TSP: Top Winnipeg Jets Prospects

Jack Roslovic Winnipeg Jets Prospects
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - APRIL 13: Jack Roslovic #52 of the Winnipeg Jets chases the puck against the Minnesota Wild in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 13, 2018 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)

Welcome to the 2018 Top Shelf Prospects series.  As we go through the Summer of 2018 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. We will be following the order of the first round of the NHL draft (as if there were no traded draft picks) and you can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2018 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2018-19 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

Winnipeg Jets Prospects

The Winnipeg Jets had a remarkable season. They finished with the second-best record in the NHL, with 52 wins and 114 points. Connor Hellebuyck emerged as the team’s starting goalie and was nominated for the Vezina Trophy. Blake Wheeler put up 91 points. Mark Scheifele was a point-per-game player despite missing 22 games due to injury. Patrik Laine scored 44 goals. Kyle Connor had an excellent rookie season with 31 goals. Nikolaj Ehlers had 29 goals and 60 points. Dustin Byfuglien was a top-tier defenseman. The team continued their strong play in the playoffs, winning their first playoff game and series in franchise history over the Minnesota Wild. They also beat the President’s Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in the second round. The Jets fell to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Conference Final.

The off-season saw the Jets suffer some losses. Paul Stastny went to Vegas as a free agent. The team had to trade Joel Armia to the Montreal Canadiens in order to dump Steve Mason‘s contract. Third-stringer Michael Hutchinson went to the Florida Panthers. Matt Hendricks also left as a free agent, signing with the Minnesota Wild. Long-time Jet Toby Enstrom remains on the market, but it is highly unlikely he returns to Winnipeg. The Jets signed Laurent Brossoit as the team’s new backup goalie. They also added Seth Griffith as a depth piece.

Overall though, the Jets losses were a lot bigger than their additions. As the team looks to be a cup contender again, they need to fill those holes internally, with both improvements amongst the players on the team, and from their prospect pool.

2018 NHL Draft Picks: David GustafssonNathan SmithDeclan ChisholmGiovanni VallatiJared MoeAustin Wong
Graduations: Kyle Connor, Tucker Poolman (age)

 

Top Prospect: Jack Roslovic

Centre — shoots Right
Born January 29th, 1997 — Columbus, Ohio
Height 6’1″ — Weight 187 lbs [185 cm / 85 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round, #25 overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft

Roslovic split time between the Manitoba Moose and the Jets last season. He was dominant in the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 35 points in 32 games. With the big club, he had decent numbers with five goals and 14 points in limited minutes, mainly on the wing. He also put up three points in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Skating

Roslovic has improved his skating stride. While he was always a quick player despite a bit of a bow-legged stride, this change has made him even faster. He shows an excellent first step, great acceleration, and very good top-end speed. Roslovic is able to beat defenders wide off the rush. He has a low centre of gravity, which allows Roslovic to fight through checks and protect the puck. His edgework and agility are also very good and he is able to beat defenders with quick cuts and stickhandle past them. He is able to stop and turn on a dime. This really helps him to protect the puck. He can beat a defender in the cycle game to create an opportunity to set up a play, get off a shot, or take the puck to the net.

Offensive Game

Roslovic is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He has very good passing skill, excellent vision, and the hockey IQ to make the smart plays. When he does give up the puck, he often darts into an opening, looking for a give-and-go from a teammate. Roslovic has extremely good stickhandling ability, and the soft hands to make skilled plays in tight areas. This creates the room for him to open up passing lanes. Roslovic has a decent release, but his shot could add power and he could use it more often. His hands are good in close to the net.

Roslovic likes to play a dump and chase game and has the speed necessary to get to pucks in the corners or to pressure defencemen. Previous knocks on Roslovic centred on his physicality. There were times when he is willing to play a fearless style, digging for pucks, holding on to the puck an extra second and taking the hit to make a play, or getting to high traffic areas. However, there were other games when he shied away from the contact and was not always fully engaged in battles for the puck. This seems to be a thing of the past. As Roslovic has added muscle to his frame, he has become much more consistent in playing a gritty game.

Defensive Game

Roslovic’s defensive game shows the same tendencies as his offensive game. He has improved his consistency and his engagement. He is involved in the play, and willing to work in his own end of the rink. Roslovic can be a very effective 200-foot player. His positioning is strong and his active stick cuts down passing lanes and creates turnovers.

