The Anaheim Ducks, L.A. Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks are just some of the powerhouses the NHL has to offer this season. In the salary cap world, building a contender is extremely difficult, but once you find the right combination between players and payroll, the results can be multiple Stanley Cups in a short time period. Drafting is key with the salary cap system, as trades are hard to make. Here is a look at the possible powerhouse of the future, the Winnipeg Jets
Bear with me here. The Jets have an ok record at the moment and are hanging onto a playoff spot. The players they have coming up will be what sets them ahead of other teams in the future. I recently talked about Michael Hutchinson's play and his possibility to be a stellar No.1 goalie, and as he enters his prime in the next 4 or so years he will only improve. The Jets also have an excellent defensive squad, currently lead by Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets need a touch more offence, which could be solved based on their recent draft selections. As well, the defencemen they have in their system will provide excellent defending for many years. Here's a look at some of their best prospects:
Currently playing for the Jets, this prospect got the call to play for the big club after the Jets lost all their top 4 defenders to injury. He quickly became one of their best defenders, even averaging over 20 minutes of playing time on most nights, despite his lack of NHL experience. He is a name to keep an eye on, as he is proving to be a reliable shut down defender. He doesn't make big moves or highlight reel goals or defensive plays, he just plays a simple game and can move the puck efficiently out of his own zone.
A first round pick in last years draft, Ehlers has being scoring at a high pace for the Halifax Mooseheads, and was one of the most offensively gifted players in his draft. The winger will fit perfectly with any of the centers the Jets have. His size was cause for concern in his draft year, but the Jets were astounded that he fell to them at 10th overall. He currently has 51 points in 24 games played in the QMJHL on a rebuilding Mooseheads team, meaning his numbers purely reflect his skill. He is guaranteed to be a first line winger in the NHL.
A second round selection in the 2013 draft, the Portland Winterhawks center is averaging over a point a game for his WHL team, and recently was one of the players that lead Canada to gold at the World Juniors. With Brian Little and Mark Scheifele already embedded in the current roster, Petan will add depth to a team that already has two excellent centers. Wether he plays a projected 2nd line or 3rd line role doesn't matter, he will provide scoring on whatever line.
Another big name on the Canadian Junior team this year, Morrissey brings offence (21 points in 27 games this season for Prince Albert) to the blue line but plays defence first. He knows when to make the offensive play such as a rush or a pinch, but what is more astounding is his ability to not be tempted into doing those things with the slightest chance he will get caught. His hockey smarts are well developed for someone as young as he, and with a little more time in the minor leagues he can be a legitimate threat anytime he is on the ice when he makes the NHL. He is also a physical player and has decent size at 6 ft and 190 pounds.
Imagine a Jets team with the top forwards of Brian Little, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele, Nic Petan, Nikolaj Ehlers, and maybe even Mathieu Perreault. Now imagine that with the defence of Dustin Byfuglien, jacob Trouba, Zack Bogosian, Tobias Enstrom, Josh Morrissey, and Ben Chiarot. This is could be a team with massive offensive potential mixed with excellent defending, and if Michael Hutchinson can keep up his stellar play, theres no telling what this team could do.
*Side note* Now imagine Alexander Burmistrov returning to the Jets after leaving them to play in the KHL. The top 9 forwards for this team would make any and every team jealous.