In a season with many stories of the Jets having to overcome obstacles and challenges, the feel-good story of the year was Jansen Harkins. A Manitoba Moose player took advantage of an unexpected opportunity in the Jets line up, and turned it into a player who looks like he’s cemented an NHL role. And a player who inspired Paul Maurice to give one of the most sincere compliments about a player I’ve ever heard from a coach.
“I just want to make sure I’ve got this right so I’m not overexaggerating. I don’t know that I’ve had a player that has been given less opportunity and stayed in the fight and competed as hard as this guy has. Like he had no chance of making our team. He had a good camp, but he’s not a first overall pick so he doesn’t have 10 guys pounding the table for him to be given that chance. So he’s been given nothing here. But what he did was he forced an opportunity. With the Moose, there was no choice but to call him up, and (when) he gets in the lineup and he gets into practice, he works so hard that you just have to play him. So all he does is, no matter what the situation, he just catches your eye.”
For more on Jansen Harkins check out this excellent article from Murat Ates at the Athletic.
Here are his statistics for his first 29 NHL games.
Harkins is everything you want in a bottom six NHL forward – quick, physical, some grit and nice scoring touch (scored the best goal of the playoffs for the Jets this season).
I look forward to watching him develop with the Jets over the next few seasons.