At the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in June last summer, the Winnipeg Jets had eight selections to make. All the experts agreed that the Jets once again did a marvelous job in picking up some young talent. With a prospect pool that was already ranked as one of the best in the league, the Jets added to their cabinet of future NHL hopefuls.
Many of these players were viewed as projects however, the Jets chose players who were still many years away, whether headed to a College team or playing overseas. This makes it difficult for fans to keep track of their new draft picks, so lets take a trip around the world and check in on the newest Winnipeg Jets prospects.
Kyle Connor – 1st round, 17th overall
The Michigan Wolverine who was the Jets first round pick last year, has built on a hot October with a strong November. Connor has played five games this month, scoring two goals and three assists. Connor brought his totals to five goals and seven assists in his 11 games in the NCAA, a very impressive rookie campaign. Connor is proving to be another great pick by the Jets, a guy who wasn’t super well-known coming in, but is now leading one of the top teams in the country in points, as a freshman, may be another star in the making for the Winnipeg Jets.
Jack Roslovic – 1st round, 25th overall
Roslovic has been another standout prospect for the Winnipeg Jets playing in the NCAA. After a point a game start in the first eight games of the season for the University of Miami Ohio, Roslovic has improved. He has added seven points in his last six games and built on a strong first month in which he was the Rookie of the Month. Roslovic is another Freshman who leads his team in scoring, five points ahead of the next highest scorer on his team. The RedHawks have struggled with a 5-7-2 record, but Roslovic has thrived. Definitely a good sign for Jets fans.
Jansen Harkins – 2nd round, 47th overall
Of all the Jets prospects, Jansen Harkins may have had the best November. After a slow start with only six points in his first twelve games, Harkins has caught fire and shown himself to be the player that was projected as a first round pick. Harkins has potted 10 points in his last 10 games showing he is the offensive talent that many hoped he would be. He has also only taken two penalty minutes, after taking 17 in his first month of the season. Likely the offensive production that has finally found Harkins has settled the frustration that may have been building through the struggles the first month of the season.
Erik Foley – 3rd round, 78th overall
Foley has failed to produce this month for Providence College in the NCAA. After three points in his first five games, Foley was held pointless in his last five. At 9-0-3, the Friars are one of College hockey’s top teams, and for a freshman to try to make his mark is difficult. That is the situation Foley finds himself in, a difficult position for a young man trying to develop into the NHL player he wants to be. The Jets hope he continues to develop and uses his time on such a skilled team to develop into a top player in the coming years.
Michael Špaček – 4th round, 108th overall
Špaček continues to impress for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. After 22 points in his first 17 games, Špaček has added seven points in his last 10. Another guy who’s playing for a top team in the league, Špaček has been a big part of the team’s success, and is among the leaders offensively on his team. Špaček has continued to impress and will likely be one of the players representing the Jets at this years World Junior Hockey championship.
Mason Appleton – 6th round, 168th overall
As a Michigan State Spartan, the big bodied forward had a pretty strong start to the season, and if anything he has improved in his second month. Appleton now sits at 13 points in 13 games and his offensive production is a pleasant surprise in his first season with Michigan. Appleton has struggled on the defensive side of the puck, currently with a +/- -8, and the Jets hope that side of his game will develop as the season continues.
Sami Niku – 7th round, 198th overall
Niku began this season playing in the Sm-Liga, the top Finnish Elite League in the country and one of the best leagues in Europe. This proved to be a little much for Niku as after playing 21 games and notching 3 assists, Niku has found himself in the Mestis league, the number two league in Finland. In four games Niku has been held pointless, however this should be a good move for the young defender as he will get more ice and a lot more development.
Matteo Gennaro – 7th round, 203rd overall
After a relatively strong start for Gennaro, at least offensively, Gennaro has seen his play drop in the second month of the season. With only three points in his nine games played, Gennaro has not been the biggest producer for the Prince Albert Raiders. He has also seen his defensive play continue to struggle, dipping down to a -12 +/- rating. Gennaro has even seen himself as a healthy scratch a few times this month. As a seventh round pick Gennaro is definitely a long shot to make it to the NHL, but the Jets hope he can raise his prospect stock in the coming months.
Born and raised Winnipeg sports fan and contributor with The Hockey Writers.