The Winnipeg Jets have sent 2019 first round draft pick Ville Heinola to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke to reporters during Thursday’s practice in San Jose and said “nothing is etched in stone” with respect to what the team’s plans are for Heinola for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Heinola was selected 20th overall in the June 21 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver and it was considered somewhat of a surprise when he made the Jets roster to start the regular season.
The 18-year-old Finnish native played eight games and contributed one goal and four assists and had a +5 rating while averaging 18 minutes of ice time per game.
Heinola is still eligible to play one more NHL game for the Jets before a decision would have to be made on whether the first year of his entry level contract was to “kick in.” If he was to remain in the AHL with the Moose — or return to his club team in Finland, Lukko Rauma — Heinola’s ELC would reset to year one next fall.
With the addition of Carl Dahlstrom and Luca Sbisa via NHL waivers, and the impending return of Nathan Beaulieu from injured reserve, the Jets have eight defencemen available.
That doesn’t count Sami Niku, who is with the Moose and trying to play himself back into shape after missing a good portion of the season to date because of a groin injury.