Outlook

Barring an absolute disaster of a training camp, Roslovic will be a full-time NHL player next year. With Stastny gone, there is a spot to be won as the third line centre (Bryan Little will likely take Stastny’s second line role). Roslovic goes to training camp looking as the clear favourite to take this job. The only question is if he can grow into the role of second line centre down the road. He has the potential to do so but needs to be able to translate his AHL offence a little better than he did as a rookie. It should come with experience.

 

#2 Prospect: Kristian Vesalainen

Left Wing/Right Wing — shoots Left
Born June 1st, 1999 — Helsinki, Finland
Height 6’3″ — Weight 207 lbs [191 cm / 94 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round, #24 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Vesalainen spent most of the season with HPK, playing in the top Finnish league, the SM-Liiga. He scored 19 goals and 39 points in 44 games with the team. Near the end of the year, he was loaned to Karpat, scoring three goals and four assists in five games. Vesalainen led the league in power play goals. He also scored four goals and eight points in 18 games in the SM-Liiga playoffs, contributing to a league title. He also played for Finland at the World Juniors, scoring six points in five games.

Skating

Vesalainen is a very good skater for his size. He has an explosive first step and very good acceleration, allowing him to be quick on loose pucks. He also has good top-end speed. Possessing good lower body strength, and a powerful stride, Vesalainen is very good at fighting through checks and getting to the front of the net. He also is strong along the boards, winning battles for the puck and controlling the game in the cycle game. His agility and edgework are good for a big man, but continued improvement is possible.

Offensive Game

A versatile player, Vesalainen has experience playing both wings. He has excellent size and uses it to protect the puck along the boards and extend plays in the cycle. Gifted with a large wing-span, Vesalainen takes advantage of it and uses his excellent stickhandling ability to play keep-away with defenders. He also has the passing skill to move the puck to teammates in good areas once he creates that time and space. A budding power forward, Vesalainen wins battles along the boards. He is also not afraid to fight through checks to get to the front of the net.

Vesalainen also has an excellent array of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot both feature good power and a quick release. He could work on his accuracy though. Vesalainen can also bury in tight to the net, with the soft hands to finish in close to the goaltender. He chases down loose pucks relentlessly. Vesalainen is involved in the play in all three zones. He has a very high motor and is almost always at the centre of the action.

Defensive Game

Vesalainen is a very good two-way player. As mentionned, he is willing to get involved in battling for loose pucks in all three zones. Vesalainen is committed to backchecking. He supports the defence down low and understands how to apply back pressure. He is very good positionally and cuts down passing and shooting lanes. Vesalainen has been used on the penalty kill at the international level.

Outlook

Vesalainen has not yet signed his entry-level contract with the Jets, though this is not expected to be a problem. He was at development camp and indicated that he would like to sign with the Jets this off-season. His contract in Finland is also expired according to EliteProspects and it is currently unclear where he will play next season. Whether he plays in Europe or the AHL, Vesalainen likely needs at least a year of development before he is ready to crack a deep Jets lineup.

 

#3 Prospect: Sami Niku

Defence — shoots Left
Born October 10th, 1996 — Haapavesi, Finland
Height 6’1″ — Weight 176 lbs [185 cm / 80 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 7th round, #198 overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft

It was a dream season for Niku. He scored 16 goals and 54 points in 76 games for the Manitoba Moose. This not only put him on the AHL All-Rookie team, it also put him on the league’s First All-Star Team and won him the league’s Defenceman of the Year Award. Niku was also called up for his first NHL game, scoring a goal. He put up a goal and three points in nine games in the AHL Playoffs.

Skating

Niku is a strong skater. His stride is long and smooth, giving him good speed and acceleration. This is also true about his backwards skating. His agility and pivots are particularly strong. Niku can change directions on a dime, allowing him to avoid forecheckers, or to stay with his man. He also transitions quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Niku could stand to add muscle to his lower body though, in order to be a little stronger on his skates and in battles along the boards.

Offensive Game

Niku has a powerful shot from the point. He uses his lateral agility to walk the line, opening up shooting lanes to get that shot off. Niku understands how to keep it low, and on the net, in order to give teammates opportunities for rebounds, deflections and tips. He also sneaks down from the point to take a wrist shot. It is powerful and has a quick release.

