With the 2020 NHL Draft looming, TSN Hockey provides a draft primer for each of the seven Canadian NHL clubs. Today, we continue with the Winnipeg Jets.
No. 20 overall pick Ville Heinola collected his first NHL goal and five points in an eight-game audition with Winnipeg at season’s start. The defenceman added five more points – all assists – in a terrific performance for Finland at the 2020 World Junior Championship.
GRADING THE LAST 5 DRAFTS
TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button awards Winnipeg top marks for the 2015 and 2016 drafts. The former produced quality and quantity, with five draftees appearing in games for the Jets this past season: F Kyle Connor (No. 17), F Jack Roslovic (No. 25), F Jansen Harkins (No. 47), F Mason Appleton (No. 168) and D Sami Niku (No. 198). A player to watch from 2018 is Declan Chisholm (No. 150); the Peterborough Pete finished third in OHL defenceman scoring with 69 points in 59 games.
The Finn-ipeg Jets have selected players from Finland with their top picks in three of four drafts: Patrick Laine (2016, No. 2), Kristian Vesalainen (2017, No. 24) and Ville Heinola (2019, No. 20). Winnipeg picked a prospect from Finland’s next-door neighbour, Sweden, with its first selection in 2018 (David Gustafsson, No. 60). One more pattern: the Jets did not pick a single player from the CHL in the first four rounds of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 drafts.
JETS' TOP 10 PROSPECTS: GRADE B
The Jets’ defence experienced a massive turnover 2019-20 with the departures of Jacob Trouba (trade), Tyler Myers (UFA), Ben Chiarot (UFA) and Dustin Byfuglien (apparent retirement). Most notable among the replacements was Neal Pionk, who tied for third in NHL blueline power-play points (3-22-25). That process will be accelerated with the additions of Heinola and Dylan Samberg, who both project as top-four defencemen and are expected to step into the lineup in 2020-21 (whenever that may be). Heinola was a member of 2019 World Junior Championship gold medal-winning Finland. Samberg is a two-time NCAA champion with University of Minnesota-Duluth. Gustafsson was a member of the Swedish team that extended its undefeated streak in group play to 13 years and 52 games at the 2020 World Junior Championship.
Winnipeg has the No. 10 overall pick among its four 2020 picks – tied with Arizona, Pittsburgh (and possibly Edmonton) for the fewest of any teams entering the Oct. 6-7 draft. The Jets have selections in the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds. If Winnipeg makes just four choices, it would give the Jets a total of only 15 picks over three drafts (2018-20).
DRAFT POLL RESULTS
TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button identifies Winnipeg’s primary needs entering the 2020 draft as a top-two centre and defencemen with size. The Jets have already invested two first- round picks on centres, trading firsts to get Paul Stastny (2018) and Kevin Hayes (2019) as rentals to fill the No. 2 hole. Winnipeg needs a long-term solution. Which centre from this group of four players projected to be available would you select for Winnipeg at No. 10?
Who should the Jets select with the No. 10 pick in the 2020 Draft?
Jarvis, whose playing style is comparable to Brayden Point’s, is the right fit for his hometown team. The Portland centre finished second in WHL scoring with 42 goals and 98 points in 58 games, won league most sportsmanlike player honours and earned a place on the Western Conference first all-star team.
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