32 for 32: The top five Jets prospects


NHL.com offers in-depth analysis of each of the 32 teams between August 8 and September 8. Today’s top five Winnipeg Jets prospects, according to NHL.com.

32 IN 32 JETS : Season preview | Three issues to watch | Analysis for poolers

1. Cole PerfettiHAS

How was it acquired: Drafted 10th overall in 2020
Last season: Winnipeg (NHL): 18 GMs, 2-5-7; Manitoba (AHL): 17 MJ, 6-9-15

Perfetti (5-foot-10, 177) was recalled to the NHL twice in 2021-22, including a 16-game streak in which he was used in the top-6 and got playing time in numerical advantage. A back injury, however, ended his rookie season.

« He’s got a good mix of skill and hockey sense, and that’s what’s going to make him a great player, » Winnipeg scouting director Mark Hillier said. “He can adjust his game to evolve with good players, play in different situations, be in the center or on the wing. He’s a typical power-play player, who’s really creative with the puck and has great instincts. Give him time and you’ll see he’ll do special things on the ice that very few players can do at any level. »

Video: WPG@WSH: Perfetti scores his 1st NHL goal

Expected arrival in the NHL: This season

2. City HeinolaD

How was it acquired: Drafted 20th overall in 2019
Last season: Winnipeg (NHL): 12 GMs, 0-5-5; Manitoba (AHL): 41 GM, 5-21-26

The 21-year-old defender already has four professional seasons behind the tie, including three in North America. Heinola (5-11, 178) impressed three times at the World Junior Hockey Championship, earning him a tournament all-star appearance in 2021.

« I have high expectations for Ville, » Hillier said. His hockey sense is his best asset. He has a lot of talent. He can probably run the power play one day. In today’s hockey, what matters most is getting back in the zone to get the puck and carry it forward, and that’s what he does really well. He is very good at avoiding pressure and making a good first pass. »

Expected arrival in the NHL: This season

3. Chaz LuciusHAS

How was it acquired: Drafted 18th overall in 2021
Last season: Minnesota (NCAA): 24 GMs, 9-10-19

Lucius (6-1, 185) has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons, including an ankle injury in February that required surgery and ended his rookie season at the University of Minnesota .

The 19-year-old forward has plenty of options next season, having signed a rookie contract with the Jets and won’t be returning to Minnesota. The WHL’s Portland Winterhawks have his rights at the junior level, but he could also choose to play in the American Hockey League if he can’t earn a spot with the Jets.

« Because of injuries, he hasn’t had a lot of time in the last two years to train in the weight room, and that’s something he can work on, » Hillier said. He already has the instincts, the skills and all the necessary.

“He will be at training camp. If they think he’s ready to play pro, he’ll play pro. It’s important for him to play several games, to get many critical minutes in offensive situations where he is on one of the first lines and on the power play. His training camp will tell us where he will be ready to play. »

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2024-25

4. Rutger McGroarty, A

How was it acquired: Drafted 14th overall in 2022
Last season: USA-U18 (NTDP): 25 MJ, 15-18-33

McGroarty (6-1, 200) is the first player from Nebraska State to earn a spot in USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He was named the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game Most Valuable Player and impressed the Jets during the interview process.

« He doesn’t leave his place on the ice and it’s the same when he answers questions, » said Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. “As an organization, it’s exciting to draft a player who has such qualities. »

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2024-25

5. Dylan SambergD

How was it acquired: Drafted 43rd overall in 2017
Last season: Winnipeg (NHL): 15 MJ, 0-5-5; Manitoba (AHL): 32 MJ, 0-12-12

Samberg has the size (6-3, 190), the striking power and the stamina that all NHL GMs dream of for a defenseman. His skills are more suited to a simple, straightforward style of play, but the 23-year-old American is part of a deep defensive prospect pool for the Jets.

« When he played last year, he was very confident, and maybe even looked better in a Jets uniform than the Moose, which is interesting, » Hillier said. There are players who are ahead of him, and everything will be in order during training camp. »

Expected arrival in the NHL: 2023-24

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