Welcome to the final part of the Winnipeg Jets Prospect Rankings! In case you missed them, make sure to check out part one
before we get underway.
A final thank you goes out to Spinorama Hockey
for joining me, and collaborating on this prospect rankings. As always, make sure to give them a follow on Twitter, and give some support to the account!
A quick reminder, eligibility for this list is based off Calder eligibility in the NHL. Requirements for that are:
-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)
Let’s recap ranks 33-11
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: Henry Nikkanen, 21, C
19: Arvid Holm, 23, G
18: Anton Johannesson, 20, LD
17: Daniel Torgersson, 20, LW/RW
16: Dmitri Kuzmin, 19, LD
15: Elias Salomonsson, 17, RD
14: Kristian Reichel, 24, C
13: Mikhail Berdin, 24, G
12: Leon Gawanke, 23, RD
11: Declan Chisholm, 21, LD
#10 - Jonathan Kovacevic, 25, RD
Jonathan Kovacevic is one of the oldest players on this list. Does that give him an advantage? A disadvantage? Well, neither. The 2017 3rd round selection, who stands at 6’5”, played for quite a while in the NCAA with Merrimack College, and offensively, was incredibly consistent. In his 3 seasons, he put up 19, 17 and then 18 points, with all seasons between 31 and 36GP. Once he transitioned to the AHL, he was a bit slower to start getting the point totals, but this past season Kovacevic registered 30 points in 62 games.
On the defensive side, he is quite close to what you would expect. This biggest part of his game is his physicality around the net and in the corners. He has pretty good defensive positioning, and can be a part of the transition from all of the turnovers he causes. The late-bloomer, Kovacevic, can turn out to be quite the valuable piece to the Jets. With him having to pass waivers to play in the AHL, I would expect Kovacevic to start as the 7th defender, and make his way into the lineup.
#9 - Dmitri Rashevsky, 21, RW
Dmitri Rashevsky is coming off of a monster year in the KHL. After being selected in the 5th round in 2021, his first season after saw him joining Dynamo Moskva. Young players don’t usually do too well this fresh out of the draft, but Rashevsky took a massive jump. Registering 35 points in 48 games as a KHL rookie was quite the season. Rashevsky is a high-energy winger who is great at making things happen. His playmaking abilities, backed by his skating skills, there is true top-six potential for Rashevsky.
35 points was good enough for 23rd in league scoring, and 1st among skaters 24 and under (tied with Nikita Tertyshyn). Rashevsky will return to the KHL this upcoming season, and look to build off his great year. He plays with so much confidence on the puck, and you can tell he has the urge to win every night. His cat-like reaction time to any play on the ice is very impressive, and his work-ethics are off the charts. I am excited for the day Rashevsky makes his way to North America.
#8 - David Gustafsson, 22, C
David Gustafsson is coming off two back-to-back strong seasons in Manitoba, registering 49 points in his first 69 AHL games. The former 2018 2nd round pick has some great balance, giving him the advantage when trying to be knocked off the puck. I have seen Gustafsson take some pretty heavy-looking hits and he hardly budges. His ability to forecheck hard is something the Jets need in their lineup as soon as possible. Gustafsson can shoot the puck very well, especially in close-quarter action near the crease. Truthfully, that is where Gustafsson can do most of his best work, whether it be clearing in front of the net, acting as a screen, tipping the puck in, getting the rebound, or just making the right move to put the puck in.
The skating aspect isn’t as attractive, but it seems effective enough not to worry about. His two-way abilities are very impressive. He is definitely somebody who can play at the net on the powerplay, and be just as effective on the penalty kill. Gustafsson is very smart, and can read an upcoming play long before it happens. He creates lots of turnovers, and makes the smart play. I expect him to end up as an effective middle-six, well-rounded center, and will likely have a position waiting for him come the start of this season.
#7 - Dylan Samberg, 23, LD
Dylan Samberg is one of the best defensive prospects that Winnipeg has. I strongly believe the 2017 2nd rounder is NHL ready, and will be awaiting a spot in the NHL this season. He managed to fill in for 15 games last season, notching 5 assists. He was physical, he was smart offensively, and was good enough defensively. Sure, he still has some adjusting to do at the NHL level, as any prospect does after 15 games, but he looked very good in the big club. At 6’4”, Samberg can move around the ice pretty well. He is most effective in front of his own net, and can provide some really smart decisions in the transition. Samberg is so good in the defensive zone, has great positioning, and is really going to be valuable when he makes the NHL.
I like what Logan Stanley can bring to the table, but Dylan Samberg does everything we all wish Stanley would do. Samberg uses his size incredibly well, and I think that there is so much potential for Samberg to be a really good top-four two-way defender.
#6 - Nikita Chibrikov, 19, LW/RW
The Jets 2021 2nd round pick, Nikita Chibrikov, uses speed and his talents to make magic happen on the ice. Chibrikov excels in the offensive part of the game, and knows exactly what he is doing. If Chibrikov doesn’t know what he is going to do, it doesn’t matter. His ability to create offense from anything is magnificent. He is very elusive, and can carry the puck up the ice through anything. He doesn’t have the speed or skill as Connor McDavid, but sometimes watching Chibrikov feels like you’re watching a McDavid clip. He can walk through any of the opponents, and finish the plays he starts.
In 28 VHL games in Russia, Chibrikov scored 15 goals and 16 assists. A 19 year old over a point-per-game in Russian men’s leagues is very good. Chibrikov is expected to jump to the MHL, or even the KHL next season. Chibrikov is an all-offense winger, and won’t provide you much defense, but his strong forecheck, topped off by his offense, Chibrikov certainly has an NHL future, and I would expect him to pan out to be at least a 2nd line forward.
