The Winnipeg Jets will look to continue their lengthy rebuilding process at the 2012 NHL draft in late June.
The draft is one of the most important dates in the NHL. For the Winnipeg Jets, the draft is of extreme importance. It’s the key to rebuilding a successful franchise.
This franchise, in particular, has been in the same position quite often over the years when the Atlanta Thrashers were finishing at the bottom of the league year in and year out.
But in the past, this franchise was never able to build a contending team after having multiple opportunities to do so through the draft. The Jets have to make sure the same failure doesn’t occur this time around.
In the past four years, the Thrashers, and now Jets, have drafted some promising first-round talent such as Evander Kane, Alex Burmistrov, Zach Bogosian and Mark Scheifele.
It has been a stellar rebuild to this point as most of the young players are coming along well, but the Jets are still pieces away from becoming a contender.
It’s at the draft where the Jets acquire those pieces.
And it’s at the 2012 draft, in particular, where the Jets are going to have to continue checking off their needs.
The draft is still months away, but it’s a good time to evaluate what positional players the Jets are going to target.
Obviously, it’s still unknown as to where the Jets will be drafting in the first round, which could change what position they target. Regardless of where they end up, their needs will remain constant.
A dominant goal-scoring forward
The Jets should target one of the many skilled forwards available in the first round, especially if they’re drafting high enough to obtain one of the more highly touted ones.
The Jets need more goal scoring, and there's no better time to acquire it than at the draft.
The Jets have drafted a forward with their first-round draft pick for the past three seasons. It’s never a bad idea to have too many top-talented forwards.
Building a solid foundation of forwards through the draft would only bode well in the long run.
A stay-at-home, shutdown defenseman
The Jets have the offensive-defensemen, now they need someone who thinks defense all the time—someone who can play the position well and shut down the opponent’s top line.
Whether or not the Jets target one in the first round will be up to where they draft and how the dominoes in front of them fall.
Although, it should be on the Jets' mind to look for one of these defensemen in the second and third rounds.
It’s not easy pickins to find such players in the latter rounds, but it’s possible. It's a deep draft. Teams will have the opportunity to find a diamond in the rough. It's up to the Jets' scouting team to find some of those players.
A shutdown defenseman is probably the Jets' most important need. If they feel fit to draft one in the first round, then they should do so.
But if the Jets are drafting within the first 10 picks, there's a great opportunity to snag one of the highly touted forwards that could change the face of this franchise.