He is also a strong playmaker. Niku sees the ice well and has good passing skills. He can skate the puck out of danger in his own end, as well as start the transition with a good first pass. Niku has even been known to lead the rush, showing good stickhandling skill, and the ability to beat defenders one-on-one. He retrieves pucks quickly and can move them out of dangerous areas and up the ice.

Defensive Game

Niku is still a bit undersized but has gotten stronger over the last year. He can still get pushed around on the boards and struggles to clear big forwards in front of the net. He needs to add muscle especially as he transitions to the NHL. Niku has a quick stick and can poke-check the puck away from opponents. He is also very smart in his positioning and anticipation. While he will likely never be a bruiser, he can be an effective defender if he gains that additional strength.

Outlook

With the departure of Toby Enstrom, there is an open spot on the left-hand side of the Jets defence group this season. Niku heads to training camp trying to win that job. He will face competition from Tucker Poolman for the role. Poolman spent most of last year in the Jets press box.

 

#4 Prospect: Mason Appleton

Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born January 15th, 1996 — Green Bay, Wisconsin
Height 6’2″ — Weight 193 lbs [188 cm / 88 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 6th round, #168 overall, at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft

Appleton had an outstanding rookie season with the Manitoba Moose. He put up 22 goals and 66 points in 76 games. The 22-year-old led all AHL rookies in points, was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team, AHL First All-Star Team, and won AHL Rookie of the Year. Appleton only played two playoff games after being checked in the head in Game 2 of the Moose first-round series. He was healthy enough to be a “Black Ace” for the Jets and practiced with the team during their playoff run.

Skating

Appleton’s skating is a work in progress. His first step needs a bit of work and his acceleration can be improved. Once he gets moving, he has decent top-end speed. However, that lack of start-up speed can be an issue in races for loose pucks. Appleton has good edgework and agility, making him elusive both with and without the puck. He has a strong lower-body which allows him to fight through checks and win battles along the boards.

Offensive Game

Appleton sees the ice extremely well and has the hockey IQ to make smart plays with the puck. He is a good playmaker who opens up passing lanes with quick stick movement. He can use both his forehand and backhand to make tape-to-tape passes to teammates. Appleton can extend plays in the cycle game, waiting for a linemate to get open. Once they do, he can hit them with the pass to set up a scoring chance. While he can make plays at even-strength, he is even better working off the half-boards on the power play with the added time and space.

Appleton is very much a pass-first player, but he can score goals as well. He has a very good wrist shot and a quick release. He is also not afraid to go to the net, both with and without the puck. Once there, Appleton has the hands to finish plays in close, be they a pass from a teammate, a rebound, or a deflection. He battles hard on the boards and wins loose pucks.

Defensive Game

Appleton brings his gritty and tenacious game in all three zones. He supports the defence with effective backpressure against the rush. He also battles hard for loose pucks and looks to contain his man on the cycle. Appleton uses his hockey sense to anticipate plays, cut down passing lanes and create turnovers. He does a good job of keeping his feet moving and keeping himself between his man and the front of the net.

Outlook

Appleton needs a bit more AHL time to continue to work on his skating. He could see a call-up in injuries hit in Winnipeg. If things go well, Appleton could be ready for full-time NHL action before the end of the season. While he is not NHL-ready yet, he is very close. Appleton played centre in college but spent most of his time with Manitoba at wing. He is likely a winger going forward as his skating is just not good enough to be a centre in the NHL.

 

#5 Prospect: David Gustafsson

The Jets drafted Gustafsson with the 60th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Gustafsson. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#6 Prospect: Logan Stanley

Defence — shoots Left
Born May 26th, 1998 — Waterloo, Ontario
Height 6’7″ — Weight 231 lbs [201 cm / 105 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1st round, #18 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Stanley had a breakout offensive season in his final year of junior hockey. Traded to the Kitchener Rangers last summer, he put up 15 goals and 42 points in 61 games. He was even better in the playoffs with four goals and 16 points in 19 games.

