Winnipeg Jets NCAA Prospects Start Their Seasons This Weekend

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Winnipeg Jets

Minnesota State Mavericks, Nathan Smith #8 (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Winnipeg Jets NCAA prospects start their seasons this weekend. Here’s all you need to know at the start of the college hockey season.

The Winnipeg Jets are currently in the midst of their preseason and we are only a couple of short weeks away from the Jets beginning their 2021-2022 regular season, but there will be plenty of hockey to watch this weekend as the college hockey season starts.

There are a number of mainstays on the Jets roster who have played collegiate hockey including Blake Wheeler, Connor Hellebuyck, Neal Pionk, Andrew Copp, Kyle Connor, Nate Schmidt, and Paul Stastny. Not to mention, there are a bunch more players in the Jets organization that have played collegiately.

In the past couple of drafts, Winnipeg has taken a number of NCAA players or players who were committed to play college hockey the fall after the draft.

Most of these Winnipeg Jets draft picks who are playing college hockey and their respective schools kick off their seasons this weekend.

This slideshow will mention each Jets prospect who currently plays college hockey, the school they represent, a thing or two to watch for, and when their opening games are.

Chaz Lucius

The University of Minnesota

To kick off this list we start with the Jets’ first-round pick from this past summer’s NHL Entry Draft, Chaz Lucius.

After two years at the United States National Development Program, Lucius will begin his collegiate career this season at Minnesota when they host the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a pair of games (on Saturday and Sunday) at the 3M Arena at Mariucci.

The eighteen-year-old is known to be an offensive talent and goal scorer. His skills will be on full display and he should be fun to watch in his freshman season.

Lucius is looking to follow in the footsteps of Winnipeg Jets players who have formed outstanding NHL careers after playing collegiately for the Golden Gophers including Jets captain, Blake Wheeler and, newly acquired defenseman, Nate Schmidt.

Nathan Smith

Minnesota State Univ. (Mankato)

Nathan Smith is looking to post his third consistent season in a row after having outstanding freshman and sophomore campaigns, which included making it to the Frozen Four last season. Smith played outstanding in the semi-finals but his two goals were not enough as Minnesota State Mankato lost in the semifinals to St. Cloud State.

In his first two seasons for the Mavericks, the centerman has 18 goals and 34 assists for 52 points in 63 games played. Last season, the Florida native was named to the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team.

There is a great reason to watch Smith at the beginning of this season because he will be tested. Tomorrow and Sunday, Smith and the Mavericks will play a two-game set on the road at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who are the reigning NCAA Division 1 champions. Then the following weekend the Mavericks will host, the same team who beat them in the Frozen Four and the Divison 1 runners-up, St. Cloud for two games.

The twenty-two-year-old has a high upside and potential and has all the makings to be a mainstay in the future for the Winnipeg Jets.

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