In this edition of Winnipeg Jets News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at some of the news – mostly about young Jets’ prospects – that’s emerging from the organization.
Item One: Ville Heinola Doing Well in Finland
The 19-year-old defenseman Ville Heinola has the makings of something good for the Jets. He was chosen by the Jets during the first round (20th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and even was in the lineup last season’s opening night lineup. That was a great sign.
This season, with the Jets obviously not playing games yet, he’s playing with Rauman Lukko of the Finnish Liiga and he’s doing well. So far, he has scored eight assists in 13 games. He should be getting comfortable playing with Rauman Lukko because, although his last season began in Winnipeg, he moved to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for three games and then completed his season with that Finish team.
When the NHL’s 2020-21 training camp begins, Heinola is planning to move back to Winnipeg and will look to make the starting lineup again. He has the makings of a strong defender and will undoubtedly grow stronger and more skilled during the season.
Item Two: Winnipeg Goalie Prospect Mikhail Berdin Is Excelling in the KHL
Although Mikhail Berdin is a native of Russia, this is the first season in a long time he’s played there. In 2016-17, he played with the Sioux Falls Stampede; then he moved to the AHL Manitoba Moose for a couple of seasons; and, he even spent some time in the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. But this season, he’s manning the nets for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL and he’s doing really well.
During his stint with the Moose last season, the 22-year-old goalie had a record of 20-21-1 with a goals-against-average of 2.89 and a save percentage of .910. With St. Petersburg, he’s assumed the role of the team’s number one goalie. In 12 games played for St. Petersburg he’s logged a record of 6-3-2 with a goals-against-average of 2.39 and a save percentage .919.
If Berdin continues his stellar play, he’s likely to spend only one more season in the minors before he comes to the Jets to take his place as the backup job to the Jets’ Vezina Trophy-winning Connor Hellebuyck. Similar to the Jets’ young defensive prospect Heinola, it looks as if Berdin has the potential to be a strong contributor to the Jets’ lineup.
Item Three: The Jets Sign Young Center Cole Perfetti to an Entry-Level Contract
Suddenly the Jets made their first-round (10th overall) draft pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft a millionaire when the organization signed center Cole Perfetti to a three-year, entry-level contract. The Jets feel lucky to have had a chance to draft Perfetti when they did. He was projected to go much higher and it was a surprise to many hockey pundits when he was still on the board when it was Winnipeg’s turn.
The 18-year-old Perfetti, who finished second in OHL scoring with 111 points during the 2019-20 season, signed a contract valued at $1,658,333 over three years. Hockey thinkers expect Perfetti to quickly become a top-six forward when he makes the Jets lineup. The question is: Will that be this upcoming season?
Item Four: Marko Dano Signs a One-Year, Two-Way Contract with the Jets
The Jets organization announced that 25-year-old Austrian forward Marko Dano has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the team. He spent the 2019-20 season between the Columbus Blue Jackets and their AHL-affiliate the Cleveland Monsters. During the AHL season, he scored four goals and 15 assists (19 points) in 46 games.
His contract will pay him the NHL minimum of $700,000. Currently, Dano is playing in Slovakia for HK Dukla Trencin of the Slovak Extraliga.
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