Jets pick up a Sutter
KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
|The Jets selected Saskatoon Blades forward Lukas Sutter 39th overall in the NHL draft at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., June 22, 2012. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images/AFP)
PITTSBURGH - The Winnipeg Jets chose Saskatoon Blades centre Lukas Sutter with the 39th overall selection as Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft got underway.
Sutter, who is the son of Rich Sutter of Sutter family fame, is coming off a season that saw him produce 28 goals, 31 assists, 59 points and 165 penalty minutes in 70 games.
"I'm really excited, to go to a hockey market like Winnipeg is a tremendous honour and I'm very proud to be a part of it," said Sutter. "I can't even begin to put it into words. It's kind of stressful when you get in there and it starts going so fast and once it's done, it's truly unbelievable."
In the third round, at 70th overall, the Jets took right-winger Scott Kosmachuk from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
"It's awesome," said Kosmachuk. "You get nervous. It's your dream and you've been working up to this your whole life. You can't wait to get picked but when you actually do, it's the best feeling in the world."
The Jets didn't pick in the fourth round but did make a move to potentially shore up the depth at the goaltender position, acquiring the rights to Jonas Gustavsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a conditional seventh round draft pick in 2013.
Gustavsson is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and won't cost the Jets anything unless they can get him signed to a new deal.
Last season, Gustavsson went 17-17-4 with a 2.92 goals against average and .902 save percentage in 42 games, sharing the net with Morweena product James Reimer.
"When it gets down to a week or so before July 1, you suspect that maybe he's not going to sign (with the Leafs),' said Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. "If you get an opportunity to learn a little bit about a player before free agency, we just decided it was a good look."
"He's a big goaltender, he's athletic and when we talk to our people, they like the fundamentals in his game. And he's 27-years-old. We think there's still an opportunity for upside there. Again, he's not signed by us. There's no guarantee that he will be a Jet."
In the fifth round, the Jets took 6-foot-4 goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who played for the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League last season and will attend the University of Massachusetts-Lowell this fall.
The Jets picked centre Ryan Olsen of the Blades (15 goals, 32 points and 64 penalty minutes in 67 games last season) in the sixth round and 6-foot-2 goalie Jamie Phillips of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with their final selection.
Defenceman Jacob Trouba was the Jets first pick in 2012, going ninth overall.
On the local front, goalie Chris Driedger of Winnipeg was the first Manitoban selected, going 76th overall to the Ottawa Senators, while forward Brendan Leipsic of Winnipeg went to the Nashville Predators at 89 and defenceman Travis Brown of Winnipeg went to the Chicago Blackhawks at 149.