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The Runway Blog
POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.17.2016 / 12:28 PM CT
By Mitchell Clinton (@MClinton007) - / The Runway

The journey toward a Canadian junior hockey championship has reached Red Deer, Alberta, the site of this year’s MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Nelson Nogier and Michael Spacek are the two Winnipeg Jets prospects participating in the tournament, with both suiting up for the host Red Deer Rebels.

They’re up against league champions from the WHL (Brandon Wheat Kings), the OHL (London Knights), and the QMJHL (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies).

Nogier, Spacek, and the Rebels were eliminated in five games by the Wheat Kings in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final. Spacek, playing in his first WHL season, recorded three goals and 13 points in 17 playoff games. Meanwhile, on the blue line, Nogier chipped in with two goals and four points of his own.


Nelson Nogier

Drafted: 2014 – 4th round, 101st overall
Position: Defence
Age: 19
Regular Season Stats: 4G 17A = 21 pts
Playoff Stats: 2G 2A = 4 pts

Michael Spacek
Drafted: 2015 – 4th round, 108th overall
Position: Forward
Age: 19
Regular Season Stats: 18G 36A = 54 pts
Playoff Stats: 3G 10A = 13 pts


Red Deer Rebels (Host)
2015-2016 Record: 45-24-1-2
Power play (playoffs): 24.2%
Penalty kill (playoffs): 77.8%
Leading scorer (season): Ivan Nikolishin – 31G 51A = 82 pts

Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
2015-2016 Record: 48-18-4-2
Power play (playoffs): 20%
Penalty kill (playoffs): 77.6%
Leading scorer (season): Jayce Hawryluk – 47G 59A = 106 pts

London Knights (OHL)
2015-2016 Record: 40-24-1-3
Power play (playoffs): 27.9%
Penalty kill (playoffs): 75%
Leading scorer (season): Christian Dvorak – 52G 69A = 121 pts

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
2015-2016 Record: 54-9-3-2
Power play (playoffs): 32.3%
Penalty kill (playoffs): 85.2%
Leading scorer (season): Francis Perron – 41G 67A = 108 pts


May 20 – London Knights vs Red Deer Rebels – 7 pm CT

May 21 – Brandon Wheat Kings vs Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 6 pm CT

May 22 – Red Deer Rebels vs Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 6 pm CT

May 23 – Brandon Wheat Kings vs London Knights – 7 pm CT

May 24 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies vs London Knights – 9 pm CT

May 25 – Red Deer Rebels vs Brandon Wheat Kings – 7 pm CT

May 26 – Tie Breaker (if necessary) - 7 pm CT

May 27 – Semi Final – 7 pm CT

May 29 – Championship Final – 3:30 pm CT



Facebook –
Twitter - @MCMemorial Cup, @CHLHockey
Instagram – chlhockey

POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2016 / 10:15 PM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t usually superstitious.

But when it came to the ever popular draft lottery simulator, it was a different story. That he wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

He just wanted to get lucky that one time it truly mattered.

Incredibly, it happened. With less than a 1-in-10 chance of doing so, the Jets won the second of two draws and now hold the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

“It’s a big, big day,” Cheveldayoff said, still abuzz over the phone following the broadcast. “It’s a great opportunity for us to pick a player that’s going to be a foundation piece for this franchise moving forward.”

Read on...

POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2016 / 7:15 PM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

The Winnipeg Jets have won the second overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, jumping up four spots from No. 6 with a bit of luck in Saturday's draft lottery.

The Jets' lucky numbers were 5-10-7-14.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who had the best odds coming in at 20.0%, won the No. 1 pick, while the Columbus Blue Jackets were also victorious, moving up to No. 3.

The Jets had a 7.5% chance to land the first pick, but ultimately won the second draw, where they had a 7.8% chance to win.

The order of selection for the first 14 drafting positions in the first round, only, is as follows:

1. Toronto
2. Winnipeg
3. Columbus
4. Edmonton
5. Vancouver
6. Calgary
7. Arizona
8. Buffalo
9. Montreal
10. Colorado
11. New Jersey
12. Ottawa
13. Carolina
14. Boston

More to come...

POSTED ON Saturday, 04.30.2016 / 11:45 AM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

The NHL Draft Lottery is now just a few hours away, and tonight, for the first time ever, three separate draws will determine the first, second and third overall selections.

The Jets can either move up into the Top 3, stay at No. 6, or fall back into seventh, eighth or ninth. (Click here for a full rundown.)

Here's how it works:

The lottery, which has a 'Deal or No Deal'-type flair, with its Hollywood stage and oversized envelopes carefully unfurled by Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, actually involves a bit of math. What you might not know is that the machine is NOT filled with 100, 200 or even 1000 ping pong balls bearing the logos of the possible winners. Instead, 14 balls numbered one to 14 are placed in the drum and drawn in 10-second intervals to produce a four-number combination. Each team has been assigned the number combinations proportional to their odds. With a 7.5% chance to win the No. 1 pick, the Jets own 75 of the 1001 possible combinations (11, 12, 13, 14 is classified as a re-draw).

Read on to see the Jets’ lucky (and hopefully winning) numbers, courtesy of the NHL's official look-up table...

POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.27.2016 / 1:05 PM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

Jets prospects Michael Spacek, Nelson Nogier and the Memorial Cup host Red Deer Rebels earned a 6-2 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Game 3 of the WHL Eastern Conference Championship series Tuesday.

Spacek tallied two points (1G, 1A), while Nogier recorded one assist in the win.

Brandon now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 going tonight in Red Deer.

Spacek – a fourth-round pick in the 2015 Draft – now has three goals and 13 points in 15 playoff games after finishing second in team scoring with 54 points (18G, 36A) in the regular season. Nogier, meanwhile, now has two goals and two helpers.

POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.20.2016 / 11:15 AM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

Jets prospects Michael Spacek, Nelson Nogier and the Red Deer Rebels defeated the Regina Pats 2-1 in Game 7 of their second-round series Tuesday, and will now face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern final of the Western Hockey League playoffs.

The first two games of the best-of-seven series will be played Friday and Saturday in Brandon, both beginning at 7:30pm CT. The winner of that set will advance to the WHL Championship Series against either the Seattle Thunderbirds or the defending champ Kelowna Rockets.

“It’s been seven games of hard-fought hockey,” Rebels owner, coach and general manager Brent Sutter told “Regina — full marks to them. They played hard and did a lot of great things in this series.”

Read on...

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.12.2016 / 3:00 PM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

– It was time.

After an incredible first year with the NCAA’s University of Michigan Wolverines, Kyle Connor felt ready for the challenge.

On Monday, Connor and the Jets agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract worth an annual average value of $1.775 million, bringing the 2015 first-round pick into the fold for the 2016-17 season.

“I’m just ready for this next step,” Connor said as he addressed the media via conference call Tuesday. “Turning pro was a family decision… but I think I’m ready for this.”

Connor’s college career came to end three weeks ago when the Wolverines were knocked out by fellow Jets prospect Tucker Poolman and the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final. It was his one and only season in Michigan after spending the previous three years with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. There, he set a single-season franchise record with 80 points (34G, 46A) in his final campaign before being drafted by the Jets.

“Coming into the season I knew there was definitely a chance it could have been a one-and-done [-type situation],” Connor said, “but you never know how it was all going to play out. After the season, I sat down with my family and my coach (the venerable Red Berenson), and that’s when I ended up making my decision"

Read on...

POSTED ON Monday, 04.11.2016 / 7:35 PM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

– The once immaculate ice turned a pond within minutes; colourful slush later scraped up by bobcats, with the unmistakable smell of diesel fuel filling the concourse instead of popcorn, nachos and hot dogs.

It’s everyone’s least favourite day of the hockey season – the first one with no hockey at all.

The Winnipeg Jets had their annual exit meetings on Monday, and it began bright and early at MTS Centre, where crews quickly transformed a beautiful ice rink into a quiet, concrete jungle.

After missing the cut with a 35-39-8 record, the Jets had already shifted gears, though, focusing on the work that needs to be done to make the team competitive again five months from now.

“There would be a spectrum of conversations that happened today,” said Head Coach Paul Maurice, who, along with General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, met with each player individually before going their separate ways.

“There were guys that, statistically, there were parts of their game they could be proud of. That was a theme with a number of them. For some of the … younger players, I have the expectation that they will take that next step, that jump in their game. For some of them, that’s not something you can do over five months, but there would be a number of those younger players that got the message, ‘This is where I see you at your best, and we need you to get there far sooner than you’re comfortable getting there.’”

Read on...

POSTED ON Monday, 04.11.2016 / 4:00 PM CT
By Mitchell Clinton (@MClinton007) - / The Runway

Despite a season that saw him reach a career high in points (78) and finish with points in 11 straight games, Blake Wheeler only feels disappointment.

After making the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, the Winnipeg Jets are on the outside looking in after 82 games.

“There will be a time for sure when I’m able to reflect on it, and I’ll be proud of the work I’ve put in,” said Wheeler. “Certainly coming into the year, being pretty excited about where we left off last year, looking to build on that, it’s disappointing.”

The Jets finished the season with a 35-39-8 record, putting them seventh in the Central Division. Just like 2014-2015, five Central Division teams will play for the Stanley Cup, tied with the Metropolitan Division for the most in the league.

But it wasn’t the team’s 11-16-2 record within the Division that Wheeler believes why MTS Centre won’t see playoff hockey this spring.

Read on...
POSTED ON Sunday, 04.10.2016 / 12:55 AM CT
By Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) - / The Runway

LOS ANGELES, California
– That's it, that's all, that's all there is.

But, boy, what a way to say goodnight. 

The Winnipeg Jets closed out the 2015-16 season in dramatic fashion, quashing a 3-0 deficit with three quick goals before winning it in a shootout, 4-3 over the LA Kings. With the win, the Jets finish the season on a four-game winning streak, improving their overall record to 35-39-8 for 78 points.

Mark Scheifele scored the shootout winner, while Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping all three in the skills competition.

Pavelec made a couple of incredible saves in a highly entertaining, end-to-end overtime to send it the distance.

“It’s great to end on a positive note, especially with the way this year has gone,” Blake Wheeler, who extended his point streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist, said after the game. “It’s bittersweet. You kind of scratch your head and wonder where this has been all year. … There’s a lot of good men in here, a lot of good leaders showing the guys who don’t have a ton of experience what it’s all about. That resonates throughout the room.”

Read on...