2018 Winnipeg Jets Draft Recap

Winnipeg Jets 2018 NHL Entry Draft Selections – 

The Winnipeg Jets made a total of six selections at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, picking three centres, two defencemen and a goalie.  The Jets were without a 1st round pick (Paul Stastny trade) and did not have a selection in the fourth round.  They had two fifth-round picks. Despite rumblings of a trade in the works, the Jets remained quiet and steady, adding depth to the prospect pool with this draft.

Round 2

David Gustafsson

The Jets first selection came in the second round, 60th overall.  They selected Swedish centre David Gustafsson from HV71 of Sweden’s top professional men’s league, the SHL.  Gustafsson is a hardworking, responsible two-way centre who likes to use his body in front of the net and bang in rebounds.  He’s a smart player with good hockey sense and is very strong in his own end.  His skating is a weakness and his offensive game will have to improve in order to make the NHL.  He put up 12 points in 45 games with very limited ice time in Sweden.  He also represented Sweden at the U18 World Junior Championships, where he had the best face-off percentage in the tournament at 70.55%.  If his offence grows and translates to North America, his ceiling could be as high as a Mikko Koivu type player, but more realistically he is more comparable to current Jet forward Andrew Copp.

Team: HV71 (SHL)

Position: C

Shoots: Left

Date of Birth: April 11, 2000

Place of Birth: Tingsryd, Sweden

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 195 lbs

Player Comparable: Andrew Copp

2017-18 SHL Regular Season Stats: GP: 45  G: 6  A: 6  PTS: 12  PIM: 8  Plus/Minus: +5


Round 3

Nathan Smith

In the third round, the Winnipeg Jets returned to familiar territory by drafting a player out of the USHL (United States’ top junior league).  With the 91st overall selection, the Winnipeg Jets went with centre Nathan Smith.  Smith spent last season playing with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.  Smith led Cedar Rapids with 47 points in 51 games.  A playmaking/power forward hybrid, Smith has nifty hands, great vision and excellent positioning.  Smith is a raw prospect who didn’t learn to skate until the age of eleven.  Despite this, he is a very quick and explosive skater.  His shot and defensive game need to be improved, but Smith has potential.  He will return to Cedar Rapids next year for his overage season and then head to Minnesota State University in 2019-20.  He is a long-term project who is stylistically similar to current Jets forward Blake Wheeler.

Team:  (USHL)

Position: C

Shoots: Right

Date of Birth: October 18, 1998

Place of Birth: Tampa, Florida

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 175 lbs

Player Comparable: Blake Wheeler (stylistically)

2017-18 USHL Regular Season Stats: GP: 51  G: 17  A: 30  PTS: 47  PIM: 84  Plus/Minus: -1


Round 5

Declan Chisholm

The Jets next pick didn’t come until the 5th round, 150th overall. They used that pick to select defenseman Declan Chisholm from the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.  Chisholm is a smooth skating defenceman with good offensive instincts but at times he can struggle with decision-making, especially in his own end.  Chisholm is a good passer who chewed up lots of minutes this year as an 18-year old.  He scored at a fairly decent .43 PPG as a defenseman on a weak team.  Although he sometimes struggles with decision-making and reading the play, Chisholm is overall effective in his own end.  His season was cut short by a high ankle sprain.

Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Position: D

Shoots: Left

Date of Birth: January 12, 2000

Place of Birth: Bowmanville, Ontario

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 185 lbs

Player Comparable: A smaller, faster version of Dougie Hamilton

2017-18 OHL Regular Season Stats: GP: 47  G: 3  A: 17  PTS: 20  PIM: 16  Plus/Minus: -3


Giovanni Vallati

Soon after the Chisholm pick, the Winnipeg Jets used their second 5th round pick, 153rd overall to select Giovanni Vallati of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.  He was current Jet prospect Logan Stanley’s defence partner last season in Kitchener.  Vallati is a good skating defenseman that is very good defensively.  His offensive game isn’t the greatest but it did improve as the year went on.  He was prone to turnovers in the attacking zone and that will need to be cleaned up as he continues to develop.  At times he lacks intensity in board-battles but his size helps him in front of the net.  Additionally, his good mobility and stamina help him stay with the play on both ends of the ice.

 Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

Position: D

Shoots: Left

Date of Birth: February 21, 2000

Place of Birth: Ottawa, Ontario

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 185 lbs

Player Comparable: Jake Muzzin

2017-18 OHL Regular Season Stats: GP: 65  G: 3  A: 23  PTS: 26  PIM: 29  Plus/Minus: +3


Round 6

Jared Moe

The Winnipeg Jets selected a goaltender next, grabbing Jared Moe from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL in the 6th round, 184th overall.  Moe had a solid year for the Black Hawks, going 23-6 with a 2.23 GAA and a .919 save percentage.  He also recorded 2 shutouts on the year.  Moe is a tall, lanky goaltender who relies on his good positioning to make saves, similar to current Jet goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.  Moe was initially the backup in Waterloo but outplayed Flyers’ prospect Matej Tomek to earn starter duties.  The 18-year old has committed to the University of Minnesota for next season.

Team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

Position: G

Catches: Right

Date of Birth: July 22, 2000

Place of Birth: New Prague, Minnesota

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 205 lbs

Player Comparable: Ben Bishop

2017-18 OHL Regular Season Stats: 23-6-0  SV%: .919  GAA: 2.23 


Round 7

Austin Wong

With their final selection, the Winnipeg Jets took centre Austin Wong in the 7th round, 215th overall.  Wong is a pesky, small, fast forward who played Junior A hockey last year with the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL.  He plays a style similar to current Jets forward Brandon Tanev.  He is a very tenacious forechecker and a hard-hitting forward.  He has good speed and passing ability, with solid scoring for a pest.  Similar to Jet prospect Brendan Lemieux, Wong is an agitator and draws lots of penalties.  His 235 penalty minutes led the AJHL.  He is a nasty player who seems to lack discipline and has been known to throw questionable, dangerous hits on occasion.  He was suspended early last season for a major slash.  He is committed to Harvard University for next season.

Photo credit: File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

Team: Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)

Position: C

Shoots: Right

Date of Birth: August 26, 2000

Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 190 lbs

Player Comparable: Brendan Gallagher

2017-18 OHL Regular Season Stats: GP: 55 G: 25 A: 29 PTS: 54 PIM: 235 Plus/Minus: N/A


Bottom Line:

Overall, the Winnipeg Jets didn’t do anything flashy this year.  Trading their first-round pick along with finishing better in the standings than they ever have before meant that this draft was more about adding depth to the prospect cupboard than it was about finding elite talent.  A lot of these players are unknowns, they are projects, and they may never reach the NHL. 

Personally, my favourite picks are Gustafsson, Moe, and Wong.  If Gustafsson pans out, he could be a nice defensive centre for the Jets.  If Lowry becomes too expensive, Gustafsson could be a good future replacement.  It’s always good to draft a goalie and Moe will have tons of time to develop.  I suspect at least three years of college and a year or two in the AHL before he ever gets a chance in the NHL.  Of course, he will only get that chance if he earns it.  As for Wong, his lack of discipline is concerning but I love the way he plays.

While it is unlikely the Jets found any superstars in this draft they did shore up their depth.  As the players develop it will be interesting to see if the Jets found any diamonds in the rough this year.

(Editor’s Note:)  The Winnipeg Jets would be thrilled if any of this years picks turned into our comparables.



  1. Everett Shade says

    I kind of like Moe. Looks like the type that might develop slowly and be interesting by 22-23

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      Me too …. a big athletic kid with nothing but time to develop …. I’m interested to see how Nathan Smith progresses as the competition gets tougher … he could be the sleeper.

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