Friday, May 15, 2009

Jets gearing up for CSHL Draft next weekend

Just two players from the 2008 Central States Hockey League Draft played the duration of the year with the Metro Jets, but if all goes as planned next weekend in Chicago at the 2009 draft, Metro could see more talent making an impact next fall at Lakeland Arena.

Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop said the draft is pretty much the finishing touch on the recruiting season.

"It's so important to do your homework before the draft," Skop said. "This isn't like pro sports where when you're drafted, that's where you go, no questions asked. In our league, guys might be headed off to school, going to a different league or even staying in midgets another year. It's just as important, if not more, to evealuate a player's intentions than it is his ability."

The draft goes 20 total rounds with the first eight rounds being devoted to each team picking from their local region (75 miles from home rink).

It's finding the local talent that Skop believes will help the Jets in the long run.

"Last year, just (Justin) Vinson and (Will) Saley played all year with us; we need to be better than that with our picks," added Skop. "The best teams in the league are getting a half-dozen or so draft picks on their squad. That being said, I'm very comfortable with the work we've done so far. I think we're light years ahead of where we were at this point in the game last year. (Scout) Tim Ross has done a great job getting out there watching guys and talking to guys."

With holes needing to be filled at every position, the draft should serve its purpose to find fresh, new talent.

"We aren't necessarily looking for the best or most talented players," said Skop. "We're looking for guys with the right attitude who can come in and fit our system and style. We're looking for guys who are hungry to advance. We're looking for character."

Still, a couple challenges lie ahead with one being the aforementioned regional battle for talent. Neither Skop nor the rest of the Jets brass is in a panic, though.

"We share a lot of draft space with Motor City and Flint and even a little with Toledo," noted Skop. "It makes it a little more difficult to lock down our local guys, but that's OK. It just means we need to be better than those guys.

"I like that challenge."

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