The Winnipeg Jets tried to go all-in this year, acquiring Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers along with some depth moves. They ended up getting bounced in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions.
The Jets sent the No.20 overall pick to New York for Hayes but got that pick back earlier in the week when they traded Jacob Trouba to the Rangers—they received Neal Pionk in addition to this pick.
Winnipeg has been a team on the cusp for a few years now but now they are running into cap issues and need to start re-stocking the shelves through the draft. With Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor due for big raises this summer, the Jets will need some fresh faces on entry-level contracts to keep them in the hunt for a Stanley Cup.
As of now, their prospect pool is pretty barren. Kristian Vesalainen is their top prospect and could be in Winnipeg as soon as 2019-20. Vesalainen has great size (6-foot-4, 207 lbs.) and uses it to be a force along the wall and in front of the net. The 20-year-old started last season with the Jets but was sent to the AHL after just five games. He wasn’t in Manitoba long either but posted 13 points (3G / 9A) in 22 games before being loaned to Jokerit (KHL). While with Jokerit, Vesalainen registered six goals and 11 assists in 31 games and built on the hope that the Jets had for him when they picked him No.24 overall in 2017. On the blueline, Sami Niku is probably their top prospect and immediate replacement for Trouba. Niku split his 2018-19 season between the AHL and NHL. He had 12 points (3G / 9A) in 20 AHL games and four points (1G / 3A) in 30 NHL games. Those numbers aren’t overly impressive but the 22-year-old has the tools to be a solid third-pairing and second power-play asset for Winnipeg this year.
With the No.20 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Winnipeg Jets select…
Moritz Seider — D — Germany 🇩🇪
After trading a first-pairing right-handed defenseman, the Jets will likely look for Trouba’s future replacement and they might find that in Moritz Seider. The German defenseman is 6-foot-4, 207 lbs. but skates as if he is much smaller but blasts the puck like the big man he is. Seider is still a little raw but flashes the ability of a future top-4, two-way defenseman. He uses his bomb of a shot on the offensive end and his size, skating and great hockey sense on the defensive side of the puck.
Seider had six points (2G / 4A) with Adler Mannheim in Germany’s top league this season. He also represented Germany as the captain of their U20 Division 1 World Juniors team. Moritz had seven points (1G / 6A) in five games to lead all defensemen in the tournament. Germany ended up winning gold and was promoted to the 2020 World Juniors Championship.
We already know that the Jets won’t hesitate to draft a German-born player, as they picked Leon Gawanke in the fifth-round of the 2017 draft. Gawanke has quickly risen up their prospect rankings and is likely their third-best prospect behind Vesalainenand Niku. He had 57 points (17G / 40A) in 62 games with Cape Breton (QMJHL) this season.
Drafting a right-handed defenseman with the potential impact that Seider could have would ease the loss of Trouba, especially with how meager the return was.
A big, smooth-skating German blueliner with physicality, sound instincts and leadership qualities, Seider, when given the opportunity, has handled a top-four role against adult-age competition with aplomb. One of Seider’s most noticeable qualities is how smart he is with or without the puck. Blessed with an acute sense to predict the opponent’s intentions, Seider quickly transitions from standing up at the blue line like a brick wall, to a quick poke and pass that leads his mates to a counterattack. His physicality, reach and quick feet combine to make the majority of 1-on-1 attempts die quickly above the circles. — Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst)
Still tough to determine exactly what he projects to be at the next level, but he’s a big right shot defenceman who can skate. — Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet)
- #10 — HockeyProspect.com
- #16 — Future Considerations
- #17 — ISS Hockey
- #6 — NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)