As September long weekend marks the end of summer, it also signals the beginning of hockey season. The Jets are kicking off the 2019-20 season with their rookie showcase as they head to Belleville to take on the youngsters of Ottawa and Montreal.
This is actually the first time that the Jets will be a part of the Ottawa rookie showcase as the Jets were previously attending the annual Young Stars classic in Penticton where they had played Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary in previous years.
Ottawa’s showcase appears to be on a similar level as the Jets are playing three games between September 6-9, two against Ottawa, and one against Montreal. Check out the full list of games and times here.
The fun part about these mini tournaments is looking at the roster and seeing which rookies could make a strong impression with such a small sample size.
The current projected roster is as follows:
This list is highlighted by top prospect Vesalainen who is vying for a spot on the opening day roster. Besides Vesalainen, nobody taking part in the rookie showcase has a chance to make the Jets this year. That doesn’t mean the rest of the team can take the week off as each player is looking to make a name for themselves by any means necessary.
This group of players includes a few other notable names such as CJ Suess who had an impressive training camp last season, and David Gustafsson who is coming off an outstanding year playing professional hockey in Sweden. The other important name to mention is Ville Heinola, the most recent first round selection of the team. This will be Heinola’s first chance to show off his skills to the Jets development staff.
If you follow the Jets prospects closely, you might notice a few names that aren’t included on this list. There are two reasons why players might not be attending this rookie showcase. The first reason is that if the player is playing in Europe, they have already started their own training camp and are unable to come to Canada for the event.
Virtanen is currently playing with Liiga team SaiPa.
Nikkanen played with A-SM team Jukurit U20 today.
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) August 28, 2019
The other reason why some players won’t be there (Samberg, Smith) is because of their college eligibility. NCAA players are not allowed to play in the event due to eligibility restrictions to go along with the fact that their semester is already starting.
The rookie showcase is always a fun event to watch because it’s a great way to catch up on some of the recent drafted players and see their skillset. This year, all eyes will be on Vesalainen as he leads the Jets into Ontario next weekend.