HOPEFULLY SEE MORE FROM…
2021-22 NHL Stats: 12 GP, 0 G, 5 A, 5 PTS
Ville Heinola is often a topic of conversation among Jets fans, and it seems safe to assume that he’ll be in the center of those conversations again going into the 2022 season.
Heinola, the Winnipeg Jets’ 20th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, has become a polarizing figure throughout the fanbase since his NHL debut in the fall of 2020. In some circles, he is seen as the Jets’ next best opportunity to ice an impact player on the back end. This is often backed up by his pedigree at other levels, including an impressive stint with the Manitoba Moose this season that had him finish with 26 points in 41 games.
On the other side of this, however, there is a large portion of the fanbase who finds this analysis over-embellished. Citing his size and inability to stick with the big club, there are a lot of people who question if Heinola really is the best option to fill out a questionable defensive group.
With a logjam on the back end, Heinola has his work cut out for him to squeeze his way in. It likely takes a combination of a phenomenal training camp and an injury or two, but there will always be an opening for impact players to push their way in.
With only twenty-five games played over his first three seasons in North America, there are legitimate questions as to his development. An easy answer to these questions, however, can be found by giving him consistent minutes in the NHL this season. Heinola looked comfortable and showed great promise when he was able to play in consecutive games, so the action seems necessary for him to take his next steps.