Winnipeg Jets Select Johnathan Kovacevic In Round 3.

WHT Prospect Profile: Johnathan Kovacevic –

The Winnipeg Jets added Johnathan Kovacevic out of Merrimack College to their prospect pool with the 74th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.  Bob McKenzie and TSN had him unranked but had him penciled in at #72.

The 6’3″, 210-pound defenseman was passed over in his first two years of draft eligibility in 2015 and 2016, but after a much improved season, Kovacevic caught the eye of Winnipeg Jets scouts.

Johnathan Kovacevic is a smart, two-way defenseman with good skating ability. His primary focus is in his defensive zone but he is not afraid to join the rush. His hockey sense and speed allow him to get to areas and break up plays.  He is a good puck handler, makes a good first pass and can carry the puck on breakouts.  He possesses a hard and accurate shot, with a decent one-timer and he was used on Merrimack’s powerplay.

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Kovacevic has an ability to read plays and knows when to jump up into the rush or when to stay back and defend.  He is smart, calm, rarely caught out of position and makes simple plays both with and without the puck.

Defensively, Kovacevic stays in position and isn’t overly aggressive or overly physical.  He has an active to stick that he uses to block passing lanes, shooting lanes and he is not afraid to block shots.

Statistically, Kovacevic scored 5 goals and 14 assists with 20 penalty minutes in 52 games while playing with the Junior A Ottawa Senators of the CCHL in 2014-15.

The following season, Kovacevic scored 2 goals and 10 points with 6 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Senators, before ending the year with Hawkesbury Hawks of the CCHL.  In 30 games with the Hawks, Kovacevic scored 6 goals and 20 assists while racking up 21 penalty minutes.

Last year was Johnathan Kovacevic’s freshman year for Merrimack College of the NCAA.  Playing on the school’s top pairing, he scored 3 goals and 16 assists in 36 games, was +7 and had 30 penalty minutes.

The 20-year-old is extremely excited to be coming to Winnipeg.

Going to a place like Winnipeg is super special to me.  It’s such an up-and-coming organization, and to be a part of it, it’s truly humbling and a huge honour.  I was really hoping, to be honest, to be a Jet, and I couldn’t be happier right now.

While he was passed over in his first two years of eligibility, Johnathan Kovacevic appears to be a late bloomer and the Jets thought he was worth taking a shot at in the third round.  He is sound defensively and actually put up pretty decent numbers as a freshman in college. If he continues to develop at the rate he has been, Kovacevic could be a surprise in years to come.

photo courtesy of Merrimack Athletics

Name: Johnathan Kovacevic

Position: Defenceman

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 210 lbs

Shoots: Right

DOB: July 2, 1997

Born: Grimsby, ON

Team: Merrimack College (NCAA)

Draft: 3rd round, 74th overall

Player Comparison: Dougie Hamilton

What did you think of the selection of Johnathan Kovacevic?  Leave your opinions in the comment section, or tweet me on Twitter, @WHTRiley.  I would love to talk hockey with you.

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