Ville Heinola has been one of the most impressive Winnipeg Jets prospects at the rookie showcase. While the rookie showcase is a small sample size, it is great to see Heinola making quite an impact.
On Sunday, Heinola flexed his outstanding wrist shot and netted a goal at the rookie showcase against the Montréal Canadiens. Not only did Heinola record a goal, but he showed off his explosive crossovers as he skated to get into position before firing his shot. In the below embedded tweet, you can check out Heinola’s goal.
Ville Heinola scores! 1-0 #NHLJets
Luoto and Suess with the helpers. pic.twitter.com/POUa5sriMT
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) September 8, 2019
As I mentioned above, the Winnipeg Jets and their fan-base caught a glimpse of Heinola dominating in the offensive zone, but there are a lot more Heinola highlights. Last season, he had tallied two goals and 12 assists in 34 games for Lukko (Liiga). In addition, he recorded one goal and eight assists in nine games for Lukko U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga).
During his 2018-19 campaign, Heinola showed off how special he is. The Honkajoki, Finland native consistently made accurate passes. His passes are rather crisp and his teammates delivered many one-timers off of his passes. Not only is Heinola’s passing at a NHL-caliber level, but his vision is impeccable. The 18 year old left handed defenseman often will showcase elite vision as he is able to identify the teammates who have the most space and who are most likely to excel.
In addition to his passing and vision, Heinola skating is a joy to watch. While Heinola is not a speedster, he makes up for it with great inside and outside edges. Heinola will often use his edges to make tight and gradual turns in the offensive zone. His edges allow him to create space and swing around his opposition. Also, his crossovers are useful as he glides along the blue-line. There is just a lot to like about his skating.
If you would like to take a look at some more footage on Heinola, check out the below video from Puck Prodigy. Puck Prodigy put together several highlights from Heinola’s 2018-19 campaign.
Based on what we have seen from Heinola, it looks like the Winnipeg Jets might have their new power play quarterback. With Heinola’s skill-set tailored for power play success and the Jets’ defensive core with some sizable holes, the Finnish defenseman could be ready to join the Jets blue-line in 2020-21.
When the 2020-21 campaign kicks off, the Jets will only have team control over Dustin Byfuglien for one more season. The two other options down the line for power play quarterbacks are Sami Niku and Joshua Morrissey. Morrissey has done fairly well on the power play. Last season, the Calgary, Alberta native tallied 10 power play points (three goals and seven assists). Once Byfuglien’s contract is complete and if the Jets do not bring him back, Morrissey will probably be Byfuglien’s replacement as the number one quarterback.
With Morrissey possibly moving up to the top power play unit, that opens up a spot on the second unit. Heinola could jump in and take his spot and flourish in that role. Given Heinola’s exceptional passing and vision, it is hard to question that his skills will not blossom on the power play.