In this edition of Winnipeg Jets Prospect News, I’ll share how David Gustafsson is doing in Sweden and how Ville Heinola is doing in Finland. Each of these young prospects is playing at “home” in his own country as a way to get some playing time in while the NHL is planning its 2020-21 season.
Item One: David Gustafsson Has Been Injured and Is Out for a Few Games
In a report released this week, 20-year-old Jets prospect David Gustafsson is day-to-day playing with Tingsryds AIF in Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan. The best we can know is that he’s out of action with a minor lower-body injury.
Gustafsson was loaned by the Jets to his hometown Tingsryds AIF in August and plans to return to the Jets for training camp just prior to the 2020-21 NHL season beginning. Last season, he played 22 games with the Jets and scored a goal. With the Jet’s AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose, he scored two goals and five assists (for seven points) in 13 AHL games.
Gustafsson was a second-round draft choice (60th overall) during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He had been playing well during his 16 games with Tingsryds AIF before his injury, and has scored seven goals and 10 assists (for 17 points).
Jets fans are looking forward to Gustafsson growing into a bigger role within the organization.
Item Two: Ville Heinola Will Be Playing with Team Finland in the World Juniors
Just two days ago, it was reported that Ville Heinola was named to Team Finland’s beginning roster for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. That move is no surprise because Heinola has been there two times previously and this would be his third straight year playing in the tournament. Obviously, he’ll have to make the team.
Heinola, the 19-year-old defenseman, was the Jets’ first-round pick (20th overall) during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He’s recently been on loan to Rauman Lukko of the Finnish Liiga and has scored one goal and 13 assists (for 14 points) in 19 Liiga games this season.
After he was drafted, Heinola immediately made the Jets lineup last season and played on opening night for the team. That’s a pretty good showing for the youngster. He played eight games for the Jets (scoring a goal and five points), who sent him to the minors for a few games. Then the Jets moved Heinola to Finland where he completed his season.
Heinola clearly has the skills to play NHL hockey, but he’s also gaining the experience he needs to make the Jets NHL lineup once again and this time stay. He’ll certainly get another chance during the team’s training camp when the NHL begins.
First, he’ll likely be playing for his Team Finland World Juniors squad, which is scheduled to play from Dec. 25-Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
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