Winnipeg Jets: Most Important Draft Year for Jets Since Return to Winnipeg

Anthony CapocciContributor IJune 14, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: General manager of the Winnipeg Jets Kevin Cheveldayoff (R) looks on during day two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL draft is just over two weeks away, and the Winnipeg Jets will have another opportunity to add a few pieces in their lengthy rebuild.

Not only will the Jets be selecting 13th-overall in the first round, they'll have three more picks in the second round, and two more picks in the third round. That's six picks in the first three rounds of a draft that is as deep as any. 

Now it's just a matter of how the Jets will use their high quality draft picks. What positions will they target and in what rounds? More importantly, how will they replace some of their graduating prospects?

With Jacob Trouba coming into the mix next season, it leaves a huge hole in the Jets' defensive-prospect depth. The same can be said regarding center depth when Mark Scheifele begins his career as an everyday player with the Jets.

Suddenly, the Jets prospect pool doesn't look so good.

The Jets' top two prospects will be in their lineup at the start of the 2013 season. After those two, there's a huge gap in talent, which is why this year will be the most important draft year for the Jets since they returned to Winnipeg.

The 2013 draft is projected to be one of the deepest drafts in a long time. That's good news for a team that controls six picks in the first three rounds. It also means the Jets can focus on more than one need while they attempt to re-establish their prospect pool.

The Jets will probably go after a forward in the first round, but when the second and third rounds roll around, expect the Jets to target at least one defenseman. And then another forward. Probably another after that.

That's the beauty of having a boat load of picks.

Outside of the first round, it's nearly impossible to mock an entire draft of players the Jets could target. However, it's easy to see that they'll get the positions and players that meet their needs, whether they hit or miss in the future.

Which brings me to this...The Jets can't afford to strike out with all these draft picks. Other teams find diamonds in the rough in the latter rounds, and now the Jets have to do so too. If everything goes well, the Jets could make some noise with players in this draft alone.

The Jets have a lot of ammo heading into the draft. Building through the draft has always been the most critical part for the once Atlanta Thrashers—now Jets. This year will be no different. The Jets will continue to build their team through the draft.