By Carter Brooks
Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Canucks
There is no need to panic, it is only the annual 'Young Stars' rookie tournament. Heck, it isn't even the preseason yet. The Winnipeg Jets, however, were represented this past weekend in Penticton, B.C., by a 23-man roster of prospects and future rookies.
The team didn't make out so well against the league's best prospect system in the Vancouver Canucks. Taking on the likes of Elias Pettersson, Adam Gaudette, Kole Lind, Jonathan Dahlen, Jonah Gadjovich Olli Juolevi and Michael Depietro.
Also included on Vancouver's Young Stars roster is a Hobey Baker Trophy winner, a Swedish Hockey League MVP, an Allsvenskan MVP, a Finnishe Elite League Rookie of the Year, a World Junior Hockey Championship gold medalist, and an OHL Goaltender of the Year. All those accomplishments came in the 2017-18 season, and they did not feature 2018 first round selection Quinn Hughes. Yes, it was a stacked team.
On Friday night, the Jets fell 8-2 to the Canucks, giving up four goals in a ten minutes span at the start of the second period. Despite goals from Jansen Harkins and Michael Spacek, Winnipeg's rookie squad could not even begin to keep up with Vancouver's offensive firepower. Kristian Vesalainen was the best Jet on Friday, finishing the night with an assist.
Saturday afternoon saw the second of two contests against Vancouver, and Winnipeg fared better, only losing 6-4 in the rematch in Penticton. After giving up two power play goals in the early going, the Jets fought back to tie the game at threes in the second frame. But Vancouver's power was too much, ultimately adding another three goals by the game's end, doing in the Jets. C.J. Seuss was Winnipeg's best player on Saturday, as he collected the Jets' first goal, while being on the ice for three of four Winnipeg goals.
The Jets return to Winnipeg on Monday in preparation for Jets' training camp, which begins Friday morning at Bell MTS Iceplex. Winnipeg opens up the pre-season on Monday, September 17th against the visiting Minnesota Wild at 7:00 P.M. central time at Bell MTS Place.