Skating

Stanley’s skating is a bit of a work in progress. It can take his long legs a little bit to get going, as he seems awkward in his start-up, and can use some work in his acceleration. Once he does get moving though, he has decent speed for a big man. He could stand to work on his edgework and his acceleration as small, quick forwards can take him wide and take advantage of the fact that his pivots are a little slow and awkward. In terms of balance, he does have a strong lower body and will only get better as he continues to add muscle to his large frame over the next several years.

Offensive Game

Stanley’s offensive game took a big leap forward in Kitchener, but it is a work in progress. This season he will need to show that it will translate to the pro level. He generates a lot of power with his big frame and has a strong slap shot. It could stand to be a little more accurate, but he is able to generate a lot of flex on his stick and a ton of power.

His stickhandling has really improved as he is much more poised in carrying the puck out of dangerous areas in his own end as well as playing the point. He shows a lot more poise and patience than he has in previous years. He is still better in the role of triggerman than quarterback though. Stanley has a decent first pass out of the zone and can start the transition game. He has become more comfortable getting up in the playing and joining the rush.

Defensive Game

Standing at 6-foot-7-inches tall, Logan Stanley is a giant on skates. He has a huge wingspan and long reach, giving him the ability to really cut down passing and shooting lanes, as well as to control attackers on the rush. Stanley is not afraid to block shots. His size is a real advantage on the penalty kill as he can be extremely disruptive to what the other team is trying to set up in the offensive zone. He also has a real mean streak, as he loves to be physical in throwing big hits, fighting for loose pucks, or clearing the crease. He can sometimes take the physical play a little too far, which can cost him in terms of taking penalties. Stanley has good hockey sense, as he reads the play well, and generally keeps himself in good defensive positions.

Outlook

Stanley has finished his junior career and will move up to the Moose this year. For bigger players, there is often a period of adjustment needed when moving to higher levels and facing bigger, stronger and faster opponents. It should not be too concerning if Stanley has some struggles early in the year but expect him to improve as the year goes on. His size and skill make him an excellent prospect, but one who still needs development time. The Jets should have patience.

 

#7 Prospect: Dylan Samberg

Defence — shoots Left
Born January 24th, 1999 — Hermantown, Minnesota
Height 6’4″ — Weight 215 lbs [193 cm / 98 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2nd round, #43 overall at the 2017 NHL Draft

Samberg had a solid freshman season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, playing a top-four role and helping the team to the National Championship. While he scored just one goal, he added 12 assists for 13 points in 42 games. Samberg also played for Team USA in the World Juniors, putting up a goal and four points in seven games, and winning a bronze medal.

Skating

Samberg has excellent size and combines that with very good skating. His top-end speed is very good, allowing him to join the rush, or pinch in at the blueline and still get back defensively. He is also quick when skating backwards. Good agility and edgework allow him to keep defenders in front of him, on the rush. Quick pivots also let him transition from defence to offence, or vice-versa quickly. Samberg also has good balance on his skates. His lower-body strength makes him hard to knock off the puck and effective in battles for loose pucks.

Offensive Game

Dylan Samberg has a decent slap shot from the point. He generates good stick flex and power. He also has a hard wrist shot with an excellent release. However, Samberg has a tendency to fire the puck into traffic, getting his shots blocked before they get to the net. He must work on moving laterally as well as opening up the shooting lanes before letting his shot go in order to improve his goal totals.

Samberg’s passing game is also a bit of a work in progress. He seems to rush his passes at times. Samberg could stand to hold onto the puck for an extra second and wait for the play to develop and then pick out his man. He doesn’t make bad passes and giveaways when this happens, he just makes plays that are less than optimal.  A short, safe pass or a chip off the boards as opposed to something that will generate speed and offence. These are issues that could be caused by the move from high school hockey to the NCAA. Samberg may just need a bit more time to adjust to the speed of the league, and at that point, would be more effective.

Defensive Game

Samberg is a solid defensive player with good positioning. He uses a long and active stick to cut down passing lanes, as well as being willing to put his body in position to block shots. Samberg is willing to take a hit to make a play. He also uses his big frame to lean on opponents in the corners and to clear the front of the net. However, Samberg is not a big hitter. He keeps himself disciplined in his position, and forces his man to the outside, but does not look for that big body check.

Outlook

Samberg returns to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for his sophomore season this fall. The Jets will hope to see his offensive numbers take a big jump this year. He is also a candidate to play for the US World Junior team in Vancouver and Victoria over the Christmas Break. Samberg is at least 2-3 years away from challenging for an NHL spot.

