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The Official Site of the Winnipeg Jets

Draft Day Recap

Jets take four defenceman, three forwards and one goaltender

by WinnipegJets.com Staff @NHLJets / WinnipegJets.com
Round Pick Player Amateur Club
1 24 (from VGK) LW KRISTIAN VESALAINEN Frolunda (SHL)
2 43 D DYLAN SAMBERG Hermantown (High-MN)
3 74 D JOHNNY KOVACEVIC Merrimack (NCAA)
4 105 C SANTERI VIRTANEN TPS Jr. (FIN)
5 136 D LEON GAWANKE Cape Breton (QMJHL)
6 167 G ARVID HOLM Karlskrona HK J20 (Sweden)
7 198 LW SKYLER MCKENZIE Portland (WHL)
7 211 (from MTL) D CROIX EVINGSON Shreveport (NAHL)

 

Video: Post-Draft Wrap

 

DAY 2 (ROUNDS 2-7)

 

43RD OVERALL - D DYLAN SAMBERG (HERMANTOWN, HIGH-MN)

Defence
Born Jan 24 1999 -- Hermantown, MN
Height 6.03 -- Weight 190 -- Shoots L

Tweet from @dsamberg26: Extremely honored and excited to have been selected by @NHLJets! Thankful for everyone who helped me! #gojets ������

Samberg, 18, tallied 28 points (10G, 18A) in 25 games with Hermantown High School, as he helped the Hawks win the Minnesota State A Championship. He started the season by racking up 12 points (5G, 7A) in 18 games for Team North in the Minnesota High School Elite League. He also had two points (1G, 1A) in six games with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the regular season and three points (1G, 2A) in eight playoff games.

Samberg is committed to play next season for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.

Video: DRAFT | Samberg Scrum

Video: DRAFT | Samberg one-on-one

 

74TH OVERALL - D JOHNNY KOVACEVIC (MERRIMACK, HOCKEY EAST - NCAA)

Defence
Born Jul 12 1997 -- Grimsby, ONT
Height 6.04 -- Weight 208 -- Shoots R

Kovacevic, 19, had 19 points (3G, 16A) in 36 games as a freshman with Merrimack College last season. The product of Grimsby, Ont. played three years of junior A in the Central Canada Hockey League with the Ottawa Jr. Senators and Hawkesbury Hawks, tallying 55 points (13G, 42A) in 103 games.

Video: DRAFT | Kovacevic scrum

Video: DRAFT | Kovacevic one-on-one

 

105TH OVERALL - C SANTERI VIRTANEN (TPS Jr. - FIN)

Center
Born May 11 1999
Height 6.02 -- Weight 194 -- Shoots L

Virtanen, 18, missed most of the season due to injury, but had six points (2G, 4A) in five games with TPS in the Jr. A SM-Liiga. Along with Jets first round pick Kristian Vesalainen, Virtanen helped Finland win a silver medal at the 2017 U18 World Championship with six points (2G, 4A) in seven games.

Tweet from @santevirtanen: Very excited and honoured to get drafted by the @NHLJets and to be a part of such a great organization! #NHLJets

 

136TH OVERALL - D LEON GAWANKE (CAPE BRETON, OHL)

Defence
Born May 31 1999
Height 6.01 -- Weight 186 -- Shoots R

Gawanke, 18, hails from Berlin, Germany, but suited up in the QMJHL last season for Cape Breton. In 54 games with the Screaming Eagles, he had 32 points (8G, 24A) during the regular season and added four points (1G, 3A) in 11 playoff games. He also had an assist in four games with Germany at the U20 Division 1A World Championship.

 

167TH OVERALL - G ARVID HOLM (KARLSKRONA HK J20, SWE)

Goaltender
Born November 11 1998
Height 6.04 -- Weight 214 -- Catches L

Holm, 18, played in 26 games with Karlskrona HK of the J20 SuperElit League last season, posting a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. He also had a 0.92 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in two games during the relegation round.

 

198TH OVERALL - LW SKYLER MCKENZIE (PORTLAND, WHL)

 

211TH OVERALL - D CROIX EVINGSON (SHREVEPORT, NAHL)

Defence
Born Aug 28 1997 -- Anchorage, AK
Height 6.05 -- Weight 210 -- Shoots L

Evingson, 19, hails from Anchorage, Alaska. He played with the Shreveport Mudbugs last season, tallying 52 points (12G, 40A) in 59 games. His 40 assists and 52 points led all NAHL defenceman. He was named the NAHL's Defenceman of the Year and selected to the NAHL's All-NAHL Team, as well as the All-South Division Team.

 

DAY 1 (ROUND 1)

Video: DRAFT | Behind the Scenes

 

24TH OVERALL - LW KRISTIAN VESALAINEN (FROLUNDA, SHL)

Centre
Born Jun 1 1999
Height 6.03 -- Weight 207 -- Shoots L

Video: Jets draft F Kristian Vesalainen No. 24

Vesalainen, 18, played last season with Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League and J20 SuperElit League. He also suited up for HPK of Liiga in Finland. The product of Helsinki, Finland had six points (1G, 5A) in 26 games with Frolunda in the SHL and four goals in 10 games in the J20 Super Elit League. He helped Frolunda win the 2017 Champions League with three points (1G, 2A) in six games. Vesalainen also had a goal in nine games with HPK in Liiga.

Internationally, Vesalainen won a gold medal with Finland at the 2016 U18 World Championship and a silver medal at the 2017 U18 World Championship, where he had 13 points (6G, 7A) in seven games to lead the tournament in scoring and was selected as the tournament MVP. He also played for Finland at the 2017 World Junior Championship, posting a goal and an assist in six games.

Vesalainen joins Patrik Laine as Finnish players the Jets have selected in the first round of the last two NHL drafts.

Video: DRAFT | Vesalainen Scrum

SCOUTING REPORT

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb:

"He's a big, physical power forward who likes to go straight for the net."

Video: DRAFT | Vesalainen 1-on-1

CSS PROFILE

  • Vesalainen posted 1-5-6 in 26 games with Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17 and helped the club secure their second straight Champions Hockey League title. He also appeared in nine games with HPK, the top professional hockey league in Finland.
  • Vesalainen added 4-0-4 in the regular season (10 GP) and 2-1-3 in the playoffs (5 GP) with Frolunda's junior team in 2016-17.
  • Vesalainen made his Swedish Hockey League debut in 2015-16, appearing in 19 regular-season games and five playoff contests, helping Frolunda capture the league championship. He added 15-19-34 in 37 contests with Frolunda's junior.
  • The 2016-17 season saw Vesalainen represent Finland at the 2017 World Junior Championship (1-1-2 in 6 GP) and the 2017 Under-18 World Championship (6-7-13 in 7 GP), where he was named tournament MVP after leading all skaters in goals and points en route to a silver medal.
  • As part of Finland's silver medal entry at the 2017 Under-18 World Championship, Vesalainen produced at almost a two-point-per-game pace (6-7-13 in 7 GP) to lead the tournament in goals and points. He was awarded Most Valuable Player, Best Forward and was named to the tournament All-Star Team.
  • He helped Finland win gold at the 2016 Under-18 World Championship (2-4-6 in 7 GP) and also represented his country at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (3-4-7 in 5 GP) and the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial (5 GP).
  • Models his style of play after Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin.
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