The Winnipeg Jets announced that they have signed 2017 first round pick Kristian Vesalainen to a three-year entry-level contract worth an AAV of $1.492 million.
Jets Sign Kristian Vesalainen
Kristian Vesalainen was originally drafted by the Jets in the first round, 24th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Last season Vesalainen played in SM-liiga league where he split time between HPK Hameenlinna and Karpat. In 49 total games, Vesalainen scored 22 goals and added 21 assists for 43 points. He also scored four goals and four assists in 18 playoff games for Karpat, where he as his team went on to win the championship.
Vesalainen also represented Team Finland at the World Junior Championships where he scored two goals and four assists in five games. In 2017 he represented his country at the World Under-18 Championships where he lead the tournament in goals with six and points with 13. He went on to win the MVP of the tournament.
What This Means for the Future
Vesalainen has all intentions of making the Jets roster this season. His confidence is through the roof and will be on full display when training camp hits in September. At the Jets summer development camp in June, he was asked how he compared to fellow Finn Patrik Laine. Vesalainen responded that he thought he a more all-around player than Laine. That’s high praise coming from the rookie but you have to love the confidence.
If he makes the team, he will join an already potent offence led by Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and the aforementioned Patrik Laine. Standing at 6’3” and weighing in at 210lbs, Vesalainen is already built to compete at the NHL level. This is complemented by great skating and stick handling abilities as well as an array of shots which are both powerful and accurate. He sees the ice very well and has the two-way prowess which NHL coaches love their players to have in today’s NHL.
While it’s not a guarantee Vesalainen makes the Jets this season, he plans to make his North American debut this season by playing with the Manitoba Moose if it just so happens he gets cut from the Jets. Either way, it’s an exciting time for Jets fans to get one of their top prospects closer to home and be able to watch him in Winnipeg one way or another this coming season.
Embed from Getty Images