clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Recap: Winnipeg Jets 2017 NHL Draft

The Winnipeg Jets went big, went old, and went with defence.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Winnipeg Jets 2017 NHL Entry Draft showed two patterns emerge: defencemen above all and age does not matter. The Jets took three defencemen and three overagers in the draft.

First Round: The Winnipeg Jets took talented Finnish winger Kristian Vesalainen. While Vesalainen was not the defenceman many fans had hoped for his talent and scoring ability were too immense for the Jets to pass on. They will not regret drafting Vesalainen, even if they do end up using him to acquire a player that fills a hole on the team.

Second Round: This is where the Jets started playing their own tune a bit by selecting USHS player Dylan Samberg. Samberg has high potential, but needs to work on his puck skills to make it to the next level. While this is not a bad pick, they could have possibly gotten more value from another pick. That said, he is going to the NCAA and will have more time to develop his game.

Third Round: The first overage player of the Jets draft goes to Johnathan Kovacevic. Kovacevic who recently completed his freshman season with Merrimack College. He was a hair above 0.5 points per game this past season, so there is potential there. He Should play at least two more seasons of NCAA hockey before deciding to go professional. I am uncertain if his rights can leave the Jets by the time he graduates in three years.

Fourth Round: In one of their smartest moves, the Jets drafted Finn Santeri Virtanen, who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. Prior to that injury he was a high scoring player. As long as he is properly recovered, there is no reason as to why this does not become a great value pick in the future.

Fifth Round: The Jets went with defence yet again when they drafted Leon Gawanke of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Gawanke, a German, showed potential in his first season in North America and it will be interesting to see how he grows as he adjusts to the play on this side of the Atlantic. He is an offensive defenceman who needs to refine his game on the defensive side of the puck. This is infinitely better than the opposite being said about a player.

Sixth Round: The Jets decided to use a late round pick on a goalie and went with Arvid Holm on the recommendation of Manitoba Moose goalie coach Rick St. Croix. Holm seems to be a big goalie and has access to coaching in his native Sweden, so it is likely he will stay there for at least a couple years before moving to North America.

Seventh Round: The Jets went with two overaged players in the seventh round by drafting Skyler McKenzie and Croix Evingson. Both players are intriguing players who grew a lot this season. McKenzie more than tripled his goal output while playing a feisty brand of hockey for the Portland Winterhawks. Evingson did not show potential as an offensive defenceman until this past season when he was a second year player in the NAHL. He is rough around the edges defensively, but if the offensive side of his game keeps pace while the defensive side of his game continues to develop, there could be something there.