Welcome back for the second part of the Jets Prospect Ranking series. Make sure to check out part one before reading this
Joining me with the prospect ranking is Spinorama Hockey
, so a huge thank you goes out to them, and make sure you leave them a follow on Twitter, and give their account some support!
Before we get into the second part of our rankings, here is what we have so far from part one
33: Alex Limoges, 24, C/LW
32: Austin Wong, 21, C/RW
31: Logan Neaton, 23, G
30: Fabian Wagner, 18, RW
29: Tyrel Bauer, 20, RD
28: Harrison Blaisdell, 21, C
27: Domenic DiVincentiis, 18, G
26: Garrett Brown, 18, RD
25: Oskari Salminen, 22, G
24: Simon Lundmark, 21, RD
23: Jared Moe, 23, G
22: Wyatt Bongiovanni, 23, C
21: Danny Zhilkin, 18, C
#20 - Henri Nikkanen, 21, C
Henri Nikkanen kicks off the Top-20 Jets prospects, as the former 2019 4th round selection has taken some of the right steps in his development as a middle-six, playmaking center. Standing at 6'4", he is a big center, and shows off his ability to use his size to his advantage. He likes to do his best work in the dirty areas on the ice, which is something the current Jets lineup needs some more of.
Nikkanen doesn't have the best offensive numbers, but at just 21, and the skills he has, time in the AHL may prove to be very beneficial to his development. I am excited to watch Nikkanen in Manitoba this season, after an underwhelming year in the Liiga with only 12 points in 60 games. Nikkanen could be the next coming of Adam Lowry, which there is only room for one on the roster.
#19 - Arvid Holm, 23, G
After being selected in the 6th round in 2017, Holm spent most of his time in the SweHL posting above .906 in all three seasons, including two seasons with a .914. Once transitioning to the AHL, his stats dropped, but he still managed to hang onto a winning record.
Holm, another very large goaltender in the Jets pipeline, stands at 6'5". Holm has great positioning, and seems very comfortable playing an aggressive style, which is great news to hear about a large goaltender.
#18 - Anton Johannesson, 20, LD
Anton Johannesson is the type of player who screams boom or bust, which is not a bad thing, considering he was only a 5th round pick in 2020. The 5'9" defenseman has been spending his developmental years in Sweden so far, and is expected to jump the the AHL-equivalent HockeyEttan below the SweHL next season. After registering 18 points in 26 games in the J20 Nationell, there are certainly many signs of Johannesson being a productive, undersized offensive-defenseman.
It will be interesting to watch Johannesson in a men's league, and face some bigger and stronger opposition. He is an extremely agile defenseman, with more mobility than most prospects. Though undersized, and offensive-minded, Johannesson is still quite responsible defensively. His skating is his best friend, as he can defend most 1-on-1 situations, but when out-numbered, that is when his flaws are more obvious.
#17 - Daniel Torgersson, 20, LW/RW
The Jets 2020 2nd round pick, Daniel Torgersson, is a pretty big winger, standing at 6'3", but has really good movement for such size. He reads the ice really well, and is able to make a lot of plays to get him, or a teammate open for a shot. Torgersson has a pretty good shot, but just as good at opening lanes for the smart pass.
Togersson plays a lot of cycle-style hockey. He likes to hold the puck down low, and can create room for himself out front. He is great in front of the net, and in the corners. With such a well-rounded game, I have no problem projecting Torgersson as a middle-six winger as long as everything keeps on its path. His offense could come into a better role while playing against older competition, but his general two-way game is good enough already. His size, and play style is intimidating for any opponent.
#16 - Dmitri Kuzmin, 19, LD
Dmitri Kuzmin, a Belarussian defender, was a 3rd round selection by the Jets in the 2021 draft. He registered 44 points in 57 games with the Flint Firebirds of the OHL in his first North American season. At 5'10", he isn't as fast as some would think. He doesn't have the best defensive judgement to make up for that either, but his defending is still pretty good. His positioning always seems to be spot on.
When I say Kuzmin isn't fast, he may fool you. His acceleration is incredible, and his skating isn't anything to shy away from either. It is just his top-end speed that isn't ideal. Kuzmin is one of the most creative-minded defenseman I have seen in a while, and if you don't believe me, when is the last time you saw a defenseman to score a lacrosse-style goal?
