With the 2022 NHL Entry Draft come and gone, the Winnipeg Jets added quite a few names to their prospect pool. Where do some of these new names rank into the pool the Jets already had? Spinorama Hockey
joins me in today's piece, to start off our countdown, ranking all 33 Jets prospects.
A huge thank you goes out to Spinorama Hockey, and collaborations like this are always fun, so make sure to leave some support on their Twitter account.
Another side note, before we get started, as many of you know, this is my first off-season covering the Jets. Pieces like this, and others you have seen so far, I would like to make annual traditions. That being said, if you have more ideas to add to the list for off-season traditions, make sure to leave that down below in the comment section.
Alright. Back to our rankings.
Let's start off with how we determine who a prospect is. We kept it simple, and based our players off of the NHL's Calder eligibility criteria. For those of you who aren't familiar, to be Calder-eligible, a player must:
-Be 25 years or younger on September 15, 2022
-Have no more than 25 games played in a single NHL season
-Have no more than 6 games played in each of the prior two NHL seasons ('20-'21, '21-'22)
Now that that is cleared up, let's start with the countdown. Today we will be counting 33-21, tomorrow will be 20-11, and the following day will be the top 10.
#33 - Alex Limoges, 24, C/LW
Alex Limoges, who was recently signed as a UFA by the Jets organization, has spent each of the past two seasons with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL after aging out of the NCAA. While putting up decent numbers over that span (34G, 27A, 61P in 85GP), Limoges may have a shot at cracking the NHL lineup to fill in with injuries, but that is about it.
While providing some solid AHL depth, and still some room to grow in his game, Limoges was the Captain of Penn State in the NCAA, and ranks 3rd all time in points for the team (125). San Diego Gulls fans certainly appreciated Limoges' time, and he even earned an AHL Player of the Week award after scoring his first hat-trick. Limoges uses his size well, and can get into the right spot to tally some points. This is one I could see us being wrong about, but for now, we have Limoges ranked 33.
#32 - Austin Wong, 21, C/RW
Austin Wong, drafted in the 7th round by the Jets back in 2018, has had an interesting career path so far. While playing in the AJHL, Wong was able to score lots of points, while also racking up lots of penalty minutes. He opted to go to Harvard in the NCAA, managing to only score 14 points in 53 games across 2 seasons. He spent a year in the middle in the USHL, where his production jumped a bit to 24 points in 49 games, but it doesn't seem like the offense is quite there to translate to the NHL.
Wong is the definition of a true power forward. Sure, not even close to the same level, but he plays a Tom Wilson kind of game. If he can figure out some of the production, he just may be able to have a shot at the NHL some day, carried by his desire to make an impact on this ice, as well as his skating ability. Nothing really stands out with his game, but the Jets can be very patient with him, and see if anything starts to shine through.
#31 - Logan Neaton, 23, G
Logan Neaton, former 5th round pick by the Jets, is a 6'4 goalie. That in itself says there is a chance. While playing for Miami Univ. and UMass-Lowell in the NCAA, Neaton hasn't been able to collect many starts. With only 13GP over the past 3 seasons, playing behind Ludvig Persson and Henry Welsch, he hasn't been able to get much going.
Neaton's numbers in the NCAA aren't very good, but with such few games played over his 3 seasons, it's hard to blame the guy. We heard this with Dave Rittich's Jets conference, and most goalies agree. If you aren't playing, you lose your mo-jo. Goalies string together games with confidence, and when you are playing such little time, you can't get a rhythm going. I don't expect Neaton to play in the NHL, he may get some time between the ECHL and AHL, and the Jets will analyze from there.
#30 - Fabian Wagner, 18, RW
One of the most recent draft picks by the Jets, selected in the 6th round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Fabian Wagner, played in the J20 Nationall in Sweden, and registered 38 points in 43 games. Wagnar is a great transitional winger, and with a lot of patience and playmaking abilities, he can be dangerous with the puck. His defensive game needs some help, but he makes up for it at the other end of the ice.
Wagner ranked so low isn't a knock on his game. Once we see him against some stronger competition, our mindset may change, as he does have a lot of the skills needed to be a successful hockey player. His game isn't super exciting to watch, and he isn't a dynamic player, but he does a lot of the little things right. There is definitely a chance he can be effective in the NHL in a bottom-six role, and maybe even join the second powerplay unit. At only 18, there are a lot of things that Wagner can do to round out his game, and develop into a nice 6th round pick-up for the Jets.
#29 - Tyrel Bauer, 20, RD
Another 6th round draft pick is up next, but this time, with Tyrel Bauer, we are talking about a complete opposite player. Bauer, who has been captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, is a pure shut-down defenseman. Standing at 6'3", he makes for a great option on the right side, providing lots of physicality, some smart decision-making, and though he is a pure shut-down defenseman, he does have the potential to give some offensive output.
Whether you look at his (extremely powerful) shot from the point, his ability to hold the blue line, or just make the smart dump-in play, Bauer can provide support from the blue line. It's hard to rank defensive-defensemen, but Bauer's game is certainly one that could transition to the NHL at some point, with some patience from the Jets organization. I expect Bauer to return to the WHL with the Jets and Moose defense being so plugged up right now, but I would be excited to watch Bauer in Manitoba once there is room.
