Top Ten Prospects Vol. 31 – Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets

Welcome back to my top ten prospect series.

This is going to be the final installment of the series as we’ve checked in on every NHL farm system. Yesterday, we went to the nation’s capital and looked at who they’ve got brewing in the minors, finding a list highlighted by Ilya Samsonov, Alexander Alexeyev, and Lucas Johansen. Today, we’re going to close out the series by checking out the Winnipeg Jets’ farm system. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

1. Kristian Vesalainen (LW, 1st Round, 24th Overall in 2017)

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The Jets must have been happy with their Finnish first round pick in 2016 (some guy named Patrik Laine) so they went with another one in 2017. The 6’4 winger started off the season in North America, splitting 13 games between the NHL and the AHL before he was loaned back to his home country where he’s currently playing for Jokerit of the KHL. He has 17 points in 31 games there and will more than likely be in North America full-time next season.

2. Sami Niku (D, 7th Round, 198th Overall in 2015)

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For a seventh round pick, Niku has really done a great job at making a name for himself in the Jets organization. After an incredibly successful rookie AHL season, Niku has split time between the Jets and the moose this season. The left-hander has spent the majority of it in the AHL where he has 12 points in 20 games so far. He’s looking like a steal for the Jets and could become a solid defenseman for them in the future.

3. David Gustafsson (C, 2nd Round, 60th Overall in 2018)

Gustafsson has been described as a hard-working two-way player with ability to chip in at both ends of the rink. He’s currently playing for HV71 of the SHL where he has nine points in 29 games thus far. These totals obviously don’t jump off the table at you, but he’s only 18 years old and will likely spend most of his development overseas.

4. Mason Appleton (C, 6th Round, 168th Overall in 2015)

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Like Niku, Mason Appleton is another late round pick of the Jets from 2015 who’s really done a good job working his way up in the organization. He’s currently splitting time between the Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose. He has 18 points in 19 games with the Moose and 10 points in 36 games with the Jets. So far, he’s looking like he will be a mainstay with the Jets in the future.

5. Logan Stanley (D, 1st Round, 18th Overall in 2016)

The best way to describe Stanley is a tower on skates. The hulking Kitchener native stands at 6’7 and weighs in at 231lbs, making him a force for whoever he’s playing for. He’s currently playing for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and has 10 points in 52 games so far. His development might take another year or two, but Stanley will certainly wear the Jets jersey in the future.

6. Michael Spacek (C, 4th Round, 108th Overall in 2015)

The Jets really killed the 2015 NHL Draft. Spacek is yet another prospect who’s looking like he’s going to be a good one. He’s in his second full pro season and has seen success so far, putting up 33 points in 55 games. The Czech centre could definitely earn himself an NHL job in the future if his development goes smoothly.

7. Eric Comrie (G, 2nd Round, 59th Overall in 2013)

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Comrie has certainly paid his dues in the Jets organization. He’s currently in his fourth season with the Manitoba Moose and experiencing lots of success with a record of 19-15-2, a goals against average of 2.74 and a save percentage of .917. He’s been waiting for a long time to earn a full-time NHL job but with the success of Connor Hellebuyck, he likely won’t see much time as a starter with the Jets unless he blows the team away.

8. Santeri Virtanen (C, 4th Round, 105th Overall in 2017)

Virtanen is currently in his first full pro season in his homeland of Finland. Playing for SaiPa of the SM-Liiga, he currently has 10 points in 39 games. He also represented Team Finland at the World Juniors and put up three points in seven games. His development will likely move forward overseas, but he could very well end up being a solid centre for the Jets in the future.

9. Giovanni Vallati (D, 5th Round, 153rd Overall in 2018)

Vallati has broken out offensively in his third OHL season. After two campaigns with the Kitchener Rangers, the Ottawa native is playing for the Winnipeg Jets this season where he has 42 points in 60 games thus far. He has good size, standing at 6’2 and 198lbs, and will definitely be given a close look once he gets to the pro level.

10. Mikhail Berdin (G, 6th Round, 157th Overall in 2016)

It’s not very often you see an ECHL prospect make the top 10 prospects for his team, but Berdin has recently earned a full-time job with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and he’s making the most of it. In 10 games with the club, Berdin has a record of 5-4-0 with a goals against average of 2.31 and a save percentage of .931. If Eric Comrie finally sees a promotion to the NHL after this season, Berdin will get a good chance to show Jets’ brass what he’s made of.

Thanks for reading. I really hope this series was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write it. Thanks for all of the support.

stats from eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler

Author: Alex Hobson