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What to Expect: Kristian Vesalainen

Will going back to Finland yield the Jets another good forward?

2017 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

When the Winnipeg Jets’ staff walked up to the podium, safe to say I didn’t expect to hear the name that I heard. It’s going to take me seven years before I learn how to spell his name. The man, the myth, future Winnipeg Jets legend, Kristian Vesalainen. What are we getting in Mr. Vaseline Man?

As the MVP of the 2016 U18 World Championship tournament, there is obviously an amount of excitement in adding another high potential forward. He joins other MVPs Auston Matthews, Clayton Keller, and Connor McDavid. Pretty solid company to be in. While these are the players he shares an award with, he compares himself to another player that NHL fans know well: Rick Nash.

He’s a quick player, so he definitely fits in the mix with the young forward core being built, with a good amount of size on top of that. He’s being described as a longer term project, which isn’t exactly a problem when you take a look at the insane amount of winger depth the Jets have. This also bodes well for the Jets as he is currently playing in Europe, where the competition is solid and young players regularly play in the top leagues.

He’s been ranked in the top 10 of a few prospect rankings, so he’s definitely a fantastic value pick. Real top six potential, even if it takes a little longer. Our pals at Pension Plan Puppets made a nice comparison, describing his situation to that of Toronto’s Kasperi Kapanen, who has done pretty well over there.

While many of us were hoping for a defenseman, including yours truly, I can’t complain with GM Kevin Chevaldayoff taking a complete gift left by everyone else. He has had a pretty good track record with gift picks (Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine). While the Jets do have a need for a defenceman: draft the best player available and trade to fill the needs on the NHL roster.