 

#8 Prospect: Brendan Lemieux

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 15th, 1996 — Denver, Colorado
Height 6’1″ — Weight 210 lbs [185 cm / 95 kg]
Drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2nd round, #31 overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft
Traded to the Winnipeg Jets in February 2015

Lemieux’s offensive numbers took a big leap forward in his second season with Manitoba. he put up 19 goals and 43 points in 51 games. This more than doubled his point total despite playing 10 fewer games than his rookie campaign. He also added three goals and two assists in eight playoff games. Lemieux played nine games for the Jets last year, and picked up his first NHL goal.

Skating

Lemieux has good speed and acceleration. A quick first step allows him to get to loose pucks in the offensive zone. Good agility and strong edgework, along with quick changes of direction allow him to beat his man in the cycle. Good balance and a strong frame help him to be strong on the puck and work well below the goal line. They also allow him to establish his position in front of the net, and make plays in the dirty areas of the ice.

Offensive Game

Brendan Lemieux plays the same in your face, pest-like, borderline dirty style that defined his father’s career, for better or worse. He is always involved along the boards, in front of the net or in any scrum that comes his way, and is a real pain to play against. Lemieux loves to chirp and can be a real agitator out there on the ice.

He also has some real offensive talent, including a good shot and a quick release. Lemieux cycles the puck well down low and makes smart passes to teammates. If given space he is willing to drive the net and can finish in tight. He does well in battles in front of the net and on the boards. If there is a criticism it is that he sometimes forces plays and doesn’t always wait for a great opportunity, trying a low percentage shot, or to force a pass through a lane that just isn’t open.

Defensive Game

Lemieux has improved in the defensive end of the ice. He brings his strong work-ethic and grit to battle for loose pucks and play a physical game in his own end as well. He supports the defence down low, helping to control the cycle game and keep his man to the outside. Lemieux battles hard for loose pucks. He cuts down passing lanes and is not afraid to block shots. He must remain disciplined to avoid spending too much time in the penalty box.

Outlook

With some openings in the Jets forward group, Lemieux will fight for the fourth line winger spot opened by Armia’s departure. He is very close to being NHL-ready, the question is how high in the lineup he can play. The Jets must decide if they want him to play in fourth line minutes in the NHL or continue to develop his offence in bigger minutes in the AHL for another year. Management needs to decide if they see potential in Lemieux to be more than a bottom-six player.

 

#9 Prospect: Michael Spacek

Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born April 9th, 1997 — Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic
Height 5’11” — Weight 187 lbs [180 cm / 85 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 4th round, #108 overall, at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft

Spacek had a solid first year in Manitoba, scoring 17 goals and 38 points in 70 games. He also added a goal and three points in six playoff games. More impressively, he did this without a lot of power play time on the deep Moose team.

Skating

Spacek is a decent skater with good acceleration and speed. He also has strong agility and good edgework. Spacek can change directions quickly and weave through traffic. He is very elusive, and while he is undersized, he has a real knack for deftly dodging opponents looking to make a big hit. Spacek will need to get stronger, to improve his strength on the puck. A low centre of gravity helps him, but he will still need a bit more now that he is facing professional opponents.

Offensive Game

Spacek controls the puck well, slowing things down and looking for openings. He is a very good stick handler and protects the puck extremely well. Spacek works well controlling the play down low and playing the cycle game. He has very good hockey sense and makes smart plays. Spacek uses his vision and slick passing skills to set up teammates if they get open for a good scoring opportunity. He also has the patience to make the simple play and keep possession if the pass is not there.

Spacek also reads the defence well and can sneak into openings when he doesn’t have the puck. He has worked to develop his shot and has a good release now. He is also willing to get to the front of the net without the puck.

Defensive Game

Spacek is responsible defensively. He reads the play well and is rarely caught out of position. He supports the defence on the backcheck but lacks the size and strength to handle bigger forwards. Red Deer used him on the penalty kill where his ability to create turnovers was a real plus. He hasn’t played that role a lot for Manitoba yet, but it would not be a surprise to see him get more minutes with more experience this year.

