Judging from previous years, what can the Jets expect at ninth overall? Let's go back in time and analyze the former ninth overall draft picks since the 2004-05 lockout season.
With the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NHL entry draft, the Ottawa Senators took United States-born defenseman Brian Lee. Lee only totaled 167 games through five seasons with the Senators before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Lee was drafted as a high school senior and needed time to develop his game in college, but the blueliner was unable to find it at the NHL level.
In 2006, the Minnesota Wild selected center James Sheppard with their ninth overall pick. Sheppard spent three seasons with the Wild (224 games), but only tallied 11 goals to go with 49 points. Sheppard suffered a non-hockey related accident which forced him to miss the entire 2010-11 campaign. Last summer, Sheppard was dealt to the Sharks, but didn't see any NHL action this past season.
In 2007, Logan Couture was drafted ninth overall by the San Jose Sharks. This is probably the best selection the ninth overall spot has seen since the lockout.
In his first season, Couture only played in 25 games, which wasn't enough to qualify as his rookie season. In his 2010-11 rookie season, Couture potted 32 goals along with 56 points. The young gun matched his rookie outing in 2011-12 when he netted 31 goals to go with 65 points.
The ninth overall spot in 2008 saw a center go for the third straight year when the New York Islanders drafted Josh Bailey. Bailey made the Isles' lineup his rookie year, and played in 291 games throughout his first four seasons.
Bailey's career-high in goals was set during his second year with 16, and he's been a 30-point player twice. Though he isn't a complete disappointment, the Islanders expected more from him. He's still young at the age of 22, so there is still a lot of time for this young center to develop his game.
The big 6'5," 230-pound defenseman was drafted ninth overall in 2009 when the Ottawa Senators took Jared Cowen. Cowen made one appearance with the Sens during his draft year. In 2011-12, he played a full 82-game season with his club. Cowen scored five times and tallied 17 points. The young defenseman has a lot of upside and potential, and the Senators believe he will amount to it.
In 2010, the Minnesota Wild selected Finnish center Mikael Granlund with their ninth overall selection. Granlund hasn't made the team yet, but he is expected to be one of the next best Finnish players in the game. There's still a lot of time between now and then, but early speculation is that Granlund has the potential to be a star in the NHL.
At last year's NHL entry draft, the Boston Bruins took Dougie Hamilton with their ninth overall selection. The fall to ninth shocked some people, and many saw it as a steal for the Bruins. Why wouldn't they? Hamilton is a 6'5" defenseman who has all the tools to become one of the best shutdown defenseman in the game. And with Zdeno Chara there to teach him, it looks like he won't have any trouble learning the ropes.
The ninth overall pick has been popular for defensemen and centers. Some players have already fallen out of the NHL, and one has already made a name for himself. Others are too young to predict what will happen in their career.
Tonight, it will be the Winnipeg Jets' turn to make a selection at the ninth spot.
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