3 Jets Prospects You Need to Know About

If you’re a fan of the Winnipeg Jets you’ve heard names like Cole Perfetti, Brad Lambert, Dylan Samberg, Ville Heinola and Chaz Lucius – high-profile selections that will definitely be in a Jets uniform sooner or later. But to the Jets’ credit, they do a great job of drafting and developing young players. With the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC this weekend, here are three names that will be on the Jets’ roster you should keep an eye on. They too are likely to be in a Jets uniform someday, it’s just at this point no one knows exactly when.

Daniel Torgersson: 2020 2nd Round – 40th Overall

Daniel Torgersson is big a forward at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. The 20-year-old winger hails from Hoho, Sweden and spent the bulk of last season with AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

In 40 games with AIK, he scored seven goals and added 10 assists. He’s incredibly strong on his skates and after signing an entry-level contract with the Jets in April, dressed for four games with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League (AHL).

The Swede brings a power element to his game both on and off the puck, working hard to keep pace and understanding where to go at both ends of the ice. Torgersson likely won’t be a play driver, but he could be a highly effective power play presence and middle-six two-way forward.

Tony Ferrari,The Hockey News

The Jets’ second-round pick in 2020 has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time and is able to use his size and strength to make something out of nothing. Next season he will likely find himself in the AHL as a member of the Moose where these assets will serve him well.

Danny Zhilkin: 2022 3rd Round – 77th Overall

Danny Zhilkin is an 18-year-old centre who scored 55 points in 65 games for the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season. The 6-foot-2 centre has speed and a scoring touch that warranted his second-round selection in 2022.

Danny Zhilkin, Guelph Storm
Danny Zhilkin, Guelph Storm (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Being drafted behind first-rounders Rutger McGroarty and the highly publicized Brad Lambert, he has flown under the radar this summer. In July, The Hockey News’ Steve Ellis wrote:

“A high-speed forward, Zhilkin is creative with the puck and excels in the transition game. Zhilkin’s hard, accurate wrister makes him tough to contain, although he could use a bit more tenacity to get himself into dangerous scoring areas on a more consistent basis instead of going for a safe shot from farther out… If he can sharpen his overall hockey sense and play-making decisions, he’ll take his game to another level.” 

Related: Jets Replenish Prospect Pool With Balanced Selections at 2022 Entry Draft 

Zhilkin is probably destined to return to the OHL and will be given every opportunity to show off his skills at the Young Stars Classic this weekend. At 18 years old he’s not ready for the NHL but will be a name to keep an eye on for the future.

Tyrel Bauer: 2020 6th Round – 164th Overall

Tyrel Bauer is very intriguing and could turn out to be one of those “diamond in the rough steals” of the 2020 Draft. At 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, this right-hand shot brings size and physicality to the Jets’ defensive depth chart.

Bauer spent the past four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL) leading them to the Western Conference Final last season before eventually losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings. He possesses incredible leadership skills, as he was named an alternate captain in just his second year with the club, then promoted to captain for his final two seasons.

The native of Cochrane, Alberta signed a three-year entry-level contract (ELC) with the Jets in May and is on the Jets’ roster for the Young Stars Classic. After Bauer signed his ELC Thunderbirds’ GM Bill La Forge said, “This is a testament to his work ethic and development since he was drafted (into the WHL). The Jets are signing a special player and person who will represent them as well as he has the Thunderbirds for the past four seasons.”

Bauer currently possesses every attribute the Jets currently lack on their blue line. He has size and is very physical in his own end. He’s a defense-first blueliner who is strong on the puck and makes smart decisions in transition. Plus he’s a right-handed shot which the Jets seriously lack right now. In his four years in the WHL, he scored 12 goals, added 41 assists, amassed 291 penalty minutes and had a plus/minus rating of plus-32. Don’t expect to see him in a Jets uniform for a couple of years, as he will need some seasoning in the minors. However, he is definitely someone you should keep your eye on.

Don’t Expect Them in a Jets Uniform Yet

None of these guys are likely to see the NHL this season. Zhilkin will probably return to the OHL while Bauer and Torgersson will be looking to make their way onto the Moose’s lineup. The great thing for all these guys is that in two seasons the Jets could have major decisions to make that will directly affect their future. A lot of the team’s upper echelon players are set to be unrestricted free agents in 2024 which could potentially open some doors for the prospects. If there is a large exodus of big-name players that summer, the Jets could be looking for these guys to replace them and begin the rebuilding process.

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