WINNIPEG - Jacob Julien arrived in Winnipeg this week for Jets development camp still feeling the effects of losing in the Memorial Cup Final at the end of May. Julien and the London Knights fell to the host Saginaw Spirit 4-3 with the host team scoring the winning goal with just 22 seconds left in the third period.

“We had a good team, unfortunate with the outcome but it’s definitely a learning experience,” said Julien.

“You are not put in that situation too many times, a lot of pressure on you. You just have to battle with it and do your best.”

The 19-year-old put up 18 points (9G 9A) in 18 OHL playoff games and added three more points (3A) in four games at the Memorial Cup.

“I think I did good. First time experience. Kind of leaning on the older guys a little bit,” said Julien.

“(Goaltender) Mike Simpson was there. Year before they beat us out (when Simpson was with Peterborough who went on to go to 2023 Memorial Cup tournament), just kind of leaned on him, asked a lot of questions to just kind of see how things are going.”

The London, Ontario native was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2023 NHL Draft. Julien made a significant jump in his first full year in the Ontario Hockey League with 78 points in 67 games. Jets development coaches Jimmy Roy and Mike Keane spent a lot of time this season helping Julien improve his game in person and over the phone.

“Obviously they are great development guys, they helped me a lot whether it’s just simple things like winning 50/50 puck battles or getting your feet moving a little bit more,” said Julien.

“They really helped me especially with my self-evaluation. They guided me through that.”

Roy told a story recently that during the second round of the 2024 OHL playoffs, Julien scored seven goals in three games including back-to-back hat tricks against Kitchener. During the evaluation after the second hat trick, Roy said that Julien didn’t even mention the goal scoring tear that he was on.

“Throughout the season I didn’t really touch on points because that’s not exactly my main focus, right? You want to win the game, that’s the end goal, right?” said Julien.

“Kind of have to play good and then whatever you do wrong you have to realize what you did and fix that for the next game.”

As Julien continues to work on his game, face-offs will be a primary focus during the off-season. Knights coach Dale Hunter relied on him a lot last season to win important draws.

“Obviously there are many components to it, you have to break it down to make it as simple as possible,” said Julien.

“You just have to go in as hard as possible and get that puck back.”

With this being his second development camp, Julien said he has more confidence this time around. He added he kept in touch with fellow prospect Connor Levis throughout this past season, a friendship that began last summer.

“We talked all the time throughout the season, just to see how each other were doing,” said Julien.

“Kind of just started talking last season and hanging out a little bit more and ended up becoming friends.”

Levis played his final season in the WHL last season with the Kamloops Blazers before being traded to the Vancouver Giants.

“We just like to spend a lot of time hanging out. We’ve become really close friends. We’ve been pretty much hanging out the whole time here,” said Levis.

“It’s always nice to be pretty close with some guys. We kept in contact all year; it was really exciting to see him have so much success on that London team. Jules is a great guy."