Kuzmin could certainly prove us wrong and show he belongs higher on this list, but once we see another season in the OHL and then eventually jump to the AHL, we will have a better idea of what we have here.
#15 - Elias Salomonsson, 17, RD
With the 2nd round pick that the Winnipeg Jets got from the New York Rangers in the Andrew Copp trade, they selected Elias Salomonsson. Salomonsson, the 6'1", Swedish offensive-defenseman, comes with all of the offensive skills you need in a defenseman. It all starts with his skating, which is really good for a 17 year old of this size, topped off by his great decision-making when it comes to both shooting, and passing. His shot is very smart, and he is great at getting pucks on net, but his playmaking ability is what really stands out. I see a lot of Neal Pionk in Salomonsson, which would be quite a good pick.
Again, at only 17, there is a lot of time to work with Salomonsson. His defensive capabilities are what needs the most development, and the reason he wasn't drafted much higher than he was. If he can put together some smarter decision-making, on top of some positioning work, he could pan out to be a really...really good top-four defenseman. His defensive game is so far behind that it is still a risk for his development. I will be really excited for Salomonsson and to see how his game develops.
#14 - Kristian Reichel, 24, C
It is a bit odd to see a 24 year old this high on prospect rankings, but Reichel has some really good potential to be a defensive-minded bottom-six player. That doesn't sound too exciting, but it is an important piece of any team. He is quite well-rounded, and isn't going to score a ton, but he will make an impact each time he steps on the ice.
The undrafted forward earned himself a deal after being in the Czech leagues for a while, and transitioned to the WHL, where his offensive game was shown off a bit better. He hsa okay numbers in the AHL with Manitoba, but again, it's his full, well-rounded game that gets him up this high. I think there is certainly a role-playing NHL player here.
#13 - Mikail Berdin, 24, G
Mikhail Berdin, a 2016, 6th round pick, has had some up-and-down years in the AHL, where his "up" years were very very good, and his "down" years, weren't even that bad. Over 4 years, Berdin has accumulated a record of 64-50-11 in the AHL, with a .908 save percentage and a 2.67 GAA.
He is a very athletic goaltender, who is currently at the top of the list to get a call up to the NHL. It is not unreasonable to think that Berdin could make the NHL as a capable backup after Dave Rittich's contract is over, and once he hits the NHL, anything can happen. Confidence goes a long way with a goalie, and if Berdin gets a rhythm going, who knows, he very well could be a part of a successful tandem.
#12 - Leon Gawanke, 23, RD
Leon Gawanke, who was just signed to a 1 year contract yesterday. The former 5th round pick has made quite a name for himself in the organization, and with his great abilities at both ends of the ice, Gawanke may pan out to be a very good two-way defenseman. Coming off a campaign seeing him register 36 points in 65 AHL games, the offense is certainly finding a way to keep him in the news, but again, the defense is there too.
With such a plugged up pipeline of defenseman, I am not sure when Gawanke gets his shot in the NHL, which is something I will be saying a lot over the next few prospects in the top-11. Gawanke certainly deserves a shot, and I think the Jets know that, and they have a few players knocking on the door to play in the NHL. I think Gawanke could pan out as a good second pairing defenseman in another year or two.
#11 - Declan Chisholm, 21, LD
A lot of what I said about Gawanke can be reciprocated for Chisholm. The two-way game, providing both offense and defense at the AHL level has him knocking on the door for a shot in the NHL. He was dressed for the final two games of the season for Winnipeg, and looked quite steady and looked deserving of a permanent home. I doubt he starts the year in the NHL, but he will be among the first of the call-ups.
Similar to Gawanke as well, I expect Chisholm to pan out as a second-pairing defenseman. His offense will be a great asset, and I could see him earning a spot on the second powerplay unit, too.
Come back tomorrow for part 3!
Tomorrow is part 3 of the series, where we countdown the top 10 Winnipeg Jets prospects for 2022. Again, make sure to leave some support on Spinorama Hockey's page. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and how about we try and see if any of you can guess the right order for the top 10!