JETS land three x NHL First Round Picks

BOISVERT, VANACKER, DANFORD join the organization
7/6/2024 • Randell Miller

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA- The WINNIPEG JETS had a momentous first two rounds at the DCHL Draft where the JETS turned excess picks and two second round selections into three NHL first round talents. The JETS under the current GM have now exercised 4 first round selections netting 5 NHL first round selections over just 3 years.

For several years, WINNIPEG has touted the selection of RUTGER MCGROARTY and FILIP BYSTEDT (the first two selections by the current regime). But in 2023, the price for RUTGER MCGROARTY’s selection meant the JETS were unable to keep their 2023 first rounder in a draft where buying back into the first round proved too costly. But this year, the JETS entered the day with 14th, 38th, and 46th overall.

Utilizing a combination of 3rd rounders, the JETS traded up twice in an aggressive approach to acquire NHL first round selections. “Sometimes, especially near the end of the round, DCHLers get more risk tolerant,” said the JETS GM, “and that can create opportunities for guys to fall into the second round.” With a mix of GMs taking “Best Player Available” (BPA) and others pursuing players they enjoy watching, the JETS GM took a hometown approach himself when his primary targets at each pick were taken moments before his selection.

KONSTA HELENIUS and EMIL HEMMING are not joining the DCHL JETS but the NHL BLACKHAWKS’ SACHA BOISVERT and MAREK VANACKER will join the JETS forward corps as soon as they are ready. With numerous BLACKHAWKS fans in the DCHL, the JETS GM does not normally have the chance to claim players from the Windy City. Today was different as the JETS went very aggressive on the NHL CHICAGO scouting estimates. The JETS also did not rely on BPA to net the selections they ended the day with.

The third pick of the day was perhaps the most aggressive yet with the JETS trading another 3rd rounder paired with the JETS 2nd to move up a few additional spots to select BEN DANFORD who was selected by the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS just last week in the SPHERE. All together the JETS have selected 4 x Forwards and 1 x Defenseman out of the NHL first round over three years. Whereas last year, the JETS scrapped together 4 x NHL second round selections using some middle round capital, this year the JETS will only have 2 x middle round selections.

These moves carry some risk as BOISVERT, VANACKER, or DANFORD were not viewed as gems in the draft but they should carry some reasonable probability of 1-3 future reliable assets in the JETS system. The JETS did pass on some assets that were viewed as “risk-reward” type players or fan favorites like COLE EISERMANN or SAM O’REILLY. The benefit however is that the JETS are not completely up against the asset cap and picked players that carry high value with their NHL franchises.

“I think we have at least 4 x NHL BLACKHAWKS between last year and this year (MARTIN MISIAK & ROMAN KANTSEROV) so adding VANACKER and BOISVERT gives us some more numbers in that system,” the JETS GM added, “Our defense has Heiskanen, Lundkvist is finding his NHL game too, but in the long run, we need more balance out of our future talent and we hope BEN (DANFORD) can be the start of that as our next generation of players makes it through the system.