puck mover. Small. Still looks 14 years old.

2020      Cole Perfetti      

Forward – Good pick

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
Saginaw Spirit (OHL)10th182570

Maybe a little early, but from the little we saw of Perfetti this last season, it was tantalizing. Though smallish, his vision and crisp passing could easily have him skating as a top-six center with the Jets for years to come. He should make the team this year.

2021      Chaz Lucius       

Forward – Remains to be seen

Drafted FromOverallGPGAPTSPIM
U.S. National Under 18 Team [USHL]18th00000

This center has hands and has size but is still a few years from seeing NHL action.

Lest see how the Jets do this year!

Pacific Divison Preview Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys head out west and north of the border as they cruise around the Pacific division previewing topics like Trevor Zegras, Calgary getting deeper, the Kings have a loaded prospect pool, and the NHL having some handsome coaches.Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Pacific Divison Preview
  2. Atlantic Division Preview
  3. Metropolitan Division Preview
  4. Thoughts from the Balcony
  5. The Calm Before the Storm

Rick Haley

Never drafted. Scored a Gordie Howe hat trick in a table hockey game. Glue guy. Good in the room. SK100 and Sherwood PMP. Winnipeg Jets hockey writer at www.insidetherink.com

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