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ANALYSIS: Interesting draft ahead for Jets, with no first-round pick

It will be an interesting week leading up to next Friday’s NHL Entry Draft for the Winnipeg Jets. Unlike years past, the team does not currently possess a first-round selection — and as the June 28 and 29 festivities near, own just one pick in the first three rounds.

For every NHL team, the annual selection process is the lifeblood of their organization, a mechanism that can certainly shape and mould a franchise for many years, good or bad.

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Of course, it’s not an exact science, but there are no shortcuts to its execution, as it’s both exciting and duly important.

Locally, the Jets, through their draft, develop and retain model, certainly understand this vividly. In their 13 seasons to date, they’ve held at least a single first-round pick in all but one of those years. In the year they didn’t, they were able to grab current rostered forward David Gustafsson with their first pick of 2018, in the second round.

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So as draft day closes in and with the Jets devoid of a first-round pick for only the second time in franchise history, one wonders if acquiring one between now and then is actually a priority for the organization, especially when you consider what it might cost in a draft year that isn’t considered deeply rich with talent.

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In fact, many in the industry believe this year’s crop does possess quality players, but as one executive said recently, it’s a “fielder’s choice” — meaning teams will either really like a player or really won’t.

However, as the old saying goes, if something lands on the lap of the Jets and presents itself as a too-good-to-pass-up upgrade that includes as first-round selection, then that attitude would assuredly change. But don’t bet on that happening.

Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, it will be an interesting week leading up to next Friday’s draft for the Jets — not likely because of their pursuit of acquiring a first-round draft pick, but rather who they’ll select with their only pick in the first three rounds.

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