Outlook

There is a lot of depth in front of him, and Spacek will need to fight for a chance to play in the NHL. He should start the season in Manitoba. The Jets hope to see his offensive numbers take another step forward and earn more responsibility. He is likely a year or two away from a serious challenge to the roster.

 

#10 Prospect: Eric Comrie

Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born July 6th, 1995 — Edmonton, Alberta
Height 6’1″ — Weight 175 lbs [185 cm / 79 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2nd round, #59 overall, at the 2013 NHL Draft

Comrie improved in his third season with Manitoba, putting up a 0.916 save percentage in 34 games. He was not quite as good in the playoffs with a 3.18 goals-against average and 0.908 save percentage in nine games. Comrie also got some time with the Jets while Steve Mason dealt with injuries but did not impress with a 0.872 save percentage in three games.

Talent Analysis

Comrie has decent size and good technique as a hybrid goalie. He has very good lateral movement and gets side-to-side quickly and efficiently. He reads the play well and shows excellent puck-tracking as he is rarely caught out of position. His quick legs do a great job of taking away the bottom of the net. He also has a very quick glove hand which helps him to take away the top portions.

Comrie plays a very aggressive style and comes out far to cut down angles and take away net from shooters. He has excellent backwards skating which allows him to do this and recover if an attacker tries to deke him to the net. Like many young goalies, he does need work on his rebound control and this is the biggest issue in his game today. It has shown some improvement. He recovers quickly and is able to square up to rebounds which helps him, however, the rebound control must also still improve.

Outlook

The backup goaltender is the biggest question mark on the Jets roster. Mason and Hutchinson are gone, while Brossoit was unimpressive in his time with the Oilers last season. Comrie could steal the job with a good camp but must be better than he was in his short NHL stint last year.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Mikhail Berdin

Goalie — shoots Left — Catches left
Born March 1st, 1998 — Ufa, Russia
Height 6’3″ — Weight 180 lbs [191 cm / 82 kg]
Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 6th round, #157 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Berdin had another solid year in the USHL, with a 2.65 goals-against average and 0.921 save percentage in 45 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede. He even scored a goal. However, he struggled in the USHL playoffs behind an overmatched team. His goals-against average ballooned to 4.48 and his save percentage fell to 0.891. He was also picked for Team Russia at the World Juniors but did not play in a game.

Talent Analysis

Berdin is an athletic goalie, with very quick reflexes. His legs are particularly quick and help him to take away the bottom of the net. His glove and blocker are also good. Berdin is good at tracking pucks and moves very well laterally. He could stand to work on his rebound control, which is often an issue for goalie prospects. Berdin comes out of his crease to challenge shooters and take away the net. He’s increased his weight from 160 pounds when drafted to 180 today. This is something that he must continue to work on in order to battle through traffic at the pro level and have the stamina for a longer schedule.

Berdin is also good at handling the puck. He comes out of his net to stop pucks and makes a quick outlet pass to his defencemen, acting like a third member of the defence on dump-ins. If he catches the other team on a line change, he is able to quickly throw a long pass up the ice and create an odd-man rush.

Outlook

At just 20 years old, Berdin is still young and very much a project. He will play for the Moose this season and likely has a minimum of two or three years of AHL ahead of him before he is ready for an NHL opportunity.

 

System Outlook

The Jets have built an elite NHL team via accumulating prospects and developing their draft picks. The value of that is seen in this system which remains very deep despite the number of graduations in the past two years. In Roslovic and Vesalainen, they have a pair of blue-chip prospects. Players like Niku, Appleton, Lemieux, have made strong impressions in the AHL. There are also prospects at all positions, succeeding in junior hockey, in Europe, and in the NCAA. The challenge for Kevin Chevaldayoff and the Jets scouts will be keeping the system strong while they are unlikely to draft high and may move picks or prospects to add pieces necessary to win a Stanley Cup.

At Forward other notable prospects include Skyler McKenzie, Jansen HarkinsNathan Smith, Pavel KraskovskyC.J. Suess, and Santeri Virtanen. Players to watch on the blue line are Giovanni VallatiLuke GreenJohnathan Kovacevic, Nelson Nogier, Declan Chisholm. In goal, Jared Moe joins Berdin and Comrie in the system.

 

Main Photo:
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Your link is to the wrong Nathan Smith. Unless we’re considering 1982 birthdays as prospects? Maybe I can still make it to the show!

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