#28 - Harrison Blaisdell, 21, C
Harrison Blaisdell, former Jets 5th round pick, has played 3 seasons in a very limited role in the NCAA. Univ. of North Dakota for two seasons, where the center depth was plugged up with Jordan Kawaguchi, Shane Pinto, and many others fighting for a center position, and Univ. of New Hampshire, where he had a better opportunity for a spot. Blaisdell didn't post very good numbers in the NCAA, but certainly showed off some of his upside.
Blaisdell is able to get into some smart positions, and use his offensive instincts to create opportunities. He has a great shot, despite not being able to find the back of the net very often, and could certainly cement himself as a two-way, bottom-six player with a touch of offensive upside if he keeps working hard at it.
#27 - Domenic DiVincentiis, 18, G
Domenic DiVincentiis, another 2022 selection by the Jets in the 7th round, may be a pretty good selection. DiVincentiis registered a .907 save percentage, and a 2.59 GAA (1st among OHL rookie goaltenders). His numbers stack up very well against fellow OHL draft-eligible goaltenders, finishing 1st in GAA, and 3rd in save percentage.
With some work on rebound control, and getting back into position, DiVincentiis may pan out to be a pretty good goaltender. With great positioning, knowing where he is in his net, and great athleticism, he was certainly worth spending a 7th round pick on.
#26 - Garrett Brown, 18, RD
Garrett Brown, yet another 2022 draft pick, is an offensive-minded, 6'2" right handed defenseman. Now, the points don't really show a lot of the offensive defenseman traits, but when watching Brown play, you can tell he is comfortable moving the puck, and quite good at it, too. He certainly has the two-way mentality, and has been seen trying to make the right defensive plays. The effort is 100% there, it's just a matter of seeing the ice better and making the right judgement calls. Brown has some potential to be a great bottom-four two-way defender.
#25 - Oskari Salminen, 22, G
Oskari Salminen looks to be a really good goalie prospect. I think this is a little low for him to be ranked, but in this middle-of-the-pack section, it starts to get tough. Salminen had a fantastic season in Finland, playing in the Liiga league, registering a .920 save percentage and a 2.07 GAA across 55 games with Jukurit. The reason I am hesitant to bump him up is that this is a bit of an outlier in his career. Next season, if he replicates anything close to this season, he will be much higher,
At 6'5", any goalie is already off to a good start. He is a very athletic goaltender, and uses his size very well while watching him, he looks like he can move like any 6'0" goalie. He is showing that he is a bit of a late bloomer, as again, he hasn't posted numbers quite like this before. I expect of all of the rankings, this will age the worst.
#24 - Simon Lundmark, 21, RD
Simon Lundmark, coming off of his rookie season in the AHL with Manitoba, had a pretty good season at the bottom of the lineup. He is a great transitional defenseman, and usually found making the play out of the defensive zone. His skating is pretty good, despite the speed not being there. His vision on the ice counter-balances the speed, as he can find a seam through some pretty crowded areas. On top of that, his decision making with the puck is great. He knows he can find a lot of open lanes, but will always look for the best option, rather than just going for the risky one.
He does have some work to do in developing his defensive game, but Lundmark could make for a great PK specialist and bottom-four player in the NHL.
#23 - Jared Moe, 23, G
Jared Moe is looking like a pretty good 6th round pick, from 2018. After two seasons as the backup for Univ. of Minnesota, he finally took the reins as the starter. With 31GP, Moe registered a .917 save percentage, and a 2.97 GAA. The Big 10 is a tough division in the NCAA, especially for a goalie. At 6'3", his size is certainly on his side, and he is able to use it well.
Moe can get around the crease quite quickly, but has to work on some rebound control. This season in the NCAA was a big step forward for the Minnesota-native, and if he can continue his development the way it has been, he could certainly find his way into the NHL some day.
#22 - Wyatt Bongiovanni, 23, C
Wyatt Bongiovanni was signed out of the NCAA as a free agent as the Captain of Quinnipac Univ. One of the most glaring things with Bongiovanni, was that his past few seasons have been very consistent. Over his past 4 full seasons, taking out the '20-'21 season where he went down with a shoulder injury, he has scored between 14 and 17 goals each year, the first being in the USHL.
Bongiovanni can do just that. Score goals. This was a great pickup by the Jets, and he can certainly be a valuable, high offensive upside, and 2nd powerplay unit player in the bottom-six.
#21 - Danny Zhilkin, 18, C
Danny Zhilkin is a fantastic option for ossensive output. The Russian-Canadian player has a knack for getting lots of opportunities playing off of his high end skating and shooting, as well as the playmaking. Many point to all of the plays and say that they aren't high danger chances, but there are so many good chances developed off rushes started with Zhilkin.
Starting from his own zone, the transitions are a great part of Zhilkin's game, and he starts so many scoring chances. The fall-off for Zhilkin is his defensive game. It's not terrible, but certainly needs some development. I think that Zhilkin certainly has a good shot at making the NHL as a middle-six scoring winger. I don't know how well playing center will translate to the NHL but I certainly believe there is potential with Zhilkin.
Be ready for part 2!
and I are very appreciative for you taking the time to read, and we look forward to getting into some of the higher rated prospects! Let us know what you think we got right, and what we got wrong so far. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
Look out for part two tomorrow, where we count down from #20-11!