#5 - Ville Heinola, 21, LD
Ville Heinola was the Jets 2019 1st round pick, and has developed very nicely since. Heinola is a pure offensive defenseman, and is really smart with the puck. Heinola has great acceleration, and that helps a lot on his transition game. He is great at finding the seams for the pass, but is also smart enough to not just throw the puck into a crowd. He is an elusive skater, but isn’t necessarily very fast. His lack of size results in him lacking strength, which shows up in the defensive zone, but the best part about Heinola’s game is that he is good at keeping the puck out of the defensive zone.
Heinola is smart defensively, but lacks some of the skills to be a super effective player in his own zone. His positioning and ability to read the play are good, and again, the transitions are one of his strong suits. As I mentioned with Gawanke, Chisholm, Kovacevic, Samberg, there is a huge plug up in the pipeline. The Jets are running out of places for players to play, and most of these players, if not all, are ready for the NHL. I think Samberg will be joined by Heinola as the two main go-to guys for the left side, depending on who goes down.
#4 - Brad Lambert, 18, C/RW
I want to start this off by saying there is a very good chance you could convince me that Brad Lambert should be 2nd, or even 1st on this list. We decided to keep Lambert at 4th due to a few things. The concern about the production in the Liiga is the obvious one, but the work-ethics is another. Sure, this could all change in a few weeks after the start of the season, but as of today, the 2022 30th overall pick is the Jets 4th best prospect.
Brad Lambert has loads of skill. He has the best skating of any Jets prospect, and I would be comfortable saying he is the second best skater outside of the NHL, next to only Antonio Stranges. Through 49 Liiga games split between JYP and the Pelicans, Lambert only managed to tally 10 points. His skills with the puck are another very strong suit. Stickhandling, evasiveness, control, shooting, passing, everything. They are all great parts of Lambert's game. He can beat almost any player in a foot race, or deke around them. The only thing that Lambert has to show us is his consistency. I fully expect the Finnish-Canadian to return with the Pelicans in the Finnish league. The Seattle Thunderbirds do own Lambert’s CHL rights, so that is an option, and maybe a change of scenery could be beneficial, but I think regardless of where Lambert plays, he will have a better season.
#3 - Rutger McGroarty, 18, RW
Rutger McGroarty has the potential to be an incredibly high-end scoring forward. McGroarty has the ability to be an elite playmaker, or goal scorer. His confidence in his shot is well deserved, as it is a very high-end skill. McGroarty gets into the high-danger slot positions, and knows exactly how to use his shot the most effective way possible. McGroarty can be an extremely good top-six forward on the Jets, and if he gets the chance to line up with either of Connor or Ehlers, and even Cole Perfetti, he will be in a great position to succeed. The quickness that comes with McGroarty’s skillset is extremely beneficial on the rush, and transition. He always keeps his feet moving, and his positioning is great. His physical game creates a lot of turnovers, resulting in a lot of offensive zone opportunities.
McGroarty seems to be a bit underrated by a large part of the fan-base, but after watching lots of clips since the draft, I believe McGroarty was the best pick the Jets could have made. The very good two-way game will be a great asset to the Jets top-six, and as a power-forward, he can replace Blake Wheeler pretty well in the lineup when the time comes.
#2 - Chaz Lucius, 19, C
Chaz Lucius was selected 21st overall in the 2021 draft by the Jets, and has looked very good since being selected. Lucius will be a high-scoring top-six player. He has been compared to Elias Lindholm since the day he was drafted, and that still looks like a pretty good comparison. Lucius has all of the offensive skills needed to be successful. He can read the ice so well, and create so much offense. He can score a lot of goals, and now that he is joining the Jets organization, he will be playing at the top of the lineup in the AHL, and likely to get some time in the NHL at some point.
Lucius’s forechecking is pretty high-end as well, and he can bring himself into the offensive zone, and create so many chances for everybody on the ice. Lucius makes everybody around him better. Lucius doesn’t have great skating skills, but what he can do with his hands makes up for it. All of the offensive skills come naturally for Lucius, which gives him a great opportunity to work on his defensive game, but even without it, Lucius will be a great asset for the Jets for a long time.
#1 - Cole Perfetti, 20, C/LW
Cole Perfetti shouldn’t be on this list, as he was expected to be a full-time NHLer last season, but went down with injury. Everything sounds good for Perfetti now, and we are all expecting a big season next year. Perfetti is all but guaranteed a top-six spot, likely beside Connor and Dubois, but could also switch spots with Ehlers and play with Scheifele and Wheeler. Perfetti is going to be a very high-scoring winger in the NHL, and he has a great shot. His decision-making when he is about to make a play is elite, and he can give anybody on the ice a chance to score. Sure, Perfetti is n’t great defensively, but he is certainly serviceable on the back-check.
Perfetti knows the game of hockey very well, and is one of the league’s best prospects. He is such an offensive threat, and Jets fans have so much to be excited about for Perfetti. We got a good taste of him in the NHL, and things were going very well. Perfetti has 49 AHL games, with 41 points, and 18 NHL games and 7 points. He has no issue getting on the scoresheet. He can score goals easily, and use his playmaking skills. He is everything that the Jets fans want. Be excited about these players, folks.
Each positions best prospects
So we have gone through every prospect the Jets have. Now, let's rank them all based on their position. There are some players listed at multiple positions, but for this activity I am going to try and predict where the player is most likely to play.
(Thank you to SensBuzz
for the beautiful graphic.)
What are your thoughts on the Jets Prospect Ranking? Who did we have too high? Too low? Make sure to leave your thoughts down below, and thank you for joining us on this fun activity!
If you would like to see some more collaborations, let either of us know what you would like to see!
One more thank you goes out to Spinorama Hockey
for the work put into this as well!