Winnipeg Jets: Three Stories to Watch in Training Camp

Winnipeg Jets, Logan Stanley #64, (Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)
Winnipeg Jets, Logan Stanley #64, (Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Jets, Kristian Vesalainen #93, (Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

2. Who will play on the Jets’ third line?

When the Winnipeg Jets protected Logan Stanley in the NHL expansion draft, it was clear to most fans that the team’s preference was for the Seattle Kraken to select forward Mason Appleton, rather than veteran defenseman Dylan DeMelo. The expansion draft went according to plan meaning that the Jets now have an opportunity for a player to play with Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry on the third line.

The favorite coming into training camp for this role is 2017 first-round draft pick Kristian Vesalainen. Last season he spent time with the Jets and in the AHL Manitoba Moose, and started to show flashes of the talent that the team had hoped would develop. Vesalainen has an advantage coming into camp as he spent time most of his time with the NHL club playing with Copp and Lowry on the third line.

Competing with Vesalainen for a role on the third line will be Jansen Harkins, Cole Perfetti, David Gustafsson, and Dominic Tonitato. Cole Perfetti is the Jets’ best young prospect and had an excellent season last year playing for the Manitoba Moose and for Team Canada at the World Championships. He projects as a top-six forward in the NHL and would bring a level of higher offensive talent to the third line.

Harkins, Gustafsson, and Tonitato are more likely to be competing for spots on the Jets’ fourth line playing with NHL veteran Riley Nash. The pre-season exhibition games may factor into who starts the season on the Jets’ third line.