Paul Postma has nowhere to go but up for the Jets.
(Photo Courtesy Yahoo! Sports)
Paul Postma, 23, D, 6’3, 184 lbs
Last Year's Ranking: #25
This Year's Ranking: #23
Paul Postma's stock rose the highest this past season with an AHL All-Star appearance and a few games of NHL experience, not to mention a solid pre-season that had him vying for a spot of the Winnipeg Jets blueline to start the season.
For the Jets young, most promising defenseman and seventh round pick in 2007, it was a banner year on which he definitely built for his future success.
Now for the next step.
Postma completed his third season in the AHL (though the last two seasons have been intermittently put on hold with NHL call-ups) scoring 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) in 56 games.
His point-per-game production at the AHL level went up after he posted 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) in 69 games in his sophomore AHL season and 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 63 games in his rookie AHL season.
But it's not his point-per-game production that is the most impressive – it's his ability to quarterback the powerplay and he did it very well in St. John's this season.
Of his 13 goals with the Ice Caps, seven game on the man advantage.
Add to that his only goal in the playoffs was on the powerplay, which accounted for one of his ten points in 15 playoff games.
His prowess on the power play was on full display during the pre-season in Winnipeg last year and Jets fans were able to see how well their young defenseman could handle the pressure of the power play in the NHL – at least during exhibition.
For Postma, the next big step is to crack the top six and push someone out of the way en route to becoming a full time defenseman.
Being behind the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart, Ron Hainsey, and Grant Clitsome has it's challenges, but if Postma has a strong camp and continues to develop his defensive game, which has been at times lacking, Postma should have a legitimate shot at the Jets lineup come opening night.
Despite his great offensive numbers in the AHL, Postma has been a minus player the past two seasons, and dipped to -14 this season from -4 a year ago.
With defensive coach Charlie Huddy's work with Zach Bogosian this past season – taking Bogosian from a -18 and -27 in Atlanta to a -3 last season – Postma has only to improve on